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.