Whose Side Are Our Fire Brigades On?

The Second World War produced too many heroes for any to be singled out, but it is indisputable that on the Home Front as Hitler’s bombs fell, our Fire Brigade was one of the most heroic institutions. Even today, our brave fire fighters put themselves in harm’s way to save lives and property whatever the cause, from frying pan fires to natural disasters.

How did it come to pass that their Union – like so many others – was allowed to be colonised by far-Left entryists who loath Western Liberal Democracies and all we stand for, while sympathising for our country’s, and our civilisation’s, enemies? The answer to this vexing question, like so many, is that we liberals have been asleep for decades and we’re waking up now to discover that so many of our institutions are run by those not only hostile to liberal democracy, but useful to our enemies. In our drowsy past we saw it happening but thought it was all bluster and didn’t really matter. Some of us might even have found this radicalism exciting. But now – as the world braces for what might be the struggle of our lifetimes – it does matter. It matters a great deal.

Yesterday, the Fire Brigades Union issued what they called an “Executive council statement – Invasion and war in Ukraine“. While paying the usual lip-service to being “against war” that we have seen from the “Stop The Warest Coaltion”, this revolting document blames NATO for the war in Ukraine. It says:

“This war is also a proxy conflict between Russia and NATO prompted by NATO expansion into central and Eastern Europe. We oppose this expansion and any intervention in this conflict by NATO forces.”

This is not very surprising. It was authored by the vocal defender of Jeremy Corbym, Matt Wrack, the union’s General Secretary, who – according to his Twitter profile – believes “the main enemy is at home”.

The document refers to “the Zelensky regime” and extends its support only to workers “acting independently” of “this regime” and goes on to talk about “far right or fascist group… taking advantage”,  taking its cue right from Putin’s propaganda playbook about “deNazification”.

While opposing military intervention by the West, it also opposes economic sanctions as it says these will “disproportionately hit working people”. So in fact, they’re saying nothing should be done to counter Russia’s actions (which it blames on the West anyway) other than impotent ‘condemnation’. How convenient for Moscow.

It then continues in a rambling way to say that “state repression” in the UK under Boris Johnson  is no better than in Russia, citing the Policing Bill, and complains that Keir Starmer and the Labour leadership “bullies and represses” those with different views, an obvious reference to the disciplining of a dozen Labour MPs who signed the objectively pro-Putin screed for the StWC.

And then it says that our government showed “utter disregard for human life” during the pandemic. It is unclear how this is relevant, but having previously cited the “hypocrisy” of the British government, one imagines the implication is that Putin’s bombs are no worse. It is hard to say because bringing up Covid conspiracies usually means we’ve entered crank territory.

As expected, the entire overtone of the statement is one of tired “Worker of the World Unite” Cold War Communist rhetoric. The layperson might wonder if the majority of our firefighters really are communists or if the union is largely irrelevant to the average working fireman.

We’ve known for a long time that the FBU was run by a Corbynite clique. Perhaps that was acceptable when it related principally to internal Labour Party battles. But now a leading union has used Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to attack the Ukranian President and to call for an end both to NATO support for Ukraine and to economic sanctions against Russian aggression. Can we afford to continue tolerating yet another Communist front organisation still shilling for Russia under the cloak of “peace” and “solidarity”?

Indeed, if the union leadership actually went anywhere near a hose and ladder, one might wonder with some concern whether, if this country is ever at war again, they’d be putting out fires or starting them for the enemy.