And predictably enough John Prescott has made a furious attack on the FBU for turning the firestrike into a “political battle”.

Is an arguement over public funding of an essential public service not by its nature political? Was Tony Blair’s labelling of Andy Gilchrist a “Scargallite” not a political attack?

What is good to see is that the likes of John Edmonds and Bill Morris, none of whom could in any way be described as “ultra-left wreckers” have stood up to Prescott and stood by the firefighters.

The Independent provides an edited version of Gilchrist’s speech in Manchester – worth reading to keep a sense of perspective about all this.

I disagree with Gilchrist’s comments about Iraq and I think as well as being wrong they were a tactical mistake from him but the idea that this speech has revealed some dastardly secret ultra-left agenda is ridiculous. It is sad to see how many newspapers will play with the government’s spin.