The Best and Worst of the British Press

British "blokes" have given up on common scents, The Times laments. From being Europe's best-smelling men three years ago, many have apparently quit buying aftershaves and colognes, sales of which have dropped 22 percent in Britain in this year.

Industry insiders believed British men had overcome their traditional embarrassment over male grooming products, but now fear a looming recession is putting them off.

"Aftershave is not seen as an essential in times of financial difficulty," said Tony Curtis, lecturer in aroma trade studies at Plymouth University.

There is still some good news for Britain's long-suffering women: British men still buy as much soap as they did last year.

The 'Rubbishing' of Men

While some turn up their noses at British men, feminist writer Doris Lessing comes out fighting for the much-bemoaned male, The Guardian writes.

"I find myself increasingly shocked at the unthinking and automatic rubbishing of men which is now so part of our culture that it is hardly even noticed," she told the Edinburgh book festival.

Listing the great achievements in bringing female pay and opportunities up to parity with men, Lessing said that almost nothing had been done on child care, but this last hurdle need not be passed at the cost of men.

"Men seem to be so cowed that they can't fight back, and it is time they did," she concluded.

Blair Force One

Prime Minister Tony Blair's frequent use Queen Elizabeth's aircraft triggered press criticism that he was becoming too presidential and lavish in his travel arrangements. They even renamed the plane "Blair Force One" to drive home the point, The Independent reports.

To keep flying high in the opinion polls, the prime minister this year is traveling on a budget airline for a family vacation. Blair claims he is using the budget option for convenience sake and not to appear thrifty.

But Blair's cheap flight is already spinning out of control. As the paper points out, it will take him a lot longer to get to France using the less central airports that cut-price airlines favor.

The budget airline's publicity boasts that "even Tony Blair got a bargain this summer," no longer seems to ring true.