I'll put my cards on the table, my office in City Hall is next door to Brian Coleman's and he is both a friend and a colleague.
Front cover of FBU newsletter from 2006
It is clear that the FBU is trying to personalise this dispute by describing Brian as a bully and worse. Let's be clear, Brian is blunt talking and is the ultimate "marmite" politician but he is devoted to his constituency and the people who live and work there, unafraid to challenge Boris when he feels the need to and takes elected office seriously.
I don't expect everyone to love (or even like) Brian but as a former commanding officer of mine once said "If I wanted an officer that everyone loved I'd have recruited a spaniel".
This strike is not about Brian, and attempts to tie it to him are a distraction from the real issues about the effectiveness of the fire service and the prevention of fires. This is borne out by the treatment that the former, Labour, chair of the fire authority received by a number of FBU members and that the threat of stike action has been on the table for over four years (as you can see above).
I think the FBU leadership realise that they've shot themselves in the foot with their Bonfire night strike threat and I hope that they will come to a settlement at the talk that have now been arranged.