Britain's firefighters go on strike next week unless they can settle a pay dispute with the government. The government is offering a 4% payrise; the unions want 40%. At present a fully trained firefighter earns £21,500 PA which is less than a policeman and many teachers and of course for this they risk their lives of a daily basis. This leads me on to...if they strike (though it looks more like 'when they strike') the 3000 state of the art, red fire engines will be replaced by: nearly 900 Green Goddesses!! Built circa 1955 these lovely machines carry no cutting equipment, no breathing apparatus, and only one ladder with a 35 foot reach. They have only a low pressure pump supplying four hoses and (get this) NO RADIO! They have to have a police escort when on call and many older ones have a top speed of only 35mph although some can reach 50mph. They're manned by the Army with some Navy and RAF support. Still, there's something almost romantic about them being back on the streets.