Take out your party hats and head to the pub: today’s a day of celebration. It’s ten years since Ed Balls mistakenly sent the lonely words “Ed Balls” into the Twittersphere when trying to search for posts that included his name.
— Ed Balls (@edballs) April 28, 2011
Every year since, people across the country have celebrated in their own way, some baking cakes, others writing poems. The UK has a measly eight bank holidays a year, one of the lowest in the world. What better way to celebrate Ed Balls Day than to make it the ninth?
It’s been quite the week for New Labour politicians driving online discourse. Tony Blair appeared on our TV screens yesterday (27 April) crowned with a wispy, white mane, looking like he’d just come from a Lord of the Rings fan convention. It wasn’t entirely clear whether he was aiming for Gandalf, Bilbo Baggins or a combination of the two, but the fact that English barbers have been open for over a fortnight suggests his new do is here to stay.
His appearance has invited favourable comparisons to Back to the Future’s Doc Brown, AC Grayling, and Lyndon B Johnson in retirement.
Tony Blair’s lockdown hair is pleasingly similar to Lyndon Johnson’s retirement do. pic.twitter.com/Nrt6ymMB9T
— Stephen Bush (@stephenkb) April 27, 2021
Tony Blair is slowly transforming into Doc Brown pic.twitter.com/9NYzfHqdqn
— Matt Gorman (@mattsgorman) April 27, 2021
Some saw Peter Stringfellow or Richard Branson in the face of the former prime minister. Others were reminded of Blair’s short-lived bid for rock ‘n’ roll stardom and wondered if his unexpected hairstyle signalled a comeback of his university band.
“After lockdown me and the guys really felt it was time to get Ugly Rumours back on the road.” https://t.co/PDBuHRhGOa
— George Eaton (@georgeeaton) April 27, 2021
But he also bore an eerie resemblance to David Icke, a man who believes the world is run by lizards – perhaps Blair is trying to tell us something?
I understand this last year and lockdown has been difficult and many of us have changed. But Tony Blair changing into David Icke must surely be the strangest change of all! pic.twitter.com/h7GhkVJvJz
— Glyn Shemwell (@GlynShemwell) April 27, 2021
Or maybe this is part of his self-appointed role as guardian of the nation during the pandemic – the hair contributing to his elder statesman look. This new tactic might, however, prove counterproductive. Alastair Campbell has pointed out in the past that during the New Labour years taming Blair’s mop before interviews was critical to keeping attention on what he actually said.
Perhaps the former prime minister felt lockdown – plus 14 years out of office – presented an opportunity to grow out his locks in a way his old spin doctor would never allow. The media frenzy around his silver mullet suggests otherwise. His family should really stage an intervention, something you’d think Blair would welcome.