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Miliband's EdStone: election masterstroke or a future Labour tombstone?

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By Alasdair Sandford
Miliband's EdStone: election masterstroke or a future Labour tombstone?

<p>It seems unlikely that the British Labour Party’s media-savvy communications team did not foresee the torrent of online reaction to leader Ed Miliband’s big campaign surprise: engraving six key election pledges in stone with the intention of planting the large grey slab in the garden of Number 10 Downing Street should he become prime minister after Thursday’s general election.</p> <p>From Headstone to EdStone to Millstone to Tombstone… the opportunities for ridicule were plentiful and have been <a href="http://www.smh.com.au/world/ed-miliband-poses-with-policy-tombstone-20150504-1mzbzv.html">duly and enthusiastically grabbed worldwide</a>.</p> <p><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="fr"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Cartoon by <a href="https://twitter.com/mortenmorland">@MortenMorland</a> on that Edifice. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/EdStone?src=hash">#EdStone</a> <a href="http://t.co/N91hqoasB2">pic.twitter.com/N91hqoasB2</a></p>— Peter4SENWDHCN (@PeterMannionMP) <a href="https://twitter.com/PeterMannionMP/status/595111087617548289">4 Mai 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></p> <p>It was a gift to those who argue that a Labour party airbrushed off the Scottish electoral map could only govern the UK by being in hock to the <span class="caps">SNP</span>. While others had a dig at Miliband’s refusal to accept that the last Labour government had overspent while in office:</p> <p><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="fr"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Miliband denies overspending on election pledges stone. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/EdStone?src=hash">#EdStone</a> <a href="http://t.co/zpd98MSxNe">pic.twitter.com/zpd98MSxNe</a></p>— PETER COLES (@petercoles44) <a href="https://twitter.com/petercoles44/status/594820082188058624">3 Mai 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></p> <p>Predictably, Labour’s head-to-head rivals the Conservatives quickly produced their own take of the EdStone (in fact they liked it so much they tweeted it twice):</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="fr"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Labour's commandments: more borrowing, more debt and more taxes <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/EdStone?src=hash">#EdStone</a> <a href="http://t.co/o99ZDETRcW">pic.twitter.com/o99ZDETRcW</a></p>— <span class="caps">CCHQ</span> Press Office (@CCHQPress) <a href="https://twitter.com/CCHQPress/status/595026323585761280">4 Mai 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> <p>Perhaps Miliband’s advisers were going on the assumption that it is better to be talked about than not talked about at all – while hoping that at least some of the original pledges stick in voters’ minds, perhaps gently tilting them to cast their ballots in his favour.</p> <p>Evidently, any back-of-the-mind fears within the Miliband camp that Ed’s six-pack pledge-stone might just come back to haunt him, in a George Bush senior “Read My Lips: No More Taxes” kind of way, were brushed aside amid the immediate scramble to muster as many votes as possible. </p> <p>Some, indeed, have adapted their own stone tablets to reinforce Labour’s message:</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="fr"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Does David Cameron really think we, the voters, have forgotten the Tombstone he left our <span class="caps">NHS</span>? <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/EdStone?src=hash">#EdStone</a> <a href="http://t.co/pcqJgRixv7">pic.twitter.com/pcqJgRixv7</a></p>— Dr Éoin Clarke (@LabourEoin) <a href="https://twitter.com/LabourEoin/status/594799865512722432">3 Mai 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> <p>Certainly, any <span class="caps">SNP</span> jokers at Miliband’s expense could justifiably be reminded that <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/SNP/11238554/Alex-Salmond-unveils-tuition-fees-tribute-as-he-resigns.html">their party had set a precedent in the stone-engraving stakes</a>, and that people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones…</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="fr"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Ed Miliband is already following Alex Salmond's lead… <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Edstone?src=hash">#Edstone</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Milimonument?src=hash">#Milimonument</a> <a href="http://t.co/8dPNO92I31">pic.twitter.com/8dPNO92I31</a></p>— Carrie Symonds (@carrieapples) <a href="https://twitter.com/carrieapples/status/594824917742419968">3 Mai 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> <p>However, playtime with the EdStone has not been restricted to electoral foes. Even in The Guardian – which is backing Labour at the election – one commentator lamented that <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/may/03/ed-milibands-carved-pledges-could-sink-like-a-stone">Miliband’s carved pledges could sink like a stone</a>. “There’s not a single part of this stone that doesn’t say brain-dead,” says John Crace. “If Moses had come down from Mount Sinai with a tablet of commandments as dopey as this, the whole history of religion would have had to be rewritten.” </p> <p>You can do <a href="http://kryogenix.org/random/ed/ed.html">your own fake EdStone with this generator</a>.</p> <p>Meanwhile here is a sample of the variety already on offer:</p> <p><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="fr"><p lang="fr" dir="ltr">Caption competition! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/EdStone?src=hash">#EdStone</a> <a href="http://t.co/1N32akmzwj">pic.twitter.com/1N32akmzwj</a></p>— Peter Thompson (@TheRedRag) <a href="https://twitter.com/TheRedRag/status/594824091074502656">3 Mai 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></p> <p><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="fr"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Exodus 19:4 And the Lord did spaketh unto Beaker 'You shall inscribeth your half-baked nonsense onto stone.' <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/EdStone?src=hash">#EdStone</a> <a href="http://t.co/G7BCuIlRKb">pic.twitter.com/G7BCuIlRKb</a></p>— Nonjob (@nonjob1) <a href="https://twitter.com/nonjob1/status/594811610637697024">3 Mai 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></p> <p><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="fr"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">"Tell Ed to write down his 5 year plan in stone. Worked for Stalin. Worked for me. It'll work for him, too" <a href="http://t.co/mx1cccajKS">pic.twitter.com/mx1cccajKS</a>” <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/EdStone?src=hash">#EdStone</a></p>— Peter Village QC (@PeterVillageQC) <a href="https://twitter.com/PeterVillageQC/status/594801095811141632">3 Mai 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></p> <p><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="fr"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">That <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/EdStone?src=hash">#EdStone</a> reminds me of something. <a href="http://t.co/ZSABPWfnc1">pic.twitter.com/ZSABPWfnc1</a></p>— Emily Ashton (@elashton) <a href="https://twitter.com/elashton/status/594800351557120000">3 Mai 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></p>