Anyone else surprised by this?

770px-Eurovision_Song_Contest_logo.svgObviously a slow news day* over at The Independent (I’ve already spotted two other non-stories this morning, about Jeremy Clarkson standing for parliament and Rudolph Hess’ secret war files):

It is renowned for having one of the most tortuous electoral systems known to voters. Now the Eurovision song contest is itself in danger of receiving nul points after allegations of vote-fixing and bribery.

Officials from the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), which organises the annual event, confirmed yesterday that it was investigating claims that jury members were offered bribes to vote.

The accusations were made in Swedish press reports, which cited an anonymous delegation member involved in this year’s contest held in Malmo, Sweden. According to the source, attempts were made by several delegates to fix votes. Azerbaijan, the source claims, tried to buy high scores from jury members with “enough money to live off for a year”.

The last few years have shown an increase in what can only be described as random voting. Sure, neighbours are still voting for each other (hello, Greece and Cyprus!), but some of the newer entrants have done surprisingly well, despite having rubbish acts. Paying Lithuanian students to vote for Azerbaijan? Nothing would shock me at this stage.

And all over a song contest… *shakes head wearily and tuts*

Mind you, on a slightly more serious note: just like the Olympics and World Cup, the Eurovision counts disgusting dictatorships among its participants.

Doesn’t anyone else find it ironic that countries like Russia and Belarus desperately want to win what is to gays a combination of Christmas and all our birthdays come at once? Azerbaijan itself isn’t exactly a beacon of tolerance.

Denmark won in 2013, but one of these less salubrious members could take the crown in 2014. And then where would we be? Don’t think I’d be hot-footing it to Russia to celebrate Eurovision 2015.

On the other hand, I suppose that hosting it is dependant on winning it.

Unlike the Olympics and World Cup, where recent events have shown it’s money and more money every time.

*cough* Russia *cough*

*cough* Quatar *cough*

Which behoves democracies to actually enter songs with a chance of winning.

*cough* Bonnie Tyler *cough*

Or…we hope one of these homophobic countries wins and we collectively shame them into doing something about their homophobia and use the Eurovision Song Contest to effect societal change.

Which is a sentence I never thought I’d either read or type.

Oof. Time for more coffee, I think.

 

(*Obviously a relative term, as I was all over this story as soon as I saw the word “Eurovision”)

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