Ed Balls Day: Five Reasons Why British Politics Is Poorer Without Him

It's the first Ed Balls Day since losing his seat

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.

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2. Peerless photoshoots

Few politicians have been quite so willing to play to camera with such gusto.

Giant Farmer
Peter Macdiarmid/PA Archive
Actor
Dave Thompson/PA Archive
Father Christmas
Stefan Rousseau/PA Archive
1980s Banker
Nick Ansell/PA Archive
Back-room Boy
Paul Grover/Daily Telegraph/PA Archive
Acrobat
Lewis Whyld/PA Archive
Student
GEOFF CADDICK/PA Archive
Nightclub Bouncer
Matt Cardy via Getty Images
Ice-cream Man
Ian Forsyth via Getty Images
Drummer
Peter Macdiarmid via Getty Images
Would-be 'Bake Off' Judge
Rex

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”.

Ed Balls: Footballer

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.