Pandora: In the blue corner...

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The Independent Online

It's gloves off (or should that be on?) in the fight for Mid-Bedfordshire. The seat is currently held by Tory pin-up Nadine Dorries, who won with a sizable majority in 2005, but made few hearts bleed with her implorations that the pressure of the expenses scandal had left Commons-dwellers "suicidal".

Her Lib Dem opponent, Linda Jack, hopes to ride to victory capturing Labour's vote (her recent leaflets claim the area is unwinnable for them) and has deployed US-style viral ads calling into question Dorries' suitability. Her most recent tactic, however, appears rather less effective: delivering hand-written letters to constituents choc-a-bloc with pledges of the good she would do if elected. Unfortunately, no one knows they are from her.

"They all think it's me!" explains Dorries. "It's on blue paper and who's going to ready all the way to the end? It's a political letter. Anyway, the signature's unintelligible."

Understandably, Dorries isn't too unhappy at the thought of the free good press. "It's fine. It's not attacking, it's... stupid." Jack, alas, was unavailable to defend herself.

Missing out on Miriam

Along with every news outlet, Vogue has turned its attention to the ongoing election campaign. First up for scrutiny on the fashion bible's website are the party leaders' cufflinks (or, in Brown's case, lack thereof; but what does it mean?). Next up is a look at the wives' sartorial selections. Well, SamCam versus Sarah, that is. But what of Miriam González Durántez, above, Nick Clegg's elegant wife? Not a mention. Too bad!

* With every day of the campaign, the jokes grow feebler. At least, that can be the only explanation for this poor show on David Milliband's behalf. A mischievous bumble bee, we're told, persisted in dive-bombing the Foreign Secretary at a Labour rally in Wood Green. "It's got yellow bits, so it must be a Lib-Dem bee," joked David.

Ah yes, blame Nick.

* Brian May's opposition to fox-hunting saw him square up to the Conservatives earlier this week. Next stop: Victoria Beckham. The bushy rocker posted a recent picture of Posh Spice striding through Heathrow sporting an of-the-moment Louis Vuitton fox fun keychain, with the caption, "I might just throw up." Not planning a collaboration, then?

Madeleymakes his mark

Richard Madeley made his first appearance of the election (long overdue!) with a slot on yesterday's World At One. Those papers that had turned their fire on Nick Clegg were wrong, he raged, and had underestimated their readers. Let's hope he decides to set them right in his column in tomorrow's Express. Yesterday they ran with "Clegg's Crazy Immigration Policy." Wouldn't want to bite the hand that feeds.