The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Why everyone in Britain is tweeting ‘Ed Balls’ today

The tweet that started it all (Twitter)
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On April 28, 2011, Ed Balls, the shadow chancellor of the exchequer for the British Labor Party, logged in to Twitter. Apparently lost for words, Balls tweeted two words that would go down in history.

"Ed Balls."

As you can see, it was a popular tweet: It's now three years later, and it's been retweeted more than 26,000 times.

It's so popular that on the third anniversary of the tweet, Brits, Anglophiles and all sorts of other Twitter weirdos have declared today #EdBallsDay, and are celebrating in style.

Balls himself well aware of the situation, and apparently happy to play along. Last year he tweeted:

And this year he acknowledged the importance of the date again:

The tweet has even been used for political purposes: It was used by Liberal Democrats leader Nick Clegg to signal a rapprochement between his party and Ball's Labor, which had been pitted against each other when the Lib Dems formed a coalition with David Cameron's Conservative Party:

What makes #EdBallsDay so powerful? Well, you could argue that it's because the ambitious Balls is a divisive figure in British politics: He's a man who plotted to help Gordon Brown usurp Tony Blair as prime minister, a man many suspect of wanting to be prime minister himself, and a man who was called a "muttering idiot" by the current prime minister, David Cameron.

But there's another, simpler reason here, and it may well be more important: Ed Balls.