Praise for success in difficult times: a strange thing happened at the end of February: there was good news in a major and important public service. There has not been much of that around, argues the FBU's General Secretary, so it was a great opportunity for ministers to trumpet success and praise the hard work of all those involved.(Comment)

Except the good news concerned the Fire Service. Fire deaths fell by five per cent year on year to the lowest level since 1961 according to the fire statistics released on February 24. This significant reduction should have been welcomed by government, yet ministers made no comment.

The media release announcing the news was as dull as it could be and no attempt was made by the government communications machine to push the story or secure any coverage for the good news. If it had concerned the health service, education or crime spin doctors would have the machine on maximum spin cycle. But not for the Fire Service.

The government complains incessantly to news organisations that they are not running government good news stories. …

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