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Last Updated: Monday, 29 September, 2003, 05:45 GMT 06:45 UK
Tabloids unite in Blair warning
In a rare show of harmony, the two rival "red top" tabloids devote their front pages to a warning for Tony Blair.

Timed to coincide with the first full day of the Labour Party conference in Bournemouth, the Sun and the Mirror urge the prime minister he must do better.

But that is where the similarity ends, because the papers want Blair to move in different directions.

The Sun issues Blair with a football-style yellow card, with the headline "Next time it's red."

In a double-page editorial, it urges him to be tougher on asylum, crime and the EU, while improving the NHS, transport and education.

The paper's bitter rival, the Mirror, "cordially invites Tony Blair to come back to his party".

It wants him to withdraw troops from Iraq and ditch top-up fees and foundation hospitals.

The Mirror hankers after what it calls the old Blair - the exciting, dynamic leader who inspired the nation in 1997.

Trust troubles

The Times cartoon suggests it's not going to be an easy week for Tony Blair at the Labour Party conference.

It shows a bus pulling up in Bournemouth with a solitary figure on board, and the caption: "Oh look, it's the party faithful arriving."

The scale of the task facing Mr Blair as he tries to regain the trust of the electorate is highlighted in two opinion polls.

A survey in the Guardian suggests that Labour's standing has slumped in the key marginal seats it needs to defend at the next general election.

Under the headline "In office, but out of touch and out of favour", the Daily Telegraph claims support for the party is at its lowest since the dark days of Neil Kinnock's leadership.

That said, the paper tells Labour it would be mad to ditch Mr Blair.

And the Daily Star urges him to stand firm against those who would like the government to turn back the clock and embrace socialism again.

Taxing questions

One of the areas in which Labour has come in for strong criticism lately provides the Daily Express with its main story.

The paper claims families in Middle Britain are facing another massive rise in their council tax bills - this time to plug a giant hole in police budgets.


Many of the papers have pictures of Rome's famous skyline in total darkness during what the Daily Mail calls the "world's biggest power cut".

According to the Financial Times, the power failure has raised new questions about the fragility of electricity grids, in even the most developed economies.

The Telegraph traces the blackout to the moment a falling tree brought down a power-line in Switzerland.

The Sun carries the story under the headline: "Friends, Romans, countrymen.... lend me a candle".

Dud stud

Finally, the Times reports that a prize-winning horse, tipped for a lucrative life on a stud-farm, has been stripped of his awards and his future career after he was found to be missing essential equipment.

The colt - called Black Prince - had won prizes at country fairs across Scotland, where he was judged a top-class stallion in the making.

According to the Times, it was only as he was about to be sold to a breeder that Black Prince's virility came into question, when a vet discovered that he'd been castrated as a foal.

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