Sunday 3 May 2015

Making Sense of the EdStone

When 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.


asquith said...

And about the Scotland business, it's by now clear that Labour and Liberal Democrats are the only real unionist parties. Apart from those who actually support segregation, most kippers and a growing number of Tories are Little Englanders whose wish is to create the Disunited Kingdom of Nigel Farrage. Thinking in cold, mercenary terms, they salivate at the thought of permanent right-wing government and not chucking money over Hadrian's Wall.

Speaking personally, I would pay a high "price" for the union, and Scots and Scotland contribute more than enough in non-financial terms to make it not be so anyway. Imagine this country being laughed off the world stage, it couldn't even persuade its own subjects it was a country worth bothering with.

The unfortunate No voters made the right choice, but can be very forgiven for asking now why they bothered.

I have decided to vilify Cameron over this, because he is the most cheaply cynical politician this side of the unlamented Blair.

Since you ask, I am not prpared to endorse Smeeth and co given their past and threatened future actions and will probably (with the deepest regret etc etc) be abstaining in person. Since I don't support LibLabCon at this stage, nor do I want a socialistt state ("Green") or a shrunken, diminished "country" (UKIP) and oddly enough Craig Pond hasnn't got what I'm after either! (I don't know if you were aware, but he's one of the candidates on "offer" to us).

And locally your mates the City Independents can count on my "support", not that I'd go to the length of actually liking them but they are the best that can be "hoped" for in this city.

Phil said...

I know you're blessed with Pond life - I've seen a couple of his unhinged leaflets. To think he was the nearest the local BNP had to an intellectual, once.

Of course, you should vote Labour in the national and local ;) You will find her office congeal to sending letters to ministers on your behalf should you decide to write to her, provided she gets in, of course.

asquith said...

Undoubtedly, Smeeth will be hearing from me. I had correspondence with Walley, and never faulted her efforts to answer, though it would have been nice if she actually shared my views or owt.

(Apart from environmental issues where she was standard).

Besides, you're not reckoning with the fact that A VOTE FOR LABOUR IS A VOTE FOR FILTH. Craig Pond says so, so it must be true.

Phil said...

What's really interesting about the stone, one day on... is that nobody gives a damn about the stone, one day on. I'm not sure what that shows, except that Ed gives a good (defensive) interview. Certainly, having done something a bit weird and a bit naff hasn't stuck to him the same way that Kinnock's triumphalism did.

Speedy said...

To be fair, the one thing Ed is not is triumphant.

Anonymous said...

Vote Labour nationally - certainly. Vote Labour locally in Stoke? Talentless when not actively stupid, and that's the Cabinet members. In thrall to their officers, happy to nod through transparently foolish, doomed projects, seemingly bemused when once again the pigs fail to fly. SoTCC is dysfunctional, and they seem utterly uninterested as to why.