The decision is made, upheld in law in the courts. The firefighters have to accept that modernisation of the fire service is going to happen, and according to respected LSE Professor Tony Travers, cuts will continue for the next decade, whoever is Mayor.
Sadly though, the firefighters and the FBU were partly architects of their own defeat. A spin campaign this morning, feebly attempting to prove the public is behind them is too little too late. The latest Ipso Mori poll proves that voters rate policies of Boris Johnson highest of all, and that includes fire cuts. If the public really disapproved of fire cuts, Boris polling would be rock bottom.
The FBU is stuck in the 19th century, they have no idea how important proper communication is to win public opinion. I tried to explain to the FBU on twitter, to be met by utter incredulity. They don’t understand that abuse is damaging. To them! They never made a convincing case, relying on foul mouthed abuse, screaming and shouting and attempts at mob rule. Maybe there isn’t one.
Demos are draconian and useless. Public support is won these days through the press, blogging and the social media like twitter. Most of all, it is won through the rightness of a cause.
Vicious smear campaigns and nasty remarks just put the public off. They don’t work unless there is truth in at the heart of it. We have seen that in the three smear campaigns Alastair Campbell launched to try to destroy Boris Johnson.
Voters aren’t fools. We owe trillions. They know cuts are necessary, they themselves are suffering. Millions don’t have pensions, so from where they are sitting, the fire fighters have a good deal. One thing was a dead giveaway. If the FBU is concerned about public safety, they wouldn’t call dangerous fire strikes, at the most dangerous time of year. Fire Chief Ron Dobson thinks these strikes should be illegal. He has been consulted on and backs, all the cuts.
But I think what swung it for Boris was that the fire fighters made the worst mistake of all. The economic irresponsibility of the Brown government pushed us into a perilous position. They needn’t be where they are now. They shouldn’t have voted Labour.