Sunday, May 25, 2008

Eurovision - who cares?

Traditionally even the most ardent Eurosceptics have never had a problem with the UK's participation in the Eurovision Song Contest. On the contrary it's been regarded as a bit of fun.

But in recent years everyone's rushed to allege political motivations behind the voting, to complain that the UK always does badly out of this and that the whole thing is now biased towards eastern Europe. And whine that Russia's victory this year is political. (BBC News: Russia scoops Eurovision victory)

But let's be honest - the UK does not take Eurovision seriously. We hardly ever deploy our best pop stars, instead sending in a string of also rans. Now given that the winning country has to pay to host the next competition making it a dubious prize (look at what happened to RTE when Ireland kept winning - it even spawned a Father Ted episode!) it's perhaps understandable, but other countries take the contest seriously. Hence they run serious entries that get the points.

As for the regular complaint that many countries vote for their neighbours, well consider cultural and immigration trends. Naturally people in one country are likely to be best disposed towards the music from their neighbours or from their ancestral countries. And most of the Commonwealth don't have votes in Eurovision.

So let's decide once and for all if we want to treat the contest as a bit of a laugh and keep coming nowhere or if we want to make a serious bid and put forward our top talent, rather than doing one and moaning we don't get the results of the other.


Anonymous said...

The worst thing they did to Eurovision was democratise it - it was better in the days of the votes being decided by an unaccountable independent committee. Also, the non-qualifiers should not get a vote. Unless the makers of Eurovision address these two particualr points I give the contest 10 years maximum before it ceases to exist.

You are right that the UK no longer puts up its top acts, but that has generally been the case throughout the contests history, with one or two exceptions.

neil craig said...

I won't say there was once a golden age when the Eurovision SongContest was politically impartial but I think the point where it was most blatantly used was when those noble freedom loving ex-Nazi, openly genocidal al Quaeda supported, fundamentalist rules Bosnian Moslems got it with a piece of generic pathos.

Strngely Mr Wogan didn't comment on that stitch up.


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