photo source: BBC News
It's been trending on twitter, it's provoked speculation and news articles across the UK: it's none other than Tony and Cherie Blair's 2014 Christmas card! You may have thought personalised photos on festive cards were a thing of the nineties but the Blairs prove, well, yes, maybe they should have stayed in the nineties.
A Christmas family portrait conjures images of everyone in their Sunday-best, lining up whilst dad sets up the camera, with timer. Dad is primed and ready to jump into shot with only 10 seconds to go, uttering a quick "everyone say cheese" before the flash goes off and catches Granny picking her nose. A christmas portrait surely means; Christmas jumpers, tinsel perhaps a pet dog in a santa hat. It certainly does not make you think of a political couple in uncoordinated outfits, with a distinct lack of anything Christmassy and the air of awkwardness awash over the whole affair.
Yes, we can excuse the lack of Christmas paraphernalia, perhaps to give the shot a more wide-reaching feel, but Tony and Cherie's faces and postures are a sight to behold! This, my friends, is the aspect that has really got everyone talking and Tony himself has been the focus of most of it.
Let's look at the top 3 reasons everyone can't stop talking about the Tony Blair Christmas card...
1. Those Eyes
Photo source: BBC Radio 4
A direct comparison here to CBBC's Demon Headmaster which is simply uncanny. Tony's eyes stare eerily forward in a sort of trance with the right eyebrow slightly raised as if to say "bring in the bodies" or "I'll 'ave you".
It's the fact that Tony's eyes and the rest of his face seem completely unconnected which is the most worrying. What can he be thinking? Was he playing the game 'who will blink first' with the photographer? Was someone behind the camera flirting a bit too much with Cherie? Or does he just hate Christmas?
If eyes are the windows to the soul, what's going on with Tony's soul?! Answers on a postcard please or via twitter.
2. That Smile
Cherie doesn't look best pleased by the look of her smile, but you would have thought after all those years in the public-eye Tony would have perfected at least a passable smile for photographs.
There has been much speculation about Tony's smile. Is it through gritted teeth? Has he just had something inserted? Or is he posing for a dental x-ray? No matter the reason, one question remains: why would you put this on a Christmas card?
Surely, they took several photos for the possible Christmas card cover and then went through the selection, to pick a favourite. If so, how could this specimen ever come top of the list! It makes you wonder what the other shots looked like!
3. That Hashtag
#tonyblairchristmascard is the hashtag that has been doing the rounds and makes for hilarious reading. Tony has been compared to everything from an emoticon to Chandler from Friends, with visual gags aplenty.
Twitter is fast becoming make or break for politicians, as stories like this one go global, purely from the reaction on twitter. So, it's a good thing Tony is no longer Prime Minister, although any press is good press of course. Oh no, do you think Cameron will try and jump on the Christmas card the band wagon? Here's hoping.
Maybe you'll think twice before sending out your Christmas card next year Tony...
Samantha Baines is an award-winning actress and comedian. She has problems with
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