7 March 2014

Is Eurovision the answer to the Russia/Ukraine crisis?

Over the last few days, Vladimir Putin has said a lot of things about the current situation there. But with World War Three Four seemingly on the horizon (well, surely World War Three was the Afghan War?), is there a solution from a place you wouldn't expect it?

In the 1976 Olympics, US and USSR athletes were spotted talking to each other. It's little things like this. But my solution is what my major event was designed for.

In 1956, the Eurovision Song Contest was set up to promote peace and unite a war-torn Europe. Surely the Eurovision Song Contest can return to its original values for a few weeks in April and May? It definitely can. This year, it's in the neutral country of Denmark. Because they won last year, if you have read the link before.

Where are we on this? Well, Ukraine have revealed its entry - have a listen here - whilst Russia are revealing theirs in the middle of March. My country, the United Kingdom, has revealed its entry - Molly with "Children Of The Universe". 

Why mention the UK, though? Why didn't I mention something like "Heartbeat" from Ireland? Well, there's two very good reasons for that: the Irish song is rubbish, and the lyrics of the UK entry have a part in this.

Don't believe me? Well, read this extract from the UK entry:
Power to the people, oh, ee ee
Power to the people, oh, oh-oh-oh 

(And no, I'm not advertising a certain mobile phone company. Honest.)

Will Ukraine act on the UK's song? Well, if they speak English, they will. That's what they want, isn't it? Some socialist propaganda according to popular opinion? In reality, it's more Thatcherite propaganda: socialism is the devolution of powers from the individual and to the state. Power from the people, more like.

If the Ukrainian entrant - whose name I can't spell - gets stuck in with the social aspect of the contest - and possibly achieves a good result with "Tick Tock" (which is very good!) then maybe tensions will diffuse? What will the countries give each other, though? Let's bear in mind it is a televote. People have the choice. (OK, 50% of the scores do come from professionals, but it's still a televote mostly, as televote has precedence in a tie-break.)

I don't think Ukraine will win the contest with "Tick Tock". Yes, it's solid, but not as good as the British and Romanian entries in my eyes. And Hungary have finally sent something decent, so should do well. So that may hinder things. But will homophobic Putin watch Eurovision, a telethon synonymous with the LGBT community? I hate to say it, but I think the answer will be no. The organisers of the contest in general, the EBU, and the organisers of this year's contest, DR, are using the slogan #JoinUs, which is a bit unwieldy. I hope Putin reads it - but how do you translate a hashtag into Russian? Anyone?

Of course, Ukraine could, at great expense (the fines are immense!) pull the plug on the contest altogether. The last time a country did that was Armenia in 2012, who were fined a lot of money. Circumstances aren't that bad - the contest was being held in Azerbaijan, which has been at war with Armenia since 1993 - and although both countries wanted Armenia there, Armenia pulled out after there was a shoot-out and a death in the conflict. 

Since Ukraine joined the contest in 2004, Russia have given them points in the final every year, with the exception of 2006. Even so, they don't tend to give them lots of points - mostly 1 or 2. Even in 2013, when Ukraine came third, Russia only awarded one point to the Ukraine, when most countries awarded lots more. So the Russian people will probably give nul points to Ukraine. 

But only time will tell if Eurovision solves this. 

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