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Eurovision reminds us that Europe is not the EU

Fraser Myers

Fraser Myers
Deputy editor

Topics Culture

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The nation breathed a sigh of relief last weekend as the final thread of Project Fear unravelled: Britain did okay in its first post-Brexit Eurovision.

Conventional wisdom had it that Europe would take revenge on Britain for snubbing the EU project. But just like the threats that a Brexit vote – not even the exit itself – would cause World War III, make ISIS happy and plunge the UK into a severe economic depression, the even more terrifying prospect of Eurovision punishment never materialised.

Britain’s Lucie Jones came 15th in the competition – she has, naturally, blamed Brexit. But despite the dreariness of her performance, her showing was pretty respectable by Britain’s standards of late (we finished 24th in the previous two years). We might be a nation of musical heavyweights, with Ed Sheeran and Adele breaking hearts and topping charts across the globe, but when it comes to Eurovision we seem to have run out of barrels to scrape. Jones was an also-ran on the 2009 X Factor, where she finished in 8th place after losing a sing-off to Jedward. If she’s lucky, the Liberal Democrats will soon take up her doomed cause and demand a rerun of the vote.

It is true that most of Britain’s Eurovision votes last weekend came from countries less inclined to punish us – only our former colonies Ireland, Malta and Australia gave us any telephone votes. However, the low public vote for the UK more or less matched the indifference shown to the middle-of-the-road and insufficiently camp acts who have flown the flag for Britain over the last two decades. In the 21st century, the UK has yet to win, has received its first-ever nil points, and has come last on two occasions. This probably goes some way to explaining why a recent YouGov poll showed 56 per cent of Brits are in favour of a Eurovision Brexit.

The plus side of this year’s Eurovision was that it reminded us that Europe is not the EU. Not only in the geographic sense – Eurovision stretches way beyond the confines of the EU – but also in the sense that, as a festival of dazzling spectacle and trashy tunes, it’s the antithesis of the drab Eurocrats and Brussels pen-pushers who appropriate the greatness of ‘Europe’ for themselves.

Fraser Myers is a producer at WORLDbytes.

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