Tonight I engaged in one of my more favoured sports – Eurovision predictions. For the benefit of those fortunate not to know what I am on about, tonight was the night of the Eurovision Song Contest, an annual event where the combined nations of Europe get together to demonstrate that national bias is not dead. The primary problem is that as a result of the fall of the Iron Curtain, there are so many nations in the Baltic and Balkan regions that it swamps the vote; as it headed east into the Trans-Caucusus, a third little group emerged out there as well...the result being that usually the voting coalescences over a country from the Baltic, usually Scandinavia, one from the Balkans (generally a former part of Yugoslavia, not always the case though) and a former part of the Soviet Union.
Don't get me wrong, I actually enjoy the show...but a knowledge of geography, Eastern European History and recent patterns of immigration allows a prediction of how the votes will go that rather removes any need to actually watch the songs. Take tonight – Denmark won over a narrow win from Azerbaijan and the Ukraine, with Greece hot on their heels. Because the South-Eastern vote failed to narrow down on one or two countries, Denmark blasted through to a victory. The problem with this is simple – the United Kingdom, France, Germany and so on had the temerity to not break up into a dozen different nations over the last couple of decades. Put bluntly, there are fewer people to vote for us.
I can't help but think that this illustrates a problem with the concept of a directly-elected European President. If you want to see how such an election would go...well, Eurovision probably provides the best idea. It isn't particularly promising. It's all in good fun, though, and at some point we will win again. Even if we have to break up into England, Scotland, Wales, Ulster, and Cornwall to have any sort of a chance. Sounds like a good reason to me!!!