Subscribe RSS
Eurovision Plan B May 17

Once again the UK’s post-Eurovision coverage has been full of reports of block voting, countries backing their neighbours, etc., etc. In pointedly noting the douze points vote swapping between Greece and Cyprus, these stories have forgotten we were as much a party to the “love thy neighbour” principle. The only points, seven, that saved Ireland from a well-deserved nul points were from their neighbours: us. And they were one of the few countries to give us any points.

Much of this friendly voting cancels itself out, and it takes more than local support to win. Let’s not pretend that the ten points we gave to Cyprus had nothing to do with the nationality of the 16-year-old from Kent who performed the (tedious and warbling, but oh so worthy) Cypriot entry. It is not as if we didn’t give points (five) to the eventual winners, or that we didn’t give any to second place Serbia (three) or third place Greece (we gave them the maximum twelve).

Of course some of the voting is political, but there is also good reason for countries from the same region to support each other. Many nations – Serbia was a notable example -enter songs that represent their own culture. Eastern Europe has a different cultural background from Western Europe and that is reflected in those countries’ traditional music. It is hardly surprising if Macedonia or Bosnia recognises positively aspects of Serbia’s entry, just as the UK is more inclined to vote for upbeat pop or cheesy ballads sung by teenagers.

Blair’s position on Iraq has undoubtedly lost us votes the last two years, although potential Eurovision failure was probably the worst argument against a pre-emptive, bilateral, dubiously legal attack. The UK’s problem with countries voting for their friends is that we have precious few.

Now there has been the suggestion that we should follow the examples of the USSR and Yugoslavia: break up into several states (or submit separate entries from Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and England) and thereby contribute four times the votes, which we can shower on each other. An alternative would be to choose the winner on a popular vote across the whole of Europe, rather than allowing tiny Monaco the same number of votes as sprawling Russia. But this would mean doing away with the clumsy voting from each country which is half the fun.

So I have a cunning plan to secure our success next year: the UK should enter a better song.

Comments are closed.