The girl with the Ed Miliband tattoo
‘Even if I did regret it, I wouldn’t tell anyone’
If you were to meet Hannah Stock in the street, what you would see is a perfectly normal, ordinary girl. If you got to know her, this impression would be immediately confirmed: an 18-year-old Optometry student at City University London with a part-time job at the local Tesco and a passion for music and films.
But Hannah has a secret. For the last six months Hannah has been concealing a tattoo of Ed Miliband – the infamous former Labour leader badly defeated at the last general election. And for all those who were wondering where he is, the answer is there, permanently imprinted on Hannah’s thigh.
Now, it’s understandably difficult to make this image match with that of the young Tesco cashier with an interest in violins and films. Yet, this is what you get. A large tattoo, and an even larger obsession with quite an unpopular politician.
She inherited her political beliefs from her parents, both Labour supporters. But it was Ed that triggered the insane passion, which fiercely exploded during the 2014 European elections.
“I really respect him”, she confessed, highlighting the importance of his work particularly on issues such as education and tuition fees. “And I admire his policies especially in regard to Mental Health, which means a lot to me”.
She had a chance to meet him in Bedford last year, the day before the General Election. On that occasion, she shook his hand and exchanged a few words with him. She even managed to have her moment with Ed captured on ITV News. It was later decorated with a red heart, and it became her cover photo on Facebook.
She says that she is an active member of the “Milifandom”, but doesn’t agree with those who compare her to other kinds of fan, such as Beliebers and Directioners: “It depends on why you’re fan. I was a fan of Nick Clegg when I was thirteen just because I thought he was handsome. I also choreographed a routine dance for him. I’m not really proud of it though.”
Her passion for Miliband quickly escalated, culminating with the tattoo: “It was quite an instinctive decision. I started thinking about it a week before I did it. My hesitation was not about whether or not I was going to do it, it was a matter of which part of my body would be the best to accommodate my idol’s portrait.”
And then she found it. As soon as Hannah received the second instalment of her student loan, she fulfilled her desire: “I went to the Tattoo Studio at two, got a design at three and by five o’ clock it was all over my leg,” she said with pride.
The reactions to her tattoo were mixed: some thought it was funny, labelling Hannah as a “living legend”. Others, instead, had a less diplomatic response: “The most negative reaction came from my mother. On that day I sent her a picture on Whatsapp saying ‘Happy New Year’. She eventually unfriended me on Facebook and didn’t speak to me for a day.”
“My sister was OK about it, maybe because she thinks that everything I do is stupid so it didn’t really make a difference to her. She even took a video of my mother screaming ‘Tell me she didn’t do it! Tell me it’s not what I think!’ when she found out, but she said I can’t show it to anyone. It’s such a shame because it’s very funny.”
She was surprised when she realised her story had gone viral. She tweeted the picture to Buzzfeed and after a few hours it was all over the internet. “They even called me to be interviewed on a Canadian radio station. I was speechless. Why would they want me in Canada?” However, although she argued she only did it for herself and not to get Miliband’s attention, she was a little disappointed when he ignored her demonstration of affection.
The people who commented on the articles, on the other hand, were not always kind to her. She didn’t feel bothered by the negative comments, but someone wrote that her tattoo was still more attractive than her face, which she found a bit impolite.
Speaking of the Tattoo Artist, Hannah said that he was not particularly surprised by her choice. “I guess it’s because they get a lot of odd requests. Last year I went there to have a broccoli tattooed on my neck and they were completely fine with it.”
She described the day the Labour Party lost the general election as a very sad moment for her. She even said she “cried for days” when Miliband resigned.
When asked if she will ever regret her choice, she said: “Even if I did I wouldn’t tell anyone. At least it’s a very nice drawing so I guess I’ll be fine.”
She concluded: “I wouldn’t make a big deal out of it. I mean, I am just a girl with a Labour t-shirt and a big Ed Miliband Tattoo. Other than that, I’m completely normal.”