Tuesday, November 19th, 2002
As we left for Norfolk on Friday we drove past our local fire station, with a picketline of striking firefighters in front of it. They were sitting in uniform, looking relaxed. We hooted and gave them a thumbs up and they waved back cheerily. The atmosphere was the sort you see on the bench of a sports team that's in the lead and is confident of winning. Not at all what you'd expect at the beginning of what might be a long and nasty dispute.
Now I hear there's an ICM poll (I think it was ICM) that shows public support for the strike is rising, even after the first two strike days and despite the best efforts of the Mail and Sun to paint them as evil supporters of Saddam.
It's got to be down to the way so many firefighters left their picket lines to respond to emergencies where lives were at risk. It made it impossible to portray them as heartless, money-grubbing rats. I thought support would collapse when the first person died – now I begin to wonder.
Best of luck to them.