They call him the shadow. As Britain’s chief adviser to the Treasury, his was the hidden hand behind Gordon Brown’s miraculous economic steerage, during which £11 billion was transferred from NHS funds to IT contractors (for nothing in return) and a further £10 billion given to City loan firms as part of the Private Finance Initiative. Following these triumphs, he spent years as Ed Miliband’s Shadow Chancellor, impressively holding the evil Tories to account as they tried to ‘privatise the NHS’, according to the unbiased accounts of events given by the BBC and Channel 4.
Now Balls is hoping his economy of movement, so impressively demonstrated on the playing fields of Westminster village during the annual lobby hacks versus Mps football derby, will wow TV viewers all over again. Once again, the PR and messaging is to be trusted to the BBC, through its Strictly Come Dancing team.
We can now look forward to classic ballroom dancing styles, such as the Rumba, the Samba and the Paso Doble, being interpreted in Balls’s unique style. BBC insiders are particularly excited about Ed’s Neo Endogenous Viennese Waltz, which they quietly expect to win voters back over to their side. There are high hopes too for Balls’s post-capitalist version of the Cha Cha, where the rhythms of the dance are heavily regulated by Ed’s lead and his dancing partner will be asked to meet strict criteria before performing even the smallest of manoeuvres.
Balls is expected to reject the outdated dancing model of small steps and hip motions in 4/4 time and anyone expecting to see five steps danced in four beats will be severely disappointed. But it won’t all be about dismal, centralised control. Balls’s interpretations of the Fiscal Foxtrot will give multiple dance partners (traditionally described as a ‘wunch’ of bankers) complete licence to do whatever they like. Expect a guest appearance by legendary ‘wrong footer’ Sir Freddie Goodwin.
However, others have warned that Balls’s competitive nature is difficult to suppress once he’s dressed for action. According to reports from football changing rooms, the otherwise genial Balls is transformed into a maniac as soon as he laces up a pair of boots, as anyone who has marked him will testify. Competitors and dance partners have been warned to expect lots of bruised feet and flailing elbows.
The sight of this product of a private school education enjoying himself is expected to create the usual bitter divisions in the Labour Party. But we’d like to wish the best of luck to the man with two left feet, who has been dubbed the Charleston of the Exchequer.