What Is Ed Balls Day?

It’s not as R-rated as it may sound.
Ed Balls celebrates Ed Balls Day.
Ed Balls celebrates Ed Balls Day. / Photo: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

Ever make a harmless mistake that gets blown out of proportion? Ed Balls feels you.

At 11:20 a.m. on April 28, 2011, Balls—then a Labour Member of Parliament and Shadow Chancellor—mistakenly tweeted a two-word message: Ed Balls. It was not a tweet he intended to send out into the world; presumably, it was a simple mix-up in which he attempted to search his own name on X (formerly Twitter), but instead ended up tweeting it.

It was an honest slip-up, and a funny one to be sure—especially since his name happens to be Ed Balls. But the internet isn’t exactly known for its collective ability to let things slide. So more than a decade later, people are still regularly engaging with the original message. To date, it has been retweeted approximately 120,000 times and received thousands of replies (which often simply read “Ed Balls”).

On the internet—in the UK mostly, but also around the world—April 28 is now celebrated as Ed Balls Day, an ironic pseudo-holiday where revelers share their #EdBallsDay memories and well-wishes.

“I’ve no idea what to make of it,” Balls admitted in a 2015 interview. “It’s obviously helped by the fact that I have a memorable name.” To his credit, Balls has been a good sport about the social media flub. He has never opted to delete the original message, and has even played along on his eponymous day of honor.

While “Ed Balls” the tweet now has a life of its own, Ed Balls the man has no choice but to find the silver lining in his viral fame. “Who in post-war British politics has had a day named after them?" he asked. “You take what you can, really, don’t you?"

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A version of this story ran in 2015; it has been updated for 2024.