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Paper Monitor

12:21 UK time, Tuesday, 14 July 2009

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

Oh, to suffer a slow death at the hands of a parliamentary sketch writer.

With pens sharpened and poised, they fire their acidic quips at the sitting duck (and perhaps island-owning) MPs as they rise to their feet to speak from the green benches of the Commons.

Today it's Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth in the firing line, as he defends military spending, although it's hard to think of him as a real person when he's described as "that big bag of sawdust" in the Independent, and "stodgy as porridge, inspiring as a cabbage" in the Times.

Quentin Letts in the Daily Mail says "he has a strangulated voice which sounds like an under-oiled Land Rover gearbox. Then there is the comedy moustache." The Daily Telegraph notes that Mr Ainsworth drops his Hs, so speaks about "'elicopters". Does this mean his name is really Hainsworth?

At least there is some unity in the pillorying of the minister, which is more than can be said about the state of the housing market.

It's buoyant if you read the Telegraph or the Daily Mirror.

But it's in the doldrums if you read the Guardian or the Daily Mail.

So which is it? Perhaps Roy Hattersley's dog Buster will turn his paws to a column unpicking numbers in the news next...

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