SHE was the smiling barmaid with slash-red lipstick, a shirt tied off at the waist and the lefty student uniform of the day - Doc Martens and rolled up jeans.

If anyone had told us Fiona Hill would go on to become the attack dog for the Prime Minister of one of the most punitive Tory Governments, none of us would have believed it.

None of us would have cared either, probably. All that mattered to us was getting served at the bar in the only joint in Greenock that didn’t ask us for ID in 1993.We can’t blame Fiona for not knowing we were only 17. Maybe we were tall for our age or something. Or maybe she just liked us. Maybe she recognised us from school, St Stephen’s High in Port Glasgow, the Catholic secondary where Fiona - who lived in a flat above a shop - was a couple of years ahead of us.

She was one of the pretty girls who walked with folders clasped to their chests along corridors perched high above the banks of the shipbuilding town, while post-industrial decay brought about by the Tories presiding over the closure of Inverclyde’s shipyards took hold in the communities below.

Or maybe she knew us from our weekend jobs in Greenock’s William Low, where she’d worked in the bakery, serving bread and cakes to customers, many of whom will now be of an age to be worrying about how they’ll afford to pay for their social care, rather than a loaf.

Pupils from St Stephen’s weren’t expected to go on to become chief aides to the PM. Our career advisor told an entire year group - one which would go on to produce teachers, lawyers, doctors and journalists - to become occupational therapists. It’s a noble profession, requiring immeasurable reserves of compassion. Now Fiona’s looking for a new job, perhaps she could do worse than to give that one a go.