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Last Updated: Wednesday, 13 September 2006, 03:51 GMT 04:51 UK
Papers rake over Blair TUC speech
Newspapers (generic)
Tony Blair's bruising speech to the Trade Union Congress figures highly in Wednesday's papers.

"Thank God that's over" says a headline in the Times, no doubt echoing the relief felt by Tony Blair and the TUC that his Congress speech was his last.

The paper says it was an extraordinary performance by the prime minister as he faced down a hostile audience.

Regrets, he had a few but then again too few to mention, says Simon Hoggart in the Guardian, on a Sinatra theme.

For the Daily Mirror, it was a welcome reminder of the days when politics had debate rather than stage management.

But the Financial Times sees things differently - the prime minister bored his audience senseless.

As for his speech, the Daily Star says it was a master-class in dodging responsibility for your own errors.

Quentin Letts in the Daily Mail said Blair gave a Hugh Grant-style best-man speech that bombed horribly.

According to the Daily Telegraph, his words were received with the boredom of a school assembly sitting through the headmaster's address on speech day.

Spend, spend, spend

The Independent reminds readers of New Labour's rallying cry of "education, education, education" in 1997.

And it argues the increased spending on schools has yet to deliver the goods.

The Independent and the Telegraph point to a study which said record investment had failed to produce more graduates and better qualified school-leavers.

The Express claims householders face being fined 100 just for putting out one extra bag of rubbish to collect, as councils toughen up.

The Joneses

A survey suggesting thousands of homeowners are falling behind on their mortgage payments receives widespread coverage and is the lead in the Times.

Keeping up with the Joneses is a natural human instinct says the paper's editorial, yet it wonders whether the price of keeping up is now too high.

Finally, several papers report that one man who's long coveted his neighbour's job will soon be taking over his house.

They're referring to Gordon Brown who is preparing to move into Number 10, into the flat he has owned since 1997 but has only previously used to entertain.

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