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Ukip and the vicious politics of Eurovision

10 May 2014

8:15 PM

10 May 2014

8:15 PM

The Eurovision song contest has just started – seven million of us will tune in, at least 30 million Eurovision-related drinks will be consumed and the voting will be deliciously political as always.  (Poland has entered again, perhaps just for the joy of being able to vote on Russia). But there’s plenty domestic politics too. Ukip’s Nigel Farage claims that Britain is doomed tonight because of discrimination against us. He obviously doesn’t follow the contest very closely – if he did, he’s struggle to name a single entry submitted by the BBC in the last few years that deserved to qualify for the final, far less win it. Nowhere in recent academic literature (and there’s plenty of it) will he find any suggestion of an anti-British bias (Victor Ginsburgh’s study of results since 1956 is pretty definitive).

In the Culture House/YouGov poll, we asked its 1,860 people: ‘Do you think Britain should or should not continue to compete in the Eurovision Song Contest?’ and it showed a clear breakdown on party political lines. The Liberal Democrats are the most enthusiastic for Eurovision, wanting to stay in by 54-27 – so a 27-point lead. With Labour, it’s a 14-point lead and Tories by a four-point margin. But UKIP voters are the real party poopers:  they want out, by a 27-point margin. The votes are below.

Britain makes music for the world: we’re a massive exporter of both music and television. We should triumph in the world’s most-watched cultural event. The last time we did try – in 1997 – Britain scored the greatest victory in Eurovision’s history. Molly Smitten-Downes — a singer-songwriter with a half-decent tune – is one of our better entries for some time. We’ll see in a few hours.

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