Tony Blair’s hair calls for an intervention

This #EdBallsDay, a wild silver mullet reminds us how long it has been since New Labour’s prime.

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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.

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.


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.

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?

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.

Freddie Hayward is a graduate trainee at New Statesman Media Group. 

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