Tuesday, 27 May 2008


There is a serious point to this post. Honest. It isn't just an excuse to link to Lordi -

- who won the Eurovision contest in 2006. Much to the delight of a somewhat Goth stepdaughter.

Nor even to link to last year's Serbian winning entry (Molitva) -

- which was a perfectly respectable piece of music.

Though if doing either upsets some of the anglo-snobs, then it is a thing worth doing.

Each year, Wogan makes the same tired old points about "local voting". How countries with similar history and cultural background have a "surprising" tendency to vote for one another. This year - as the UK totted up yet another last place with a fairly mediocre entry - this was brought out yet again both as excuse and evidence of Johny Foreigner not playing fair. This year, too, a few more commentators have jumped on the bandwagon. Bruce Forsyth, for one.

You know: its true. There is some local voting. But rather less than our national apologists pretend.

Almost every vote was greeted by the sneermeister with a comment along the lines of "I could have told you that would happen".

Well, no, actually. There are plenty of countries in Central Europe - which means any one of them could have voted for half a dozen other countries and incurred the same barb, courtesy of Wogan.

Poland is in Eastern Europe. It borders Byelorussia, Ukraine, Lithuania. One might easily have predicted they would vote for Poland. Strangely, those three countries voted for a song that had something going for it. They voted for the Russian entry. Despite far stronger cultural ties to Poland, they did not send their votes westward. That result can't all be blamed on a desire for lower gas prices.

People not only like voting for neighbours. They like voting for songs they can understand.

The largest language bloc in Eurovision nowadays is the slavic one. Once upon a time, English was de rigueur for entrants. No more. Is it surprising if slavs vote for fellow slavs?

And is it not to be encouraged if old enemies, such as Bosnia and Serbia find the time to forget historic differences and support one another?

The performance of the BBC commentators was disgraceful. Far from uncovering some dread Euro-plot to do Britain down, they only highlight how out of touch the UK is with its nearest neighbours.

Azerbaijan did relatively well on Saturday. Wogan was incredulous. It was clear he didn't understand why. He said so several times.

Perhaps it is time to replace Wogan with a commentator who DOES understand Europe.

Perhaps, at a higher level, it is time we all stopped taking the piss, and attempted to understand our fellow Europeans.

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