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Miliband's monumental campaign

Published 06/05/2015

Ed Miliband has set out his promises in stone
Ed Miliband has set out his promises in stone

Labour's election campaign has had more than a touch of groundhog day about it for dedicated observers.

Over the course of the six week battle, Ed Miliband's schedule has followed an all too familiar format of set-piece speech topped off with a campaign stop or two, often in a local cafe.

Labour aides have gone to great lengths to present their leader as a prime minister in waiting, so visits have been carefully controlled. No feeding of newborn lambs or poorly hedgehogs for him.

Instead, Mr Miliband is always suited and booted and invariably stood in front of a Labour-branded backdrop with a Labour-branded lectern to hang on to.

Labour's love of the lectern, however, has led to eyebrows being raised after popping up in a series of surprising locations such as a cricket field and a Cardiff back garden.

Party strategists have shunned quirky photo-opportunities in favour of a policy-heavy schedule, which they are confident has set the agenda. Their one deviation - the unveiling of an 8ft 6in stone pledge card - was quickly mocked and dubbed the Edstone, ensuring that gimmicks would not make a reappearance on the itinerary.

Mr Miliband, and his lectern, have wracked up around 7,000 miles over the course of the campaign but interactions with ordinary voters during that journey have been minimal.

His public image has, however, undergone a remarkable transformation in the eyes of some.

In Chester, the opposition leader made the unlikely focal point for an excitable hen do while a group of teenage girls in Hastings screamed with delight and shouted "oh, my God, it's Ed Miliband" as he walked past.

At the start of the campaign he was dubbed a "north London geek" but, hundreds of selfies later, he is now the subject of the "Milifandom" craze that has swept social media.

Told about the phenomenon, his less than impressed wife Justine simply raised her eyebrows.

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