I was obviously delighted to see Australia performing at this year’s Eurovision. In fact we nearly won – the wonderful Dami Im was leading the voting for most of the night.
What on earth was Aus doing anyway, performing at the Eurovision? Shome mishtake shurely? Well, no. Australia was invited to enter last year as a one off, to celebrate Eurovision’s mission of ‘building bridges across the world.’ And it went down so well that the committee invited us back a second time round.
But well done Ukraine for pipping everybody else to the post. And bad luck Britain, although to be fair I don’t think you Pommies were taking it very seriously this year, as usual.
Petra Mede and Mans Zelmerlow were the most glamourous hosts. “Once again, Europe is facing darker times, now we set aside any differences we have” they cried!
Well that’s it – Eurovision, the answer to the continent’s problems. Peace on Earth! The EU might be corrupt, anti democratic, and unpopular with Britain and others about to Brexit. Nato might be a cold war hangover, no longer relevant for today. And America might be about to vote for The Donald.
But what could be more 21 Century than a socking great singing competition to help solve our problems? A giant singalong to bring nations together with nations, healing divisions, through humankind’s love of a good tune?
Cultural diplomacy is as old as warfare. Why annihilate cities, maim the young, and starve civilians when you can deploy boy bands and orchestras? The yanks and the Russians were hard at it during the Cold War. Fanfare for the Common Man, anyone?
And what a good song the Ukrainians belted out this year. None of the usual tosh about onions, ghosts, or making your mind up. The Ukrainians tore up Eurovision protocol and sang a political song about Stalin’s monstrous genocide of Crimean Tartars. Some were saying it was a swipe at Russia under Putin. Maybe under Putin history is repeating itself?
As our world gets more complex, and as the opportunities for bust ups increase, we’re going to need to keep nation speaking unto nation. I must confess to being appalled at the low standard of modern day diplomacy. Of course there are many good ambassadors but I’ve spoken to so many of them who seem clueless about the world’s problems, let alone the country they’re in.
Sporting events are vitally important too. When you host the Olympics, for example, you are hosting every sporting nation on earth. It doesn’t matter if you’re North Korea, Iran, Cuba or France – everybody is equal on the playing field. That’s what it’s called the level playing field. And it’s the conversations on the sidelines that sometimes change the course of history.
So hats off to Eurovision for another great year. The world needs more cultural diplomacy not less. So let’s get behind it people.
In fact I’m even considering offering to represent my country, Monaco, next year. Monaco hasn’t won since 1971, and hasn’t entered since 2006. So email me your song recommendations.