Daily Express



AS THE date for the crucial vote gets ever nearer, the debate has grown in intensity, pitting former allies against one another as they find themselves on opposite side on the great question facing the nation: Should Britain remain in the Eurovision Song Contest or should we leave?

Those campaignin­g to leave say that the contest has lost touch with its original objectives. When it was formed in the 1950s, it was seen as a simple competitio­n to determine which of the European nations could come up with the best song. It soon deteriorat­ed into a camp song-fest, dominated by the selfish interests of national groupings and political factions and leading to increasing­ly bizarre acts. Even the Prime Minister, who has been a fervent supporter of remaining in the contest, has been reported to have informed the Queen that Russia and the Ukraine are, “a couple of big cheats who always vote for each other.”

Indeed, objective analysis confirms a strong political and regional bias in the votes. As an extreme example, it was evident that in the year following the introducti­on of the single European currency, the UK, which refused to join the euro, did not receive a single vote from any country in the eurozone.

Such incidents have been blamed for the fact that the UK has not won the Eurovision contest since 1997 and is looking unlikely ever to do so again. Indeed, since the turn of the millennium, we have finished in last place three times, receiving no points at all (nul points) in 2003.

The former Mayor of London has made it clear that after much soulsearch­ing, and indeed country-and-western-searching and rhythm-and-blues-searching, he finds the evidence clear that it would be greatly to the benefit of British songs if we left “this squalid competitio­n”. In a recent speech on the subject, he said that Britain can find other song contests around the world to compete in and demonstrat­e to the world that we do not need Eurovision.

When asked for an example of such a contest, he mentioned the highly esteemed Song Contests in Wartburg and Nuremberg referred to in Richard Wagner’s operas Tannhãuser and Die Meistersin­ger. He then broke into a hearty rendition of “Morgenlich leuchtend im rosigen Schein” (the rosy glow of the morning light) from Die Meistersin­ger before anyone could point out that the song contests he was referring to are thought to have been axed from the schedules some time in the Middle Ages.

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister insisted that the Eurovision Song Contest is the only thing that has kept Europe together for over half a century and leaving it would plunge the continent into musical mayhem.

After the former London mayor had quelled the applause for his song, he added that leaving the Song Contest would not mean that we had to leave Eurovision, so any suggestion that the vast majority of our TV programmes would be affected was purely a scare tactic, even if it does put up the price of French horns. The debate continues.

 ??  ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United Kingdom