At 4.16pm on the 28th April 2013 Ed Balls nervously looks at his watch. He has decided to commit himself to the garden on this Sunday afternoon, so as to avoid the internet.
At 4.20pm over 20,000 people tweet and retweet the words ‘Ed Balls’.
“Oh mate, you’re trending on Twitter!” reads a text from Andy Burnham to Ed Balls. The Shadow Chancellor remains bewildered by the affair, but knows he is powerless to stop it. He picks up a trowel.
The following day, a meeting commences within the production company behind weekly smash UK sketch show, Satire-day Night Live.
“Jamie showed me this brilliant thing this morning!” exclaims the producer, pointing at one of the researchers as he loads up the projector to display a Storify page containing the best of ‘Ed Balls’ tweets, including those from John Prescott, Jeff Stelling and the man from the Snickers adverts of whom Joan Collins plays the diva version.
“Who is this Ed Balls? We need him to host the show this week!”
“Steve, I’m not sure that the number of people who understand an internet meme equals even a fraction of our audience. Is that really a good idea?” replies a worried looking production co-ordinator. The producer calls her a past-it square and encourages the team to laugh at her correct pronunciation of the word ‘meme’, as he has never heard it said aloud before.
Ed Balls receives a relatively one-sided phonecall two hours later. He wonders why he has been asked to host an episode of a popular Saturday night entertainment programme, before deciding that his involvement in the Fabian Society’s annual pantomime must be the reason. He accepts.
“Sorry, I can’t make your Britain’s Got Talent party this weekend after all, Chief, something’s come up.” Balls begins his email to Miliband. He smiles as he types a modest description of what he has been asked to do.
Five minutes to air.
Balls waits backstage, nervously flicking his cue-cards against his left hand in anticipation of being guided to the wings. This moment arrives after what feels like a lifetime and as he is ushered towards the stage where he rehearsed just hours earlier, he can hear the audience laughing and cheering at a game the warm-up comedian has them playing.
The theme music starts up and the audience are led to clap and show appreciation. Balls is gently pushed onto the stage. Bright lights and dry ice. The noise dies down.
“Hello, I’m your host for the evening, Ed Balls.”
There is a polite round of applause followed by an uproarious cheer when the words ‘Ed Balls’ flash onsceen behind him.
“Ed Balls!” He joyously shouts again, struggling to be heard over the crowd, and claps his hands together, “And this is Satire-day Night Live!”
An hour passes, along with an opening monologue, a musical number and a sketch parodying 1999 film Being John Malkovich, in which Ed Balls travels through a tiny door that takes him inside his own brain. The culmination of the evening is Balls, exhilerated, bowing with his fellow cast members onstage to thunderous applause and standing ovations.
Twitter goes mad. Lee Mack’s management post to his account that Ed Balls is a comedy genius. Tom Daley dubs Balls “a total legend”. Blogs erupt from all corners of Britain and the Sunday papers spew gushing reviews of his debut performance, “Ed Balls: The New Adrian Edmondson?”
“Balls To The Wall: Shadow Chancellor Slays Primetime Audience”
“We Are All Ed Balls”
Miliband is not pleased. His phone rings continuously with questions from journalists about his colleague’s charismatic television appearance and hinting towards his leadership qualities. Meanwhile, Balls takes Monday off work to appear on This Morning and Channel 4’s ‘What’s Cooking?’.
The offers roll in for months and months on end, 95% of which are graciously accepted. In early September, Balls agrees to host six episodes of a new panel show based around the Twitter accounts of celebrities. In the final episode, Justin Bieber appears via satellite link-up to poke fun at his own gaffe from two weeks earlier where he tweeted about a meeting “UK Prime Minister, Ed Cameron”.
At this point, Miliband has been in a good mood for a fortnight due to taking the Canadian teen idol’s online Freudian slip as a victory for himself. He purposely misses the television show and, as a result, is blissfully unaware of Bieber telling Balls and the panel that he posted the wrong name due to believing that Ed Balls was actually in charge of the country. Andy Burnham texts Miliband with a simple “LOL.”
When questioned as to what’s so funny, he responds, “Ed, I think you’d better watch Channel4+1 in an hour, mate.”
Miliband is not pleased.
This, along with his brilliance being pointed out to him on a daily basis, plants a seed in the head of Ed Balls. In the months that follow, interest and faith in Miliband decreases and rumour that Balls is due to take over as Leader of the Opposition spread fast. Miliband eventually steps down as leader of the Labour Party due to three health scares as a result of his now sky-high blood pressure. Ed Balls steps up.
The support for Labour in the 2015 general election is overwhelming.
Ed Balls is now your Prime Minister.
What have you done?