Why does UK bother with Eurovision?
10:30am Sunday 3rd June 2012 in Colin Baker
I FIND the Eurovision Song Contest confusing in many ways. At Baker Towers, we have a tradition of watching it as a family, with score sheets and a degree of preparation and ceremony normally accorded to family birthdays, Easter or Christmas. Every year though, we are perplexed by the continuing dogged insistence of the viewing billions to vote, as we see it, on criteria resolutely unrelated to musicality, originality or talent. Even given cultural and individual subjective ideas of what constitutes a good song, the last few years have demonstrated a uniformity of voting patterns that are inescapably partisan rather than informed.
If there were a way to present the show without identifying the country of origin, I suspect the results would consistently be markedly different. As it is, only countries that are disliked as nations by the fewest people have the remotest chance of success. It would be the most blinkered of commentators that failed to acknowledge the possibility, the likelihood indeed, that the voting patterns were more politically and ethnically motivated than anything else.
And we’re just as bad – it’s always 12 points to Ireland!
In which case, why does the UK bother to take part? But we do still cling on to the possibility that things might change, don’t we, in a triumph of hope over expectation?
I am also confused by the perceived opinion that some countries are desperate to avoid winning because of the expense of running the darn thing. If true, Spain and Greece in particular must be heaving great sighs of fiscal relief that Sweden has moved now into second place (behind the Irish) in the list of all time winners and has the burden of hosting the 2013 contest. But I have always believed that the costs were shared by all the participating countries and that the UK along with the original Eurovision partners bears the bulk of the cost, hence giving us guaranteed entry to the competition.
I am unable to find out whether this is still the case or how the whole circus is funded.
But if it is the case that we pay more than other countries (echoes of the EEC here?), maybe now is the time to save the likes of dear old Englebert from the humiliation of beating only Norway on the same night, ironically, as our football team achieved a similar victory by a whisker over that country.