What is Ed Balls Day 2021? Former shadow chancellor’s Tweet mishap explained - and why we celebrate him today

Balls is also remembered for his outrageous performance of ‘Gangnam Style’ on Strictly Come Dancing

Today, 28 April 2021, marks the 10 year anniversary of Ed Balls Day, one of Twitter's favourite inside jokes to emerge over the past decade.

This is everything you need to know about the day, from why everyone is talking about it to what Ed Balls himself has said.

Sign up to our NationalWorld Today newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

What is Ed Balls Day?

Ed Balls Day takes place on 28 April each year, and commemorates the time that Balls accidentally Tweeted nothing but his own name on the social media platform in 2011.

Balls had been trying to search his own name, but accidentally mistook the Tweet button for the search bar.

Users were quick to jump on Balls’ error, making jokes and memes out of the Tweet. At this point, the original Tweet has amassed 93.5k likes.

Since then, every year on 28 April, users come together to remember the hilarious Tweet, sharing jokes and messages.

2021 marks the 10 year anniversary of the iconic mishap (Photo: Ed Balls/Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images)

Balls is a former politician who served as Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer from 2011 to 2015. He was a member of the Labour Party and Co-operative Party, and served as an MP for Morley and Outwood, formerly Normanton, from 2005 to 2015.

After leaving politics, Balls has appeared in a number of TV shows, including The Great Sport Relief Bake Off and Strictly Come Dancing both in 2016, a three part documentary series on BBC Two called Travels in Trumpland with Ed Balls in 2018 and another series in 2020 called Travels in Euroland with Ed Balls.

In 2017, Balls also appeared as a contestant on the comedy panel show Would I Lie to You and earlier this year in February, Balls won the BBC programme Celebrity Best Home Cook, beating out competition like Tom Read Wilson, Rachel Johnson and Ferne McCann.

Has Ed Balls said anything about the day?

So far, Balls is yet to acknowledge the day online, but in previous years he has marked the day in his own way.

In 2020, Balls put out a video teaching children how to work out the volume of balls as part of a contribution to the BBC Bitesize Daily lessons that took place during the Covid-19 lockdown last year.

In 2016, Balls baked a cake and decorated it to look like the famous Tweet, after encouragement from his wife, MP Yvette Cooper.

In 2014, he retweeted the Tweet, writing: “Good grief… Oh go on then…”

Speaking to New Statesman in 2015, Balls said of the day: “I’ve no idea what to make of it. It’s obviously helped by the fact that I have a memorable name.

“The trouble with the day itself is that there is a dilemma. There’s one group of people who think if I don’t engage somehow on the day, I’m a bad sport.

“And if I do engage, there’ll be another whole group of people who’ll say, “Oh God, he’s ruined it.” I can’t win and I sort of know that, so I don’t really mind.

“Who in postwar British politics has had a day named after them? You take what you can, really, don’t you?”

How are people celebrating Ed Balls Day on Twitter?

Twitter users have come together to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of Ed Balls Day with a variety of messages, jokes and memes.

Election Maps UK wrote: “It’s been a difficult year for everyone, but I hope that all of us, no matter our gender, sexuality, colour or creed, can come together on this most special of days to celebrate Ed Balls Day. #EdBallsDay.”

Sky political correspondent Kate McCann Tweeted: “It’s the ten year anniversary of Ed Balls day. TEN YEARS.”

Journalist Tom Harwood wrote: “Feels like it comes round earlier every year. Ignore the naysayers and the cynics who say it has become over commercialised. To a great many people this day still means an awful lot. To those who celebrate - and those who don’t - I hope you have a peaceful and happy #EdBallsDay.”

“I wish I was a little bit taller, I wish I was Ed Ballser, I wish I’d sent a tweet with my name to you allser #EdBallsDay,” Tweeted writer Adam Roberts.

One user wrote: “‘You there boy, what day is it?’ ‘#EdBallsDay, sir!’” and attached a picture of Scrooge from the film A Christmas Carol.

Another Tweeted: “Good morning everyone! Wishing you all a beautiful and joyous 10th Ed Balls Day! #EdBallsDay.”

Of course, many other Twitter users simply Tweeted out “Ed Balls” in honour of the day.