The Blub Dem is no match for Fag Ash Chas

Nick Clegg is the Lib Dems' invisible man in Scotland.

The electoral reform battle has descended into a bunfight after the sick baby scares and racism rows. "Yes to AV" flyers were thrust into the mitts of shoppers in Castle Street in the pleasant town of Flint on Deeside. Nothing unusual about that, I grant you. Except these leaflets were distributed with vouchers to buy a Big Mac or McChicken Sandwich and medium fries for £1.99 from the nearby McDonald's. The referendum leaflets littering the pavement suggested that there was more interest in the cut-price coupons, but "treating" is an electoral no-no.

Here's something else for Nick Clegg to cry over. The Blub Dem is the party's invisible man in Scotland, a vote-loser left off the main Lib Dem election leaflet in the Highlands and Islands. Also absent is the Treasury chief cutter, Danny Alexander, despite representing a huge slice of the country at Westminster. No such embarrassment for that other local lad, Charlie Kennedy. Fag Ash Chas is pictured four times. The electoral appeal of Lib Dems has an inverse relationship to their proximity to power.

Spare a thought for Generation Ed's Stella Creasy. The Walthamstow new girl turned up for her own fundraiser at a college to be confronted by a picket of council workers protesting against cuts. During the Blair hegemony, many a New Labour MP would have seen crossing a line as a bold political act. But these are new times, so the soirée was hastily switched to a local Indian. The struggle takes many forms and restaurants.

That veteran class warrior, John Prescott, was spied on the Hull-to-London train with a copy of The Insider, Piers Morgan's tale of meeting celebs who didn't say or do anything interesting. I know that Prezza has agreed to be lightly flambéed on Morgan's ITV Life Stories series because Tony Blair, Alastair Campbell and your correspondent were interviewed for the show. My informant was intrigued to overhear Two Jags's verdict on Obama: the Bible Belt and the private health lobby will "kill him". I trust he means politically, not physically.

Arnie Schwarzenegger told Boris Johnson during their London powwow that he fancies another shot as governator of California. "Of course, I will be back," he told Bozza. "I invented the term." Austrian Arnie was rueful, muttered my source, that the US constitution bans him from running for the presidency because he was born outside the country. Johnson is as ambitious as ever and continues to covet his fellow Buller Boy Cameron's Downing Street job. The Mayor of London was also born in New York City so, unlike Arnie, could stand for the White House. He wouldn't, would he?

Citizen Dave's Ryanair birthday spin with Mrs Cameron to Spain was greeted with universal derision and his official trip to Pakistan was hardly a success. The Mail on Sunday revealed that Cameron had called a Daily Torygraph scribbler "you fucker", though it used asterisks to avoid upsetting Middle England. It didn't name the hack. It was James Kirkup, the polite Northumbrian son of toyshop owners. Cameron's the heir to Brown, not Blair, when it comes to media pleasantries.

Kevin Maguire is associate editor (politics) of the Daily Mirror

Kevin Maguire is Associate Editor (Politics) on the Daily Mirror and author of our Commons Confidential column on the high politics and low life in Westminster. An award-winning journalist, he is in frequent demand on television and radio and co-authored a book on great parliamentary scandals. He was formerly Chief Reporter on the Guardian and Labour Correspondent on the Daily Telegraph.

This article first appeared in the 18 April 2011 issue of the New Statesman, GOD Special