IT WAS meant to be Tony Blair's big fight-back - the moment when he faced down his critics and condemned the whingers and the whiners as the forces of conservatism.
But for some in his audience, it was all a bit of a disappointment. They'd been hoping for a speech by someone a bit more ... well, famous.
Mr Tony picked a school in the flagship New Labour borough of Newham, East London, to make the speech, coinciding with his appearance in last week's TES and foreshadowing this week's 1,000th day in office (yes, it does seem a long time, doesn't it?).
But in true fashion, everybody knewexcept the kids, who had been told only that somebody "famous" would be coming. Cue an 11-year-old running across playground to tell the head, Sir Michael Wiltshire, they had guessed the identify of the mystery guest.
"I know who the visitor is, sir," the child yelled. "It's Grant Mitchell!"
They say that Labour has been on the ropes this past week but Blair can console himself that at least his ministerial car hasn't plunged into a canal a la Grant's in EastEnders. But it's evident there's only one comeback the young people of Newham are waiting for, and it isn't New Labour's.