1. Prime Minister's Questions
Time was there was only one reason to bother turning on the TV at 12pm on Wednesday.
Ed Balls managed to be the centre of attention without (at least to the TV cameras) uttering a word, making goading an art form. Sat to the right of his leader, the then Shadow Chancellor would chunter at David Cameron and his opposite number, George Osborne, ad nauseum.
It got the stage where Cameron labelled him the “most annoying person in modern politics.”.
Balls 1, Cameron 0.
2. Peerless photoshoots
Few politicians have been quite so willing to play to camera with such gusto.
- Giant FarmerPeter Macdiarmid/PA Archive
- ActorDave Thompson/PA Archive
- Father ChristmasStefan Rousseau/PA Archive
- 1980s BankerNick Ansell/PA Archive
- Back-room BoyPaul Grover/Daily Telegraph/PA Archive
- AcrobatLewis Whyld/PA Archive
- StudentGEOFF CADDICK/PA Archive
- Nightclub BouncerMatt Cardy via Getty Images
- Ice-cream ManIan Forsyth via Getty Images
- DrummerPeter Macdiarmid via Getty Images
- Would-be 'Bake Off' JudgeRex
3. His football skills
Ed Balls playing football versus journalists was the most prized photograph of the party conference season. And he seldom failed to deliver, having variously elbowed an opponent in the face, been drawn into a penalty “diving” controversy or merely shown off his “tekkers”.
4. Great copy
After Mumsnet rated him among the Commons' best lovers, LBC Radio suggested his style “starts well but you slightly fade away”. Balls replied: “No, long slow burn.”
5. Er, politics
A genuine “big beast” and one of the most influential politicians of his generation.
From the "back-room" role of helping mastermind then Chancellor Gordon Brown hand over control of interest rates to the Bank of England and keeping Britain out of the euro, and rising to Education Secretary, to running for the Labour leadership in 2010 and holding arguably the toughest job in politics, Shadow Chancellor, for five years.
Ed Balls, we salute you.