To combat the rise of the insular nation state, we need to take Eurovision global

This troubled world needs to be brought together through the medium of pop

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The Independent Online

I'll tell you what we ought to do with the Eurovision Song Contest – and I mean those of us who loathe it as well as the wacky folk who love it. We should internationalise it – turn it into the World Cup of popular music.

Imagine, as one famous song writer once implored. Imagine a Saturday night’s viewing that really did "celebrate diversity", as the slogan for this year's effort goes. Imagine, if you will, the celebrated Alash Ensemble knocking out some proper Mongolian throat singing. I'd give them full points. They might be followed by some traditional folk songs played on the bwa poye, a type of banjo popular in St Lucia. And I couldn't wait to see some of Kim Jong-Un's patriotic favourites. The Pyongyang heats would have the testing job of choosing between, say, the stirring "Defend the Headquarters of Revolution" and "Where Are You, Dear General?" with the more playful "I Also Raise Chickens".

I think a troubled world needs to be brought together through the medium of pop, and how can we do that without the cultural superpower, America? If they could spare Madonna for an evening think what could achieve for global perceptions of Trump-era America. A foursome called “The Brotherhood of Man”, who may still be going, won for the UK in 1976 with a sweet number (Save Your Kisses for Me) and it would be heartening to see the Eurovision Song Contest embracing the spirit embodied in the name that group chose. Plus, Abba would be forced to re-form and compete every year for Sweden, because the world demand that we say "thank you for the music".

(Actually I've just checked, and what looks to be the original “Brotherhood of Man” are still performing and we will be playing the Seacroft Holiday Village, Hemsby next month. They've come a long way.)

After all, for reasons I'm not too clear about Australia, Armenia and Israel are allowed into a supposedly European affair, so why not go properly international?

Of course things could go ugly with a global Eurovision. A few years ago some academics proved that nations tend to vote with a political bias (I know, I'm as shocked as you are). This was always obvious to me sitting at home and seeing how it was that two crap entries from Cyprus and Greece that none else gave many points to always got mutually maximum scores from the Athens and Nicosia juries. I don't think that, to this day, Greece and Turkey have ever exchanged a single point, and of course this year the host, Ukraine, banned Russia’s contestant for entering the Crimea after it was annexed.  

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In some circumstances a GloboVision Song Contest might exacerbate international tensions. If say an American panel or public vote gave a disappointingly low rating to the aforementioned North Korean entry “Where Are You, Dear General?” then might Kim Jong-Un react by setting off another ballistic missile into the Sea of Japan? I think that's the last thing any of us would like to hear about at the climax on a Saturday night in with the Doritos, prosecco and some mates round for the annual festival of Eurovision supercamp.

You hear a lot about fake news these days and I am not sure I believe that an opinion poll showing that the British are so Europhobic these days that they'd vote to leave the Eurovision Song Contest, though even Theresa May admits we might not get many votes this year (that statement, of course, assumes that we are usually flushed with votes from our European counterparts in the competition, which we all know is farcical). Like the EU, which Eurovision has nowt to do with, maybe the answer is indeed to make it look outwards and be less protectionist and insular. We need to open our borders and our ears to every continent and every nation. Musique sans frontieres, please. 

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