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‘You looked like Gandalf’: Tony Blair admits his lockdown mullet was a mistake

Tony Blair today admitted he finally had his hair cut because his lockdown mullet made him look like the white wizard Gandalf from the Lord of Rings, apologising for failing to get ‘organised’ and have it hacked back earlier.

The former prime minister was lampooned by Alastair Campbell on Good Morning Britain as his former spin doctor invited more of his Labour and left-wing friends on to the show.    

The sight of a somewhat cadaverous Tony Blair with a flowing mullet of grey hair in a television interview at the end of April left all who saw it utterly transfixed.

But the last Labour leader to win a general election, whose locks made him look like an ageing rock star, showed off his shorter haircut on live TV today and told disappointed fans reacting on Twitter: ‘It’s done. It’s over’. 

Mr Campbell, whose co-host Susanna Reid admitted she felt like she was in a ‘Blair sandwich’ when John Bercow appeared on the show yesterday, asked him: ‘How did you allow yourself to do a TV interview looking like Gandalf?’.

His former boss responded: ‘Gandalf is better than some of the things I’ve been called. Look, it was lockdown. Anyway it’s done. It’s over. It took me some time to get organised’.

Tony Blair today revealed his mullet was a thing of the past after failing to get ‘organised’ and have a haircut when lockdown ended

Tony Blair caused a stir on social media after unveiling his long lockdown locks in an interview with ITV at the end of April

Tony Blair caused a stir on social media after unveiling his long lockdown locks in an interview with ITV at the end of April

The former PM admitted that being compared to Gandalf is not the worst thing he's been called, but admitted that his hair had been more interesting to people than his foundation's work

The former PM admitted that being compared to Gandalf is not the worst thing he’s been called, but admitted that his hair had been more interesting to people than his foundation’s work

Susanna Reid admitted she felt like she was in a 'Blair sandwich' when John Bercow appeared on the show yesterday with Alastair Campbell and had the real thing today

Susanna Reid admitted she felt like she was in a ‘Blair sandwich’ when John Bercow appeared on the show yesterday with Alastair Campbell and had the real thing today

Mr Blair’s foundation, the Institute for Global Change, has been working on policies to help defeat Covid around the world and recover from the pandemic.

He said: ‘The thing that is interesting and depressing about politics is that my institute know all about vaccines and Africa and the Middle East and all of that, literally when I said to my people so what have I received the most traffic about this last year? They said it’s your hair’.  

Alastair Campbell is presenting GMB this week with some bookies making him favourite to replace Piers Morgan full time. He has had a number of Labour figures and his friends on the show. 

A younger Tony Blair with long hair during his university days in the 70s

A younger Tony Blair with long hair during his university days in the 70s

His co-host Susanna Reid looked uncomfortable this week when former Commons Speaker John Bercow accused her of having a soft spot for the PM.

He said: ‘He’s your favourite puppy dog, apparently. You call him “Boris”.

She hit back, saying: ‘That’s insulting towards me. I think a lot of people call him Boris’, adding that being stuck between Bercow and guest co-presenter Campbell felt ‘like I’m stuck in a Tony Blair sandwich.’   

Mr Blair’s hair became an internet sensation when he appeared on ITV News on April. As he admitted he regretted not being able to kill off the Scottish independence movement, people were far more interest in his barnet.

More than a fortnight after hairdressers were allowed to reopen, social media quickly became obsessed with the question of why the former prime minister was seemingly the last person in the country still sporting lockdown hair.

Several juxtaposed the unexpectedly jarring image of the 67-year-old New Labour leader with the person they felt he most resembled.

Film characters included Gollum from the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Then of course there was Lloyd’s mad scientist from Back To The Future or even Dracula.

‘I see Tony Blair has come back from the future to see Marty McFly to say something needs to be done about the kids,’ quipped one Twitter user.

‘Trust me, Marty, the plutonium we need for the Flux Capacitor is in Iraq!’ offered another.

Some were convinced he had morphed into jailed Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, actor Richard E Grant or entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson.

Others had an even more disturbing vision in their heads.

‘I understand this last year and lockdown has been difficult and many of us have changed’ wrote Glyn Shemwell.

‘But Tony Blair changing into David Icke must surely be the strangest change of all!’

The back of Tony Blair's hair during his ITV interview on Tuesday. The lockdown locks caused a stir on social media

The back of Tony Blair’s hair during his ITV interview on Tuesday. The lockdown locks caused a stir on social media

A rock star on the comeback trail was a particular theme in the Twittersphere.

‘Tony Blair looking like one of the founding members of prog-rock band Genesis,’ suggested one shocked viewer, Jamie Phillips.

Meanwhile Gene McGurk joked that he was ‘telling the story of how he was kicked out of The Stranglers and replaced by Hugh Cornwell, just before they made it big’.

The silvery mullet inspired others to think of an ex-footballer, with former England captain and QPR legend Gerry Francis a particular favourite.

Yet another theme was a former tech visionary looking back on his career.

‘Tony Blair looks like he’s a semi-retired engineer who made significant contributions to the development of the original Apple Macintosh,’ suggested Facebook employee Tom Gara.

Those who managed to pay attention to what Mr Blair said in his interview with ITV News heard him admit that ‘weaknesses’ in the New Labour devolution project meant it had failed to kill off the Scottish independence movement.

‘Where I think we were wrong was in believing that devolution would end the argument of independence – it hasn’t ended it,’ he said.

Mr Blair said his Government should have done more to ‘emphasise the enormous things that the different countries in the United Kingdom have in common’.

But he insisted that ‘the union would already be in tatters’ had Labour not devolution referendums in Scotland and Wales in 1997 – and said he remained confident the United Kingdom would still exist in 20 years’ time.

While Mr Blair’s busy life as head of his eponymous Institute for Global Change may leave little time for a haircut, such day-to-day chores have never been his strongpoint.

Indeed Mr Blair has previously spoken of how he hasn’t done any housework or driven a car since entering Downing Street back in 1997.

Even in the first UK-wide lockdown, with none of the usual staff at their seven-bedroom house in Buckinghamshire, cleaning and laundry fell to wife Cherie, 66 – despite her own career as an international lawyer.

Asked at the time if he had done a load of laundry since becoming PM, he told the Sunday Times: ‘No. My life’s not been normal since moving into Downing Street.’

Admitting he hadn’t done a weekly supermarket shop, cooked a meal for the whole family or even driven a car for 23 years, Mr Blair blamed having ‘the whole security apparatus around you’.

Even cooking has been restricted to making an omelette for youngest son Leo, born while they were in Downing Street and now 20, he confessed.


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