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Ed and the pledge stone

Ed with pledge stonessWhen you didn’t think the election could get weirder, it takes an even more bizarre turn – and it’s the red team that are at the centre of it. In case you’ve been doing something positive with your Sunday, such as knocking on doors, the media blizzard surrounding Labour’s latest stunt may have passed you by. This morning, Ed Miliband literally set the party’s six key promises in stone – by unveiling a policy monolith. Yes, a eight foot tall slab of rock was commissioned, and is set to be installed in the Downing Street garden should Labour make it over the finish line on Thursday. And if it doesn’t, it’ll make an interesting piece of political memorabilia for someone.

Okay, it is a load of old bollocks, and it’s a moment that has had seasoned Ed watchers scratching their noggins. Labour’s campaign hasn’t put a foot wrong so far, and then we have this. Smart move or folly? What’s the devil is happening? What were they thinking?

Firstly, people who are hoping this is a 1992 Sheffield rally/Kinnock moment, like this pair, are going to be disappointed. As CCHQ’s daily bulletin, the Telegraph are following a line of march, though I have to concede that “There’s measuring curtains, and then there’s ordering an 8ft stone monument for the garden” is a good line, provided you’re one of the political cognoscenti. For most people though, it’s not going to register. Yes, it’s weird. Yes, it’s silly. But will it portray Ed Miliband as an arrogant so-and-so who thinks the election’s in the bag? No. Not least because his new found popularity, if it can be called that, is the very opposite of arrogance, especially when set against our air-brushed, debate-dodging, poltroon of a prime minister.

Second, I can understand the reasoning for it. “We etch our policies in stone as the Conservative Party deletes theirs.” It’s supposed to send a message about Labour’s seriousness. As we know, the Tories are tossing tax payers’ cash into the air like so much confetti. Factor in their ludicrous pledge to pass a law to prevent them from raising taxes, it’s very difficult to see how Dave and co can keep to their promises. There then we have a clear dividing line. The six pledges, whatever you think of them, are short and vague enough to be fudged a little if needs be. All that Ed needs is a chisel to tick ’em off as and when they’re legislated for.

Third, it’s commanded the media’s attention. Like most people, I’m fed up of hearing about Scotland. This isn’t the SNP’s fault, it’s all down to our Tory friends. Had the pledge stone not come along, the media schedules would again be leading with their Little Englander scaremongering. Instead, the stunt has not just focused attention on what Labour’s done but what the party plans to do. Tomorrow morning, the print editions of the Tory press will carry a picture of the monolith with the six pledges clearly visible and, party strategists hope, makes sure popular attention is on policy as we enter the final stretch.

This article first appeared at All that is Solid

Image credit: photo montage by Left Futures with thanks to Charlton Heston and Paramount Pictures


  1. Chris Lovett says:

    What a childish nonsense. Would the 1945 Labour administration have “pledged” like this? Of bloody course not. For God’s sake credit us with some political nous, you latter day apologists for the Labour movement!

    1. John p Reid says:

      Remember when Tony Benn said there was a manifesto as good as the 1945′ it was the 1983′ labours worse ever result, and the Tories win a landslide,

      but Tony Benn said it was better to lose heavily on a far left manifesto, as it was a moral victory, how letting the Tories win ,and destroy the NHS, by pledging to buy back at the rate they were sold, council homes was more important than letting the Tories destroy, the NHS, is beyond me,

      1. Chris Lovett says:

        Do tell me in what way your reply justifies this silly bit of “pledging”? This is an exercise in childishness. And looks very, very stupid.

  2. David Pavett says:

    Even by the shallow standards of the advertising tricks now dominating this election this is poor stuff.

    1. A strong economic foundation
    2. Higher living standards for working families
    3. An NHS with the time to care
    4. Controls on immigration.
    5. A country where the next generation can do better than the last.
    6. Homes to buy and action on rents.

    No.1 has no more value than Brown’s ‘pledge’ to end boom and bust.
    No.2 is proffered in the hope that the international capitalist system is coming out of recession. Fingers crossed.
    No.3. is at best meaningless. At worst it implies that currently medical workers have no time to care.
    No.4. is dog whistle politics. We already have controls for non-EU immigration and Labour is proposing no changes on EU immigration over which we have none.
    No. 5. seems to be another form of No.2? If not what does “better” refer too?
    No.6. “Homes to buy” isn’t even a frigging pledge!

    It seems that the belief that members of the general public must be addressed in the most childish manner possible while pulling stunts to keep their attention is going to run right up to the last moments of this tedious and vacuous election campaign.

    1. James Martin says:

      I agree David, the actually words were not worth the effort of carving them. But for me I just wonder who was responsible for this nonsense given how utterly infantile the stunt is? A new policy advisor fresh out of college? Because whoever it was needs a good slap to bring them back into the room from whatever la la land they inhabit.

      And again just when you thought Ed was doing ok he again displays a truly awful sense of judgement by going along with something that if it was a story line on In The Thick of It we would all be saying it was too far-fetched to be believable.

      1. David Pavett says:

        Indeed. And then it was all capped by Lucy Powell saying

        I don’t think anyone is suggesting that the fact that he’s carved them into stone means, you know, means that he will absolutely, you know, not going to break them or anything like that.

        What a farce!

  3. Robert says:

    Well I shall be sitting and watching this election, I will let the working people not the working class vote and let them decide whom should rule this country the right wing Tories or the center right Progress party

    1. John p Reid says:

      Where did the progress party come from before Sainsbury funded the SDP

      from years of turning a blind eye to Militant,and the deputy leadership between been and Healey where
      And Who were those backed Benn for deputy, Jack straw,Tony Blair, and who didn’t want Militant expelled, Byers ,Milburn, darling, Strang.

      The 1979 defeat, saw the Hard left take over the party the departure of the SDP, added too the fact that the election itself in Jim Callaghans words was a sea change in what the electorate wanted from government to rule over us. The 1983 defeat saw the members who’d wanted the swing towards the left,blaming everyone else for the defeat,
      , Healey was regularly booed off stage, and union block votes used to try to get Benn to win .

      The four defeats saw the party members be prepared to be lead by A iron rod rule, and the days of committee and sub groups, deciding how campaigns were run by policy

      1. Robert says:

        John your a Blair-rite New labour drone so please do not bother answering my comments, and I will totally ignore you, best do you think.

        1. John p Reid says:


          1. John p Reid says:

            Oh Sh@t, that was a reply

  4. swatantra says:

    This EdStone should raise a fair bit when auctioned off in the next Labour Party Raffle.
    I’m also getting fed up hearing about Student Fees and Working People and Zero Energy Freezes when the biggest threat to you and me is the rise of Islamofacism, destabilising the world and civilisation. And nobody seems willing to do anything about it, or confront it head on.

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