The time is right to move on: there have been many false dawns during the rollercoaster ride of the past year and while there is no excuse for presumption, FIRE is convinced that there will be a negotiated settlement. (view).

Our conviction that there will be a negotiated settlement is not based entirely on an overdose of optimism but on what amounts to a growing fear on all sides of the consequences of an imposed settlement. Nothing energises quite like fear.

At the CACFOA AGM last month, Fire Services Minister Nick Raynsford reassured delegates by stressing that there was still a two-month window of opportunity before the Bill would come before the House. The Deputy Prime Minister has played hardball with the Bill to bang heads together so the interminable game can reach a conclusion before next Parliament. The last thing he needs is the mantle of arch TUC antagonist.

Whatever, however, the deadlock is broken does not matter. …

Log in to your account to read this article – and millions more.