Black watch.(Last Shout)

As our Fire and Rescue Services Bill speeds towards the Upper House, where some Lordly lobbying is in prospect, it is time we revisited Britain's overall political scene.

For much has altered in recent months. Principally, of course, there has been sea change in the Conservative ranks as a certain former Army captain returns to them.

With some guile, Tory MPs evaded the need for a full membership election for Leader. As the old political warning goes: "Too much democracy can seriously damage one's health." Michael Howard might never become Prime Minister but has certainly revived spirits in his party. The next general election is now at least a contest.

Thus, at Westminster fresh messages are being pumped out to encourage greater constituency activity. …

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