Culture House Daily

Eurovision 2014: the booing of Russia was a disgrace

11 May 2014

11 May 2014

Yet again, the best Eurovision entries rose to the top on the night. Sweden, the Netherlands and Austria were the bookies’ favourites before the betting started, and no amount of ‘buddy voting’ upended that. What did disappoint me was the booing of the teenaged girls representing Russia. I felt desperately sorry for the Tolmachevy twins, who had a decent song and pulled off an impressive stage performance. I can’t remember the last time I heard a Eurovision audience boo anyone; during the Iraq war in 2003, no one booed Britain. We just came last with no votes from anyone. The acrimony should be in the voting: Poland didn’t have to say ‘nul points‘ to Russia, it just happened and everyone enjoyed it.

So what explains the viciousness? Even before Russia’s moves in Ukraine, Putin’s abridgement of gay rights won him fresh enemies in the West and made him a hate figure amongst LGBT audiences. And anyone watching Eurovision last night could see that there were — how to put it? — a lot of men in that audience who had forgotten to bring their wives. But to actually boo the 17-year-old Tolmachevy twins, and boo countries who gave then 10 or 12 points, was an unedifying spectacle. There’s a difference between the Russian government and the Russian people, and the girls were there to represent the latter. They didn’t deserve the obloquy. And the Danes were wrong to have made the booing so audible.

Eurovison was broadcast to the Chinese this year — what they’d have made of it I don’t know. Perhaps they’d have seen another side to Israel, who in giving 12 points to Austria reminded the world that there is an avant-garde side to the country normally known only for conflict. A side also shown to the world in when Dana International triumphed in Birmingham in 1998. They’ll have seen a continent where a drag queen can win the world’s biggest talent contest – but not because she’s a drag queen. Austria’s Conchita Wurst had a superb melody: close your eyes, and you would have heard the best vocal performance of the evening.

And Britain? There are those who say that Britain can never win because we are on a different cultural wavelength; that we would never have chosen a drag queen in a beard to win such a contest. But if so, why did we give Conchita Wurst the full 12 points*? And why did seven million of us tune in? We have one of the best music industries in the world — we could win every year if the BBC handled this properly. Their commissars picked Molly, then dropped her in front of the world’s biggest TV audience for any musical event even though she had no experience of performing under such circumstances.

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I’m not down on Molly, the song (which she wrote it herself) was our first half-decent entry for years. But the BBC can’t just pick a tune, then order people to like it. Molly’s entry peaked at a lowly no48 in the UK charts, most Brits had never heard it before last night – never mind the foreign audiences who decide these events. How can Britain field a song that Brits don’t really like? Austria, Sweden, the Netherlands all had laid on songs last night that went to no1 in their own domestic charts; songs chosen by audiences in television vote.

You win these competitions by laying on a pretty good stage performance, for a TV audience. As Austria knew, the stage performance is a clincher. That’s why Armenia went from bookies’ favourite to loser: as soon as Aram MP3 stood on stage it exposed the fact that he had no stage performance to go with his expensive video. As Camilla Long puts it in today’s Sunday Times, he looked like a recently-exhumed corpse. By no coincidence, Armenia’s entry – like Britain’s – is chose by a state broadcaster with no competition.

Compare Molly’s rather startled performance (“look what the BBC has made me wear!” her face seemed to say) with the assurance of Sweden’s Sanna Nielsen, who a veteran of six MelodyFestival TV finals where she had failed to qualify. Molly was not given the training that the candidates from almost all other countries had: her song was good, I thought it deserved to finish in the top half. But the people she was up against were, to borrow a phrase from The History Boys, thoroughbreds — groomed for this one particular race.

Graham Norton, by the way, was a great host. My only complaint is that he could have spoken more — there was so much to send up last night. The Danes were out of their depth, the jokes were awful – at times it looked like a bad episode of Borgen. The BBC present a Eurovision. But no bureaucracy can pick pop hits. Bureaucracies don’t know the nature or the location of talent.

Britain does have talent, world-beating talent, and the BBC ought to find some for 2015. And if it can’t, then had Eurovision over to a broadcaster who can.

* My colleague Mr Steerpike points out that the British public voted for Carry On Poland, but expert jury votes put it last. The Times has today devoted a page to this. But of 25 Eurovision entries, the British public (and the jury) also put Conchita Wurst in third place (results breakdown here) and the Netherlands in 2nd place (it finished second overall). So there was a good deal of harmony between the UK public voting and the overall finishing positions of Eurovision. As so often,  Eurovision’s voting system works far better than any run in Brussels for the EU.

Poland’s popularity in Britain will be in part explained by our large Polish population. Until the jury system, Germany never rated the Turkish entry highly – that changed under televoting, when there was a mechanism for Turkish immigrate in Germany to show support. It’s a fun story, but does not alter the fundamental point that Britain is plenty capable of producing a Eurovision winner if someone  like Simon Fuller would take over the selection process.


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Show comments
  • Luz Marina Galvis

    Fuck russian capitalist imperialism!!!! Fake lefties LOVE the killer of chechnyans!!!

  • Dave

    A bearded man dressed in drag won. He couldn’t even sing. This alone shows what a joke Eurovision is.

    • Sloppo

      It was a scenario which is completely normal in the European Union. The people got to vote, but their choices were over-ridden by the votes of “experts” nobody voted for.

  • Zool

    They should just rename it the Euro Political Vision contest & be done with it.

  • Bob339

    The song- the basis- on which it should have been judged was below average. This song won on the basis of celebrating perversion. Nothing else.

  • Duff

    Booing is common at Eurovision. Armenia was booed when announced as a qualifying act to the Grand Final in 2013. Russia was notably booed in the 2008 Final before Dima Bilan’s performance (interesting enough this was the year when Russia won). In 2010, Russia’s entry was also booed in both the Semi Final and Final. Additionally, booing as a reaction to neighbor voting has been more prevalent. The Russian song seemed suspicious and distasteful to me. The details of the song were kept a complete secret and the lyrical content is questionable- it could easily be interpreted with an ambiguous pro-Crimea annexation message: Living on the edge/ closer to the crime/ cross the line a step at a time. Do I think the twins should have been booed? No, but Russia was setting the Twins up to be booed all night long by sending them to the wolves of public opinion due to ongoing Russia-Ukraine relations.

  • Ernest Allen

    “There’s a difference between the Russian government and the Russian people…”

    Sure, and these Russian people LOVE their Russian government (aka, Putin) – 80 percent and climbing. The more places he invades, the more flag-waving, the more USSR anthem singing – all drives up the love.
    http://en.ria.ru/russia/20140326/188776004/Putins-Approval-Rating-Rises-to-80–Poll.html

    • Sloppo

      If invading other countries is what makes a political leader popular, US presidents should always enjoy more popular support of any other world leaders.

  • Thomas Tidswell

    Clearly, Fraser, the “expert judges” expected to vote as their paymaster demanded of them. More’s the joke that none of them think we don’t know that the game up is. So, “We’ve shown Putin what the World thinks of him” give or take your gratuitous belief that the so-called “experts” voted for a bearded lady. As I recall, at least by repute rather than memory (!), the bearded lady was a Victorian Fairground “grotesque” attraction -so no change there, then?
    It’s a bit grim when a Tory hack purports to attribute to paid up partisan fools the position of speaking for the World when they don’t even carry the support of the National Country they ignored.

  • Petronius

    Whats surprising is that in spite of official brainwashing and officially-sponsored ‘petititons’, Russians still gave Austria 8 points. In any case I am delighted with the booing as they need to understand how the civilised world feels about their leader’s aggression and authoritarian repression of dissent and the free media. I feel a bit sorry for the twins who gave a great performance but tonight there will be many Ukrainian children afraid Russian bombs might kill them or their parents.

  • DVA Vanderpoops

    Oh please! the booing of Russia was well deserved! Russia and Belarus had partitions trying to ban Conchita from the Eurovision songcontest!
    Putin has the support of more than 80% of the russian people. He banned gays from the Olympics.
    Nobody in the western world likes Russia or the way they think they can dictate everything! And the two girls were not booed after performing! Russia was booed when it was mentioned and really i think they should be banned instead like they did the gays!

    • la catholic state

      I love Russia actually.

      • DVA Vanderpoops

        quelle surprise

      • Ernest Allen

        Move there. Don’t forget to pack your red neckerchief and your jack boots.

  • Terry Song

    This year’s Eurovision was broadcasted to the Chinese but not Americans. Is this a sign that Europe prefers those locusts from the far east to the yanks?

  • edballsup

    Whether the booing was meant to be a statement about Ukraine or about gay rights is irrelevant, as – let’s face it – the vast majority of us couldn’t care less about either cause. What is shameful is that it was directed at two 17-year old girls who were just doing their best to represent their country in a singing competition. Anyone trying to justify this booing on whatever grounds should be ashamed of themselves.

  • Kennybhoy
  • nameitsmth

    Go die you stupid Brit-Cunt

    • Dave

      Choke on a dildo.

  • Des Demona

    ”Poland’s popularity in Britain will be in part explained by our large Polish population”
    But mostly explained by the big breasted blonde fondling the scrubbing brush handle – let’s be honest.

  • http://batman-news.com The Commentator

    Boo as much as you like, most of us love Russia and the Russians and we admire president Putin.

    • Petronius

      Hows the little red book coming along?

    • DVA Vanderpoops

      Putin is the most hated politician after Kim Jong-Il so good luck with that!

    • Kennybhoy

      Steady on there old chap!

    • Ernest Allen

      That’s what the rest of the world suspected.

      Lots of non-Germans loved Hitler too. Enjoy.

  • la catholic state

    Putin doesn’t hold Western values…..he holds Christian values. So strange and such a target for anti-Christians. God Bless Russia.

  • allymax bruce

    Fraser, Israel gave Austria 12 points because Israel were pissing themselves laughing.
    I thought Eurovision was supposed to be a song contest!

    • Marie Louise Noonan

      ;Fraser, Israel gave Austria 12 points because Israel were pissing themselves laughing.’

      Dana International?

  • David

    Russians need to understand that their government is turning them into a pariah state. I feel pity for the twins, but I feel much greater pity for Ukrainians, who are suffering much more.

    • John Galt

      Oh thanks. But we know that our government are damn idiots.

    • Petronius

      True but they relish the role of the pariah as in Soviet times when they were taught to hate the West and gays.

      • la catholic state

        They don’t hate the West as much as the West hates them. No hate please.

        • DVA Vanderpoops

          Well theres little to hate in the west! we dont discriminate or invade other countries with military as we please!

          • la catholic state

            You do. You hate people who are Christian. Hypocrites.

            • DVA Vanderpoops

              Oh please I am a christian most of the uk and scandinavia is christian! we have all different kind of religians thats why we dont discriminate they are all equal!

              • la catholic state

                Ok then….answer me this ‘good Christian’. …..was Jesus God made Man?

                • DVA Vanderpoops

                  We are all created in gods image! Christians Gays Jewish Muslims! Tolerance is something we all should try to spread!

                • la catholic state

                  So…..you didn’t answer my question. You are not a Christian…..so don’t ever call yourself one. And if I need a sermon….I will call on the Pope….not you.

                • DVA Vanderpoops

                  well I pay taxes to the christian church and I was christianed …

                • Kennybhoy

                  Jesus wept…

                  You are in my prayers you puir deluded wee man….

                • DVA Vanderpoops

                  I dont need your prayers you fool!

                • Kennybhoy

                  Sure you want to call on His Current Holiness? :-)

                • Kennybhoy

                  Not a Christian.

                • Rovex

                  No he was a man made god (in other words, fiction).

                • Dave

                  Nah, only atheist ideals are fictional. The universe did not come from nothing.

                • Rovex

                  No one ever said it did, yet another theist misconception.

              • Kennybhoy

                What age are you…?

            • Rovex

              We hate bad christians, unfortunately, most are.

          • Bill_der_Berg

            Invade other countries with military!

            Is there another way?

          • Kennybhoy

            Define “as we please”? lol

          • Cyril Sneer

            “we dont discriminate or invade other countries with military as we please!”

            Um… we do… again and again and again….

        • Ernest Allen

          Your very popular Russian populist Zhironovsky, the resident hate expert and general lousy human being, says it best :

          http://www.themoscowtimes.com/news/article/time-to-stop-zhirinovskys-hate-politics/215173.html

    • Irina

      Do you feel any pity for the ethnic Russians in the Ukraine who want their voices to be heard? And stop blaming Russia in all the problems in the Ukraine!

      • David

        I don’t blame Russia for all of Ukraine’s problems. I only blame it for invading Ukraine and sponsoring terrorism here.

  • Bonkim

    The whole thing is a farce.

  • Nellie Kredentser

    Eurovision has a biased vision. They judged politics, not art. It’s a disgrace to boo innocent young performers for the reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with their performance, The innocent girls were practically lynched by the mob and the judges contributed too. It is also disgusting to award the first place not for the greatest singing but just because it’s a bearded lady/man in drag, and it’s supposed to be politically correct thing to do.

    • Marie Louise Noonan

      The Eurovision is ‘art’? How does that work?

      I think Fraser’s having you all on here.

    • DVA Vanderpoops

      Lynched by a mob???? Were you there?

      Ohhh please I was there, and after their performance they werent booed!!!
      It was only when the points were given!

  • sde20

    I don’t agree with the booing normally, but Russia is persecuting innocent people.

    • Bonkim

      Standing up for what they believe in.

      • DVA Vanderpoops

        Boo the Russians all you want they banned gays from the olympics. Eurovision is basically the gay olympics and Russia should be banned!

        • Bill_der_Berg

          Gay athletes were not permitted to compete in the Olympics? Where did you get that idea?

  • OliviaJ

    The Russian people watching needed to know what the rest of Europe (and the world) think of Putin and his anti-gay laws and ESPECIALLY his disgusting actions in Ukraine. Obviously in Russia his propaganda and his media-monitoring tactics have the people (maybe not all but most) supporting him. Therefore, I think its FANTASTIC that Russia got booed, maybe it will open up the eyes of the people.

    • Bill_der_Berg

      Putin is more popular. than ever with the Russian people. They regard critics in the West as hypocrites.

      • Petronius

        They are fed a diet of state sponsored anti western pro Putin homophobic propaganda 24/7. Only 40% have the internet including 70% in Moscow and that is why there is more protests there.

        • Bill_der_Berg

          The propaganda fed to the western public may well be more subtle.

        • Bonkim

          Homos were imprisoned in Britain not that many decades back or sent for frontal lobotomy.

    • Bonkim

      Russians have their rights to consider Gays and bearded ladies sub-human aberrations.

      • Petronius

        Like Hitler and the Jews Bonkim?

      • DVA Vanderpoops

        So you are condoning Putins actions which are very similar to Hitlers?

        • Bonkim

          Look at what Bill_der_Berg has commented. Putin is no Hitler – he is a Russian nationalist and dislikes do-gooding US and EU meddling in his backyard – no different when the USSR got involved in Cuba and Latin America and the US/CIA agents sent their death squads. That is real-politics. EU and US Ambassadors edged the mob in Kiev – will hit back.

      • Kennybhoy

        Get a grip loon! :-(

    • Bill_der_Berg

      “The Russian people watching needed to know what the rest of Europe (and the world) think of Putin and his anti-gay laws”

      Who knows what the people of Africa, China, India, South America and the rest of the world think of Putin and his anti-gay laws? Do they give the matter any thought at all? If it comes to that, what do we know of majority opinion within Europe?

  • OrangeCountyCalifornia1

    The booing of the Russian twins was well deserved. Eighty percent of Russians approve of Vladimir Putin’s performance as president, so it’s only fair Russian citizens get booed when they step out of the safety of their country.

    • Bonkim

      With that sort of idiotic mindset – no wonder US is going downhill.

      • OrangeCountyCalifornia1

        So what has your country done that got your country noticed???

    • Baron

      After WW1, the winning powers blamed the Germans for the slaughter, imposed massive reparations, annexed a chunk of Germany … The German unwashed got unhappy, angry, resented it. The Austrian corporal appeared on the scene, fed on the resentment. In just twenty years, Europe was plunged in another, and an even bigger, slaughter again.

      After WW2, those doing the thinking didn’t blame the German (Japanese) unwashed, but the creed of Nazism (Shinto) for the atrocities, picked, hanged few top proponents of it, offered the hoi polloi the Marshall Plan, invited Germany to newly formed economic clubs … We’re still enjoying the benefits of this wise thinking.

      When communism in Russia imploded, what did the West do? It surrounded with military bases the post communist Russia even tighter that the communist Russia before. Not unlike his German counterpart after WW1, the Russian Ivan must have felt the same: unhappy, angry, resentful. Putin is just feeding on the resentment, and if we aren’t careful ….

      • Kennybhoy

        My response is in moderation Baron! :-)

      • Petronius

        Well after Ukraine everyone will want to join NATO to escape revanchist Russia’s tentacles

        • Bonkim

          NATO has lost its original mission and will collapse soon. It was supported by the US/Britain mainly and the lesser countries joining in will run away at the first smell of trouble. Doubt if the US or Britain will step into a full blown war with Russia or China to save say Latvia or Estonia.

      • OrangeCountyCalifornia1

        What you’re saying is that Putin, like North Korea’s Kim Jong-un, doesn’t have the mental facilities to be chief executive of a country.

    • DVA Vanderpoops

      I couldnt agree more- at least North Koreas people are under a dictatorship!

      Russia has no excuse!!!

    • pp22pp

      At least Putin is not trying to replace ethnic Russians with Third World over spill. Orange County is a slum these days.

  • David Firth

    Dana International won in Birmingham. The contest has never been held in Manchester.

    Also, the article’s insistence on a national competition as the best way to decide our act isn’t necessarily true: after all, the great British public picked all of the UK entrants that eventually came last in the ESC, including the infamous ‘nul points’ group Jemini. Internal selection has only been used for 4 years by the BBC and hasn’t produced worse results in the Contest; though, in fairness, it has hardly provided the UK with much better results either.

    What I do agree with you on, though, is the need for the British entry to be much more popular at home, as well as across Europe — it’s interesting to note that the four songs that have been selected by the BBC since 2011 have all had very poor results in the UK singles charts, compared to the chart results for songs (even some of the worst songs) that were selected by the British public in previous years.

    On a lighter note, I thought Molly was great — two particular problems I’d draw on would be our position as last in the running order but also, and much more importantly, the fact that (Eurovision superfans excluded) most of Europe only hears the British song in the grand final. Thus, by song 26, Europe had already heard most entries twice before getting to hear the British song for the first time. Because the UK do not perform in a semi final, there’s no way for us to pick up any traction or momentum, in the way that, for example, the Netherlands were able to do this year.

  • V.

    you are wrong – the Russian government is the representative of the Russian people – they elected them, they (mostly) support it, and there are relatively few people in Russia that do anything to stop it – if the world has no other way to make them understand that Nazi2 aren’t welcome, then that must be it

  • Arjan Roos

    About the selection of good songs and artists for the Eurovision song contest: this year’s song from the Netherlands actually wasn’t chosen by an audience / television vote, as this article claims. The Netherlands have had the last few decades very disappointing results with songs and artists selected by television contests, and decided a few years ago to just ask very well established artists to have a go at it. This turns out to be a great succes, with good results last year (Anouk song “birds”) and this year 2nd place for the Common Linnets. Artists are happy, because they get europe-wide exposure (and a once-in-a-life-time experience during the Eurovision circus) and the Dutch public is happy, because finally we enter the contest with songs and artists we can be proud of.

  • sullivano1981 .

    I agree with your point about Molly. The segment when they introduced all the acts at the beginning was like hunger games and the other contestants looked totally excited and ready whilst she looked uncomfortable for whatever reason. They need to put a star on stage next year and not a washed up one.

  • White Lightning

    So a drag act winning Eurovision is progressive and brave.

    We should enter a Les Dawson tribute act next year.

  • dado_trunking

    A hoo-ha about Russia? The booing stopped the moment it was clear the girls would get nowhere. All the talk yesterday was and is about Austria’s first win for decades.

    The ‘girl’ is a guy. Erm, hello? Eyelashes and eyeliner are for girls only? Has no one ever watched Bruce Willis in Die Hard III or any of those godawful reality Chelseas? A kilt is a knee-length garment, much shorter than what was on display last night. Yeppie ki jay motherf…..

  • Nedicus

    Yes, booing at teenage girls was unedifying, however Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine is bound to be bring negative reactions from former Eastern Bloc countries especially from the likes of Hungary and the former Czschoslovakia.

    • Bonkim

      Doubt if the Czechs were booing. They are too civilized for that sort of things

  • Aloysius

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but there’s a missing ‘N’ in in the final line of the article. “And if it can’t, then ha(n)d Eurovision over to a broadcaster who can”. How sad and pathetic of me to notice, let alone care!

  • transponder

    I still don’t understand what Eurovision is for. When ABBA was in it, about 100 years ago, it helped launch their fabulous international career. What has it done for anyone since then? Surely if you can succeed in it, you don’t really need it. Seems the same story with everything these days.

    • DVA Vanderpoops

      go to wikipedia- it was started in the UK after wartime to make a bond between european countries which had been in war for years.

      • transponder

        Interesting. So it’s outlived its purpose? Or fulfills it?

  • Aethelflaed

    I understand from another article on your site and one in the Independent that the British people did not vote for the ‘bearded woman’. Nor did many other Europeans. http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/news/eurovision-2014-voting-controversy-after-uk-jury-revealed-to-place-conchita-first–but-british-public-voted-for-donatan–cleo-9351644.html

    Apparently, the item says, the vote is split 50/50 between public and unaccountable panel. And, guess what, the public voted Poland top and the unaccountable panel? Voted for a ‘bearded woman’. Says it all about our corrupt, degenerate establishment – I’m just glad the public was more red -blooded, although it could have been an organized vote from our Polish visitors.

    And you wonder why Ukip is winning votes and members !!

    • monkey for sale

      Wrong. The UK awarded 12 points to the bearded lady.

      The problem with Poland is the Catholic church….. not just my opinion – a Polish MP : “He said this restrictiveness could be seen in many aspects of life in
      Poland, from the powerful influence of the Catholic Church to “crazy”
      penalties for offences such as smoking marijuana, which he said could be
      punished by six months in prison.

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-27015348

    • sde20

      Sorry the Polish entry was crap, really cheesy crap. Surely the girls were not doing it seriously but were doing it as a send up.

    • Kaine

      Actually both the judges and the popular vote put Austria third. The disalignment of other selections is what put them top after the two were added together.

    • DVA Vanderpoops

      LOL thats not true! all countries voted 50/50 to make sure musical talent isnt overlooked by popularity- and if you take a look at the uk pannel they are not the drag queen people( GAY) and the Polish song stunk!

  • Bill_der_Berg

    If all the countries that deserve to be booed were to be booed, then it would be time to cancel the singing and to organise the Euroboo contest.

  • JayneFoley

    Dana International won in Birmingham. totally agree that the booing of the Russian girls wasn’t good. As Ukraine and Russia each gave each other some points

    • andagain

      As Ukraine and Russia each gave each other some points

      Well, that speaks well of them both, in the current circumstances…

      • OliviaJ

        However if you watch previous years, Ukraine usually gives Russia 10 or 12 points. This year Ukraine only gave Russia 4 or something. Clearly Russia’s popularity in Ukraine has died down a fair bit this year! Which I couldn’t be happier about.

    • DVA Vanderpoops

      Russia and Belarus had partitions to banConchita from the contest! So please stop with your Dana International! Russia is a country violating human rights and we all know it!

      • JayneFoley

        I only mentioned Dana International winning in Birmingham to correct the original article which said it was Manchester !!! Maybe if you read the original article it would have stopped you being so aggressive in your reply to me. I agree with you on Russia

        • DVA Vanderpoops

          LOL my bad!

  • GentlemanPugilist

    It was an unpleasant and spiteful thing to do, but then given the audience that’s probably to be expected.

    I’m sure the Russians aren’t terribly upset they lost the competition, which is a bit of a joke really anyway. I mean it was won by a bearded lady, for heaven’s sake, anybody would think it was a circus act.

    • DVA Vanderpoops

      Oh please unpleasant and spiteful? In contrary to Russia violating several human rights and choosing Putin as President – probably the one of the worlds most hated political figures- up there with Kim Jong-Il!

      The really offensive thing is that Putin is backed by Russia!

      So spare me your “unpleasant and spiteful” remarks we are not in middleschool!

      • Bill_der_Berg

        Putin is one of the world’s most hated figures? I’m not so sure. As the NYT has reported –

        “The United States is the greatest threat to world peace. That’s the finding of an end-of-the- year, WIN/Gallup International survey of people in 65 countries.

        Of the 66,000 people polled, just under a quarter named Uncle Sam as the greatest threat to world peace.”

        • janswed

          Written from the sub basement of the Kremlin!

          • Bill_der_Berg

            And appearing in the New York Times? The plot thickens.

  • Paul Vickers

    The audience should have taken over the stage.
    All the broadcasting leadership would do is hold a series of discussions to decide what to do.

    In 2016.

  • edithgrove

    ” a lot of men in that audience who had forgotten to bring their wives.” – forget the euphemisms Fraser, it isn’t 1955. And why are you watching television, and this of all things, on a Saturday night?

    • transponder

      I enjoyed the euphemism, myself. Anyway, how does he know that they weren’t all there with their husbands?

      • rodger the dodger

        Me too. I also like ‘confirmed bachelor’, or the rather more robust ‘old whoopsy’ as my friend’s mum who used to clean Kenneth Williams’ flat used to call him…

        • transponder

          Did she really?! Neat. I loved his contribution, so amusing.

        • edithgrove

          with respect to your friend’s mum and Kenneth Williams, I don’t think ‘old whoopsy’ qualifies as a euphemism

      • Kennybhoy

        :-)

  • Donafugata

    Booing in an amateur contest is bad form but why the heck are there no less than four pieces on this the naffest of all TV events?

    • Kennybhoy

      “Booing in an amateur contest is bad form…”

      It’s the C21st alas. And of course they are Continentals!

  • e2toe4

    Apart from the self indulgence of booing a couple of girls in singing competition….

    “BY the way what DID you do in the Ukrainian Crisis?” –shifts gum in mouth, and spits it out..hard— ten mile stare…” Booed, sonny, really…really booed…hard…. them Russki girls.”

    …………. I don’t agree much else… I thought it was a good show, decent enough jokes (apart from NOT having a big tip up chair for the Norton bit of it instead of a confetti whirlwind….) and in some ways marked a kind of high water mark (hopefully) for would-be ironic humour..which has had a good run, but right now is too often the mark of conformity and acquiescence, rather than of the questioning rebellion of previous eras.

    Graham Norton’s problem was he was trying to send up something that the Danes themselves were sending up quite well…some lame jokes, but some good ones as well… and his usually effective radar led him to some comments that were either just a bit nasty….or wrong…or nasty and wrong…as when he started stereotyping small nations on the basis of his expectation of whether they would or would not vote for the eventual winner…and as to the argument we should send in our entertainment industry elite forces with orders to shock and awe next time….

    Oh!! I see you are just being ironic there…? My irony radar not working properly either….

  • monkey for sale

    But to actually boo the 17-year-old Tolmachevy twins, and boo countries
    who gave then 10 or 12 points, was an unedifying spectacle.

    No, Frazer Nelson the treatment of lesbian and gays in Russia is a disgrace.
    No one owns Eurovision, but bullies are not welcome in what should be an unapologetically fun event – even if they send young girls as their delegates.

    • sfin

      So you cannot see that the booing of two 17 year old girls who, as Fraser pointed out, were there representing their country, not their government – was intolerant, bigoted and bullying?

      A fascist, sir, is a fascist – whether LGBT or otherwise.

      • Kaine

        I’m pretty sure fascists do more than boo.

      • monkey for sale

        There is no country to represent. It’s not even a one party system, it’s a one person system.Nothing , but nothing happens without the say so of Putin.
        Putin is like the Iranian Ayatollah without the drag (or beard).

        The defenders of Putin and his regime are either stupid or fascistic.

        • Baron

          But, monkey, seven out of ten Russians like it that way. Or you would rather prefer the current Kiev lot appointed and backed by a woman named Nuland?

          • allymax bruce

            “But, monkey, ….”
            did you really think that parapraxis would sneak past this forum of intelligent minds?

      • Jambo25

        Yes. Russia is certainly taking on a Fascist tinge at present.

        • Baron

          Whatever tinge Russia is taking and why is arguable, Jumbo25. What is beyond dispute is that the majority of the Russians have never had it so good since the times of the 16th century Oprichnina.

          Whichever aspect of life one looks at – the standard of living, freedom to travel, to read, to associate … – the current state of affairs under the one who loves stripping to the waist is measurably better, (very far from the ideal though), than under the Bolsheviks’ Red Menace. In the conditions of Russia, a country that has not known an effective opposition for centuries, that’s progress.

          • Jambo25

            Given Russian history you’re not setting the bar very high. Putin did drag Russia back from the chaos of the Gorbachev and Yeltsin years. That truth, incidentally, is the one which Salmond is now being attacked for voicing. Putin did that, however, entirely on gas and oil prices. Most of the rest of the Russian economy is ‘tanking’. The Russian currency and bourse is pretty much in free fall.

            • Baron

              Jumbo25, regurgitating the MSM’s spiel can hardly add anything to the debate, you want to stick to the Hitler’s Sudetenland analogy it’s your right to stay ignorant and wrong.

              What you seem to be blissfully unaware of is that if Putin were to go we may get someone in the Kremlin who truly is ubernationalistic, xenophobic, bigoted, there are plenty of political movements that fit that description, the newly equipped Armed Services aren’t far behind either, and the masses would back it, and if they, the hoi polloi, were to have a say what should happen to homosexuals, Putin’s laws would seem like enlightened, God sent gift.

              • Kennybhoy

                Aye. Putin is very far from the worst option…

      • DVA Vanderpoops

        No not since the government has 80 percent of the peoples support and I imagine the girls had the same! So please- if you like Russia are going to try to have Conchita banned from the competition with partitions you get what you give!

        • sfin

          You fail to see the hypocrisy and the paradox of your argument.

          Another poster, on another thread put it very well – “the contest was a vehicle for people to display the size of their tolerance and hatred…”

          I do not support Russia and have always supported gay rights because I think that gay culture is about colour, fun, total non violence, and gay people are generally…oh I don’t know… nice people.

          If the gay lobby are now bent (no pun intended) on hijacking an international song contest and bullying two 17 year old girls (who for all you know may actively support your cause) in order to score political points. In other words, if the gay lobby are going to turn fascistic – then they are going to lose, at least this, heterosexual supporter.

          You’d have rubbed Putin’s nose in it far more if you’d have waved your rainbow flags whilst cheering those young girls to the rafters.

    • K BB

      They’re a couple of kids not the FSB!

    • DVA Vanderpoops

      And Russia also had partitions out trying to ban Conchita from participating! you can read it in the euroviviontimes!

    • pp22pp

      Treatment of gays is a lot worse in many places, but to say so would be waycist.

  • John_Page

    The booing at Russia was the voice of democracy. Don’t be so uptight.

    • Bill_der_Berg

      If so, it is an ugly voice.

      • Kaine

        Vox populi, vox dei.

        • Bill_der_Berg

          The voice of democracy? It was about as democratic as the EU.

          • Kaine

            So is your line that the booing wasn’t the voice of the people? Because that’s a different argument to your first quip?

            • Bill_der_Berg

              I have no reason to think that it was the voice of democracy.

              • Kaine

                I didn’t say it was. You appear to have me confused with John Page.

                • Bill_der_Berg

                  I was replying to your question “So is your line that the booing wasn’t the voice of the people?.

              • olican101

                Russia passes laws against LGBT people and invades another country. People speak out against it. How is that not democracy?

            • Baron

              It was the voice of the mob, Kaine.

              • Kaine

                It’s one of those irregular conjugations isn’t it?

                We are the people
                You are an interest group
                They are a mob.

          • olican101

            So, very? I mean, we all get to vote for representatives…

      • Jambo25

        Yep. A lot of people don’t like quasi-Fascist states, going through the old A Hitler Czech songbook to destabilise neighbouring states. How awful of them.

        • GentlemanPugilist

          Quasi-fascist as in setting up a gulag where people are detained indefinitely and are subject to torture? Guantanamo?

          What about states who’ve invaded countries under a false pretext and then installed a puppet government? Iraq?

          Or what about one that executes the mentally retarded? Oh and if one’s ever to talk about sham elections, how about George W. Bush’s inaugural election? His grandfather was a former vice-president, his father a former president, his cousin an executive at Fox News and his brother was governor of Florida. Incidentally Florida was the state which determined the outcome of the election, by less than 1,000 votes and with many (black) Democrat voters claiming to have been disenfranchised.

          http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-26079957

          The above is a link to the Nuland-Pyatt phone call in which the US ambassador to Ukraine (Pyatt) and the Assistant Secretary of State (Nuland) discuss who they want in the next Ukrainian government. Nuland and Pyatt are pictured grinning as they tour the protest camp in December, a couple of months before Yanukovych fled.

          • V.

            go about your “U.S.=axis of evil” stuff elsewhere, the country that’s threatening Europe now is Russia

            • jasonca

              Funny how Russia is so threatening, yet it’s all the Europeans countries surrounding Russia for years with a military alliance.

              • olican101

                Can you blame them? As soon as Ukraine overthrows their oppressive government, Russia uses their weakness to invade!

            • FrenchNewsonlin

              Err it was the Labour lightweight Catherine Ashton who thought she could outplay Putin at chess and ended up being totally ham-fisted. (… GentlemanP makes some valid points).

          • Jambo25

            So how long have you been a Nashibot?

            • Kennybhoy

              Nashibot? Is that out of the same stable as a Cybernat? :-)

              • Jambo25

                No. One exists (Nashibot). The other is a figment of Unionists’ warped imaginations.

                • Kennybhoy

                  Very sad. You are a constant source of dissapointment Maister J…

                • ItinerantView

                  The SNP are unionists,they just want to have a ‘seamless transition’ within an even more remote ,corrupt and unaccountable Union in Brussels.

                • Jambo25

                  Yes dear, as the EU is the source of ultimate evil.

                • ItinerantView

                  Build a straw man why don’t you.
                  I was quite clear,the SNP want to join another Union,while slagging off Unionism.
                  They are hypocrites of the highest order and have no answer, to this huge lie they are perpetrating on the Scottish people.
                  The say they will have full sovereignty in the EU but also miraculously share sovereignty.Meanwhile anyone who understands the treaties knows sovereignty and legal supremacy has been given away to Brussels and Strasbourg.
                  Typical EUphile 68ers,taking Europe towards a new dark ages and calling it progress.

                • Jambo25

                  Unutterable drivel.

                • ItinerantView

                  That’s the thing I can back up everything with evidence ,using SNP politicians quotes,all you have is insults-utterly pathetic.

                • Jambo25

                  What evidence. A series of hysterical and mindless prejudices aren’t evidence.

                • ItinerantView

                  Add to that straw man and you describe your own comments.
                  Please quote one incidence of either hysteria or mindless prejudice.
                  What is it, sore Hearts are relegated ?
                  I’m bored with the utter vacuousness of intolerant,bigoted Nats who think they have some kind of moral superiority, because anyone who disagrees with their convoluted ideology is a waycist.

                • Jambo25

                  I think people can look at postings like yours, above, and make their own minds up.

                • ItinerantView

                  Seems they have and again there’s reams of evidence to support that as well.
                  But here you prefer one liner denials without any evidence,quotes or even argument.
                  You had plenty to say about the ethno-nationalist roots of the SNP, what’s wrong,cat got your tongue ?.

                  Or are you just another Nat who has no idea what the EU actually is and calls it Europe ?

                • Jambo25

                  Once again. See my previous replies to you.

                • ItinerantView

                  Incidentally Jambo25,the comment about intolerant Nats who shout waycist, wasn’t directed at you personally.I haven’t seen you use that particular canard,though too many Nats do.
                  I am truly curious though, do you honestly think within the “ever closer union”, of the centralised, undemocratic EU, there can be independent nation-states in any way,shape or form ?

                • ItinerantView

                  There are decades of evidence.Reams and reams of treaties and declassified government documents.

                  I’ll start sending it to you if you want, although your cognitive dissonance is probably too entrenched.
                  Start with FCO30/1048 and work up to the convergence report cards the SNP send to the EU.
                  Then the ENP and Lisbon Treaty.
                  When you have a modicum of understanding of just what the EU project entails, come back and maybe we could actually debate without your immature prejudices.

                • Jambo25

                  Read my previous reply to you. It still applies.

                • ItinerantView

                  In your mind perhaps.

            • Kennybhoy

              Come on Jambo. Answer yer wee Cybernatic pal allymax? rotflmfao!

          • sequoiaqueneaux

            That’s a lot of deflecting from Russia’s shameful human rights record and disgusting actions in Ukraine. This has nothing to do with the US.

            • pp22pp

              It was the West who engineered the coup in Kiel.

          • Luz Marina Galvis

            Pugilist is the classic fake left conspiranoic moron: yes: we know what gringos have done…… In what way does that supports the imperialist policy of the perpetrator of the chechnyan genocide? No way. Keep trying.

        • allymax bruce

          If you want to see ‘live’ broadcast of ‘quasi-fascist’, then all you need to watch is Labour’s Neil Findlay, jumping up-&-down, in his disgraceful, ugly, hateful, cringing primal evil; it’s so vile & disgusting, even Radio 4 had a slot on it this morning, with Duncan Hamilton and David Steel. In-deed, Steel commented, saying Labour act in this vile & disgusting way because they can’t accept the peoples of Scotland doesn’t want them, Labour, in power; who would acting like Neil Findlay does!
          Watch it on Holyrood Questions every Thursday at Noon; you can see it anytime on BBC i-player.

          • Kennybhoy

            Oh brave new independent Scotia that has such creatures in it! :-)

            Baron! WTF are you doing voting up this utter loon? :-(

            • Baron

              good point, Kennybhoy, it may be unforgivable, but Baron has a weakness for eccentrics, and allymax fits the bill more than anyone.

        • Bill_der_Berg

          The booing probably had more to do with the gay rights controversy. Political activists aside, there is not much interest in foreign affairs among the public in the West. It may be just as well that they know little about the vile dictators who enjoy the support of our governments.

          As for the Ukraine, part of the problem is that the Russians are standing in the way of US/EU/NATO ambitions.

          • Jambo25

            Eurovision does certainly appear to be a ‘gayfest’ but I don’t think you have to be gay to dislike Putin’s Russia. As for Ukraine. I doubt that it would ever get near NATO membership. The idea that Obama wants to pick an argument with Russia over Ukraine is wholly ludicrous. As for the EU. If Ukraine wishes to join it should be free to do so. After all, it is a European state.

            • Bill_der_Berg

              You do not have to be gay to dislike Putin’s Russia but you have to feel pretty strongly about an issue to boo a Eurovision Act. I can’t see mere dislike of Russia doing the trick. Gay rights may..
              What the US wants is a Ukrainian government which is friendly to the West. (Please apply to Ms Nuland for more details about this).It does not matter how corrupt or tyrannical that government is. Western agencies have been sniffing round Ukraine for at least twenty years.
              Ukraine should be free to join the EU. Whether such a move would bring benefit to the Ukrainian people is a different matter. Greece is not thriving in the EU; neither is Spain or Portugal.

            • DVA Vanderpoops

              Its as much a human rights issue as a gay issue! and I am happy that a lot of people share that point of view!

            • Cyril Sneer

              “The idea that Obama wants to pick an argument with Russia over Ukraine is wholly ludicrous.”

              It is not, it is in fact very real.

              • Jambo25

                Only if those voices that only you hear are telling you the truth.

        • Kennybhoy

          Tell it tae yer man Salmond! lol

      • THEMIGHTYDOOVDE

        So standing up and making your voice heard for equality on a European stage is ugly? Nobody is disputing who those boo’s were really for.

        • Bill_der_Berg

          So let there be equality of booing. Let Greeks, Spaniards and Portuguese boo the German entry as a protest against austerity. Let Eurosceptics boo Belgium as a protest against van Rompuy. The more the merrier.

          • THEMIGHTYDOOVDE

            I understand where you’re coming from, but equality is something we can all relate to. Especially as Western Europeans. Im not whole heartedly supporting the booing, but I can understand why some would do it to make a statement. The whole situation is abit raw atm, so there will be those with good intentions making silly decisions.

      • olican101

        If acting against hate is ugly, I don’t want to know what you think is beautiful.

    • odiniznas

      >…The booing at Russia was the voice of democracy.
      I think it’s a voice of being brainwashed.

    • allymax bruce

      Rubbish; Fraser points out this competition was supposed to be about the peoples of the Nations, singing their songs; not a pre-ordained ‘buddy-vote-up’ EU (in)fest!
      Oh, and another thing, Fraser also mentions Israel, and Russia, and ‘gay rights’; homosexuality is legal in Russia, but it’s outlawed in Israel; go figure with the booing!

      • Kennybhoy

        Baron!

        Wot for you voting up Jew hating loon? :-((((((

      • olican101

        What? Its illegal to show homosexuality in public in Russia. Israel has yearly gay prides and even recognises gay marriages!

    • DVA Vanderpoops

      People didnt boo the two 17 year olds performance, they booed Russia, and yes the Russian people does have something to do with the russian government- so I dont get where you get the conclusion that they are two different entities!
      I also do think it was appropiate since Putin banned gays from the winter olympics and both Russia and Belarus tried to ban the winning act!
      So if you dont want to be tolerant why not just withdraw!

      • pp22pp

        Eastern Ukraine has always has a huge Russophone population, who look towards Russia. If they wish to join Russia, it’s their business. Homosexuality is not illegal in Russia, but it is illegal in much of Black Africa. If the Russian singers had been black in stead of blond, would those self righteous Scandinavian hypocrites have dared to boo them? Of course not!

        • Cyril Sneer

          “If the Russian singers had been black in stead of blond, would those
          self righteous Scandinavian hypocrites have dared to boo them? Of
          course not!”

          Bingo.

    • JohnathenFlick

      Democracy votes, fascism doesn’t allow it, Russia is one of the few left in favor of democracy it seems.

      • olican101

        Russia is very much fascist. Most people oppose the anti-LGBT laws

        • JohnathenFlick

          There are no Anti-LGBT laws in Russia, suggest you fact check, instead believing your Fox News and your CNN’s.

  • balance_and_reason

    Was that government backed training…give me a break….did Janis Joplin come off a training scheme?

    • Kaine

      I believe it was called, “Bullying and heroin”.

      • balance_and_reason

        Yeah but she was utterly awesome though…maybe we should prescribe for x-factor.

  • DonaldHBrown

    Molly was not given the training that the candidates from almost all other countries had: her song was good, I thought it deserved to finish in the top half. http://num.to/762443472739

    • balance_and_reason

      Interesting Donald, interesting. I’d like to settle in front of a good fire with a full pipe and a glass of finest auchtamuchty to really debate the ins and outs of that point though…..Noooooaaaaaauuut.

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