Love him or hate him, Tony Blair was always a consumate performer, a first rate showman in British politics. Whether it was mounting a pushbike in Amsterdam, doing headers with Kevin Keegan or asking Lauren “Am I bovvered?” he had a fluent and easy manner with what he described in the latter period of his premiership “the feral media”. Throughout the current Labour leadership contest I had been wondering if any of the 5 contenders could do that studied spotaneity in the same way and now I stumble across this on the web:

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Ed Balls pounding the skins! Bravo that man, who I have to say has impressed far beyond how I thought he’d come over in both hustings I’ve attended. On Tuesday he talked with genuine affection about how he’d look after the kids in the early years when his wife Yvette Cooper began in politics (she was an MP nine years before him). Let’s hope that EdB can break out of perceptions of him as his master’s voice vis-vis-vis the last PM and play a top role in the next Labour government – but not quite as top as DM who’s my first choice.

UPDATE: On this final point, I’m in good company here; the breadth of Miliband Senior’s support has been highlighted here before in his endoserment by Gillian Duffy but now one time hard-left headbanger Dennis Skinner has also come out for him.