Sebastian Payne

Five things we’ve learnt from the Guardian’s profile of Ed Miliband’s campaign

Ed Miliband’s general election campaign was clearly dysfunctional, but now we have an insight into just how bad it was. The Guardian’s political editor Patrick Wintour has produced a fantastic long read on the undoing of Miliband, revealing the fear and loathing inside his operation. The piece is such a fascinating read it’s worth buying a copy of the paper for. If you aren’t able to make it to a newsagent, here’s a summary of the five most interesting things we’ve learnt from it.

1. The Edstone went through ten approval meetings

The Edstone (pictured above) will be Miliband’s legacy. If he is remembered for nothing else, it will be for engraving his pledges onto a 8ft 6in piece of limestone. Incredibly, Wintour reveals that the stone wasn’t an off-the-cuff ill-advised decision:

‘The only reason it got through 10 planning meetings was because we were all distracted, looking for a way to punch through on the SNP’

Plans were even drawn up to break it up and sell the pieces in the instance of a Labour defeat. Sadly this has yet to happen. His advisers even likened it to the Berlin Wall:

‘The stone’s demolition, in the event of a Labour loss, had been agreed at the time it was commissioned. After the election, the party drew up two plans for its disposal: one was simply to smash the stone up and throw the rubble onto a scrap heap. The second was to break it up and sell chunks, like the Berlin Wall, to party members as a fundraising effort’

2. Team Miliband completely underestimated the SNP threat

Although Tory strategists have taken victory laps after beating Miliband, David Cameron owes as much to the SNP as to his own team. Labour’s crucial failure appears to have been underestimating the SNP. As one adviser told Wintour ‘we did not realise how much impact it would have’. Another aide explains how Labour was unable to counter the Tory’s messaging:

‘We tried really hard to change the subject, but the SNP just led the news day in and day out,” said a shadow treasury adviser.

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