Games: A politico-musicological explanation of everything

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The Independent Online
Britain's place in Europe is a matter of serious concern to us all, with the question of political and monetary integration perhaps the single most important issue of the present day. Yet last weekend showed just how serious it really is, and brought home the real issue facing us in dramatic fashion. The conclusion any thinking person can no longer avoid is clear: If we do not join the Single European Currency, we may never again win the Eurovision Song Contest.

Let us get one thing clear from the start: we had the best song. Every single nation, whether signed up for the euro or not, placed the British entry among its top 10. No other country can claim such a success.

But just look at the story told in Table 1, below: of the 25 entries to the contest, eight were among those that have signed up for membership of the single currency. Those eight awarded the UK an average of 5.0 points. The other 16 nations (excluding the UK, which could not vote for itself) awarded an average of 7.9 points. A huge discrepancy.

We see a similar pattern if we look at the scores awarded to Germany and Portugal, broken down according to euro membership or non-membership. Scores from the euro-nations work out at an average of 5.4 for Germany and 2.6 for Portugal, yet the non-euro countries awarded them averages of 2.3 and 1.2 respectively.

Table 2 (right), however, shows that the situation is not as simple as it might seem. The first column of figures gives the total number of points given to each euro-nation by their seven fellow single-currency partners; the second column gives the points they received from the 16 non-members. If we add up the totals, we see 159 points given by euro to euro and 336 points given by non-euro to euro, giving averages of 22.7 against 21.0 - an insignificant difference. Yet just look at the scores for Finland and Ireland, both scoring almost all their points from non-euro nations, despite having signed up for the euro themselves.

There are only two possible conclusions: either the euro countries were trying to disguise their evident bias by an agreement not to vote for Finland or Ireland, or they simply did not know that Finland and Ireland had joined.

But the scores given to Israel reveal the truth: the winning singer received 87 of her points from the eight euro countries and exactly the same number from the 16 non-euro. The conclusion is inescapable: the single currency nations all voted for Israel just to stop the UK winning.

The sooner we join the better.

Table 1: Votes for UK, by euro-currency status:

Average points given by euro-nations 5.0

Average by non-euro nations: 7.9

Table 2: Votes cast for euro-nations:

euro non-euro

France 0 3

Spain 7 14

Germany 38 36

Portugal 18 19

Netherlands 52 99

Belgium 44 79

Finland 0 22

Ireland 3 61