#EdBallsDay: How Ed Balls Day Tweet Became British Political Legend

There's a special significance this year.

28/04/2016 09:00 | Updated 28 April 2016

Five years ago today, a tiny and unintentional communication set in motion a cascade of events that would transform British politics forever.

No one can be quite certain of the circumstances behind Ed Balls Day, but legend has it it all began in the Castleford branch of Asda.

The story goes that then-Labour MP, Ed Balls, was shopping for a 12-hour pulled pork when he accidentally tweeted his name instead of searching for it while looking for a story written about him.

Oblivious to the fact a tweet can be deleted and embarrassment avoided, Balls returned home and indulged in some familiar pastimes in the hope his error would soon be forgotten.


Alas, it was too late.

The tweet went viral.

His work life suffered and the once genuine warmth that radiated from his continually-red face became less and less sincere.


The public reaction escalated.

Dark thoughts crossed Balls' mind as his shame grew. 


He tried to forget about it the only way he knew how.


He considered revenge...

Matt Cardy via Getty Images

... until the realisation dawned on him that he and he alone was responsible.

This epiphany brought him a measure of inner peace not felt since he walked through the doors of Castleford Asda all those months before.

Ian Forsyth via Getty Images

He decided to take charge of the situation and after two long years acceptance finally came. 

He received the support of his family.

He received the support of his party. 

But what meant the most to Ed was that he received the support of the public... for a while, at least.

Ed was over the moon.

Lewis Whyld/PA Archive

But wait! More would be in store for the hero of our yarn!

Over the next few years the legend of Ed Balls Day spawned an entire franchise.

There was the movie.

The album.

Not to mention the extensive marketing campaign.

An Ed Balls autograph became one of the most sought-after signatures in the world.

The Norwich-born Balls had become a global phenomenon. 

Worryingly, Ed himself couldn't quite take it all in and walked around in a constant state of bemusement only able to utter two fateful words, even in interviews.

Which in hindsight probably explained this. 

The world reeled in horror that night. Even his opponents were left completely shell-shocked.


Which is why this, the fifth anniversary of the first Ed Balls Day, is the most important of all.

He may no longer be an elected representative of the people, but what he started - albeit unintentionally - is now bigger than the man himself.

Yes, the corporations have jumped on the bandwagon.

And yes, the PC Brigade have managed to encroach on our fun.

But we still have our traditions and it is our traditions that make Britain, Great Britain!

This is the Ed Balls Day where we show that though he may be gone from the public eye, his ham-fisted approach to keyboards shall live on.

For if we can do this than there is no stopping how far Ed Balls can change the very fabric of the British holidays we care for so dearly.

Stefan Rousseau/PA Archive

Happy Ed Balls Day everyone x

Suggest a correction