Dave’s Naked Chef ambition

Cameron prepared for Obama's visit by by practising how to make Jamie Oliver kebabs.

Tories are starting to wonder if Desmond Swayne, David Cameron's parliamentary bag-carrier, should be allowed out without a minder of his own. The TA major is the eyes and ears of Citizen Dave and is required to be ever alert to danger. Perhaps the Westminster flunkey was lost in thought about the PM's welfare when invited to Clarence House, the official residence of the Prince of Wales.

Arriving in good time for drinks, he loitered outside to savour a few moments of the early-evening sunshine. My snout speculated that Dessie had been distracted, mentally drawing battle lines with pesky Lib Dems and frisky right-whingers, when he leaned against a white pillar, failing to observe the "wet paint" sign. I can report that the royal household retains a bottle of turps to remove emulsion from the suits of unobservant members of the political class.

Cameron prepared for the visit of Barack Obama, a snout said, . Instead of poring over security files, Citizen Dave spent the weekend at Chequers perfecting the skewering of marinated meat and vegetables. Oliver, the aspirational Essex boy who fronted a campaign to improve school meals, is considered very "big society" in Downing Street. Entitled to be miffed is Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall of River Cottage, the PM's Eton contemporary and distant relative, evidently deemed too posh to cook in the age of austerity.

Ed Miliband's triumphs and disasters are not all his own work. The Labour nomenklatura report a hidden hand guiding the young leader: that of Tony Blair. The junior Milibrother and the one-time Great Helmsman, who backed his elder sibling, talk regularly, I'm told. The news will disturb lefties who voted for Ted in the belief that he was "Red Ed". In A Journey, Blair's self-justificatory tome, Ted has six minor walk-on parts yet makes no great impact. Much like Miliband's leadership, some in the party may reflect. The thought of Blair whispering to Ted while Alastair Campbell gives media advice prompted a Labour informant to suggest that it's like the Beatles trying to put together a tribute act.

Iraq is the war that never ends for Blair and his Comical Ali propagandist, Campbell. The last British military contingent has departed after a 2,985-day involvement but hostilities will resume between New Labour and the BBC. Kevin Marsh, editor of the Today programme during the Andrew Gilligan conflagration, is writing his memoirs. The departing head of the BBC College of Journalism has a few bombs of his own to drop, although the stickler Marsh has declared it will not be sexed up. Unlike the weapons-of-mass-disinformation dossier.

With claimants forced to go to interviews on pain of losing benefits, a Labour MP has revealed that constituents have devised a way of ensuring that they're not offered jobs requiring them to get up at 5am and change buses twice to toil for the £5.93 minimum wage. The deal-breaker is to ask the boss: "Do you have a union?"

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 30 May 2011 issue of the New Statesman, Hands up who knows how to fix our schools