Have you noticed how the firefighters in Britain have gone from being heroes to money-grabbing civil servants in a matter of ten days? The change in their fortunes obviously lies with the Blair public relations supremo Alistair Campbell and his cronies who have quite literally turned public opinion. Quite amazing and now the public's perception of a firefighter is someone who works four days a week, has the luxury of being able to have a second job and who spends a sizeable part of the shift asleep in a warm station. You get the impression that most people would support a pay cut for the former heroes rather than a rise. The new heroes are the armed services who earn less that a firefighter and after a week's training can do the same job with a outdated vehicle and a couple of hoses. And once they finish this shift they'll be off to Iraq to fight for Queen, Country and Blair (is that the right order?) in yet another New Labour crisis. But let's get back to basics. Firemen deserve a pay rise, not 40 percent, but a decent working wage for the simple fact that they are a highly efficient and professional outfit. They are not villains and probably one day they might even save your life. The armed services are doing an excellent job simply because they have highly specialised teams who have trained long and hard to fight fires caused by warfare. The drivers of the Green Goddesses are also highly trained and not just ordinary squaddies who have just finished basic training. Let's not all fall into the trap of spin and more spin. If the Blair government can put aside one billion pounds for war with Iraq they can pay the firefighters a bit more. If Blair wants to prove he is tough perhaps he should get a bit tougher with George W. Bush rather than a group of honest hardworking individuals.