Editorial – Seeing as this is my first post I thought I’d take it easy and talk about something close to home: The UK in the Eurovision. More specifically, the forgotten countries that seem to be left out of the contest. I just want to clarify before I get started that I am not a separatist and I’m not anti-English; I am, in fact, all for the British Union. I am not calling for complete Scottish independence, merely “Eurovision Independence”.
The UK is made up of Scotland, Northern Ireland, England and Wales and has 4 official languages, English, Welsh, Gàidhlig and Gaeilge. I want to ask, therefore, why no other language has been used to represent the UK in all of the 54 entries other than English? Of course, many will say that this is because it is the clear dominant language but if the UK entry is meant to represent 4 countries then why are the 3 Celtic countries of the UK not having their time to shine? In addition to this, of the 8 times the Eurovision was hosted by the UK it was only once hosted outside of England (Edinburgh 1972), which confirms England’s dominance.
I hate pointing the finger at the obvious but it seems that the UK’s success is being scuppered by the English dominance of our nation. As a language student, I’ve met many people from all over Europe and the general consensus is that there is a very strong feeling of intolerance towards the English in mainland Europe, whereas the opposite is often the case for the rest of the countries that make up Britain. The opinion on the continent is that the UK is the “51st state of America” and that we are simply riding their coat tails to try and become empowered. From a British point of view it also seems that the current Conservative government consider themselves better than the rest of the EU, which has become more and more apparent of late, with the recent Euro Zone crises. A brilliant example of how England views itself in the UK is made clear through Andy Murray, the Scottish tennis player; When Andy Murray is winning, the English will refer to him as British, but if he is losing, he’s Scottish, it’s that kind of arrogant attitude that encourage the disdain of the English.
The EBU has publicly discussed the issue before and said that the ball lies in the BBC’s court, saying that “At the end of the day, it is the BBC’s decision”, so the EBU would probably embrace the arrival of 4 independent new members. All three of the Celtic countries have several national broadcasters that are established enough to be able to take on the challenge of sending their own artist and make a valid effort at winning the world’s largest song contest.
In recent years, the UK’s effort in the Eurovision has been pathetic. Artists such as Jade Ewen (2009) and Blue (2011) were welcome and refreshing changes to what became the UK norm of sending a lacklustre act to make fun of the competition, rather than embrace the spectacle. Entries such as Scooch and Josh Dubovie were almost as embarrassing as my home nation’s inability to kick a football. However, a minority have been blaming our recent failures on Eastern European “block voting”, something with which I completely disagree. While it is true that political voting exists, it doesn’t to the extent the UK makes out. Put it this way: If the UK were to separate, the 4 of us would do the exact same thing, especially the Celtic countries (Particularly Northern Ireland and Scotland, I’d imagine) and you’d be kidding yourself if you suggested otherwise.
There are several disadvantages of the idea; the first one would be the loss of the “Big 5” status for the UK so we wouldn’t have our safety net anymore. Saying that, the “Big 5” issue is a separate debate in itself. Another is that if Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland were to win, they would probably struggle with hosting the contest. While the Celtics aren’t in as much of a crisis as England, we are three relatively small nations and, while the benefits of hosting the competition are clear, it would be a financial burden on our countries.
However, I strongly believe the advantages would outweigh the disadvantages; From a Scottish point of view (And similarly, I’m sure, for the other 3 countries) we would all benefit from each other’s votes, we share a music industry so we all know our own artists, which would greatly increase our chances of not walking away with the dreaded nul points. It would also mean that with 4 countries competing instead of 1, the contest grows even bigger and with the inevitability of the 4 of us trying to outdo each other, the quality of the music being entered would greatly increase.
It is the increased quality and increased sense of competition that the Eurovision thrives on, without it there would be no contest and it would have dwindled out decades ago. I really have to stress that I love being part of the UK and I’m proud to consider myself both Scottish and British. I merely think that we would all benefit from “Eurovision Independence”.
I really want to hear everyone’s thoughts on this subject and would really appreciate opinions. Let me know what you think!
ET: Our newest writer bobopickle has written his first article for the blog and we would like to welcome him to our team! Congratulations on a great first editorial!