Politics is oft described as showbiz for ugly people. Setting aside the physical appearance of your local MP one can see how these comparisons are made. A rumour mill that can work itself into overdrive at the faintest of whisper of gossip. Staged PR stunts, backstabbing-a-plenty and careers that live and die by public popularity. There is, however, one particular aspect of showbiz that actually shares a number of parallels with the strange world of politics. As the British electorate go to the polls it’s time to have a little look at how basically the General Election is just Eurovision without the songs.
Get Your Message Out There
First all of both start with months of gruelling canvassing for votes. For once the politicians are at least fully truthful in what they’re doing here. We’ve all seen the shameless photo ops of Boris Johnson looking at sausages, Tom Watson pointing at construction projects or Tim Farron petting lambs at a city farm. These are nothing but desperate attempts to appeal to the electorate. We do the same with our Eurovision stars except on this occasion they’re referred to as preview events. There’s the same desire to appeal to the voters, there’s the same whisking from city to city and even the same weird photo ops. Last year we saw artists meet a cardboard cutout Queen in Amsterdam (courtesy of the Schlagerboys) and for the last two years we’ve also had tree planting in Israel. You could easily see wee Nicky Sturge getting her hands dirty planting a mighty oak and giving it the double defo’s.
Of course this year’s winner did precisely no promotional tour. Theresa May has taken this on board and done something similar, not showing up to the important preview events. If she wins with the same landslide ‘Amar Pelos Dois’ did it will likely illicit the same response as Salvador’s win…tears.
Local National Council Final
With the General Election happening even more infrequently than the Contest both have smaller competitions to keep everyone going whilst we wait for the big one. The Eurovision fandom are kept interested by national finals whereas leadership and councils elections can keep the politicos entertained in the down times. The Labour leadership elections seemingly go on forever, they have a very dedicated following and go the length and breadth of the country visiting many cities before finding a winner. Yes, it’s basically Melodifestivalen. Which I suppose technically means I’m saying that Jeremy Corbyn is Labour’s Robin Bengtsson. Although in reality he’s got more than a whiff of Owe Thörnqvist about him.
A Numbers Game
For one competition the vote seemingly goes on all night and the other…is the general election! (Yes, I’m aware how cheap that gag is. I’m not a proud man) A prolonged voting system is something that is synonymous with both. To be fair were the current number of countires to read out their votes in the old 1,2,3,4,5,6,8,10,12 way then we wouldn’t be far off being up until 5am to get the winner. Far be it from me to criticise Dimbleby et al and their presentations but rather than a panicked “and now we believe Stoke may be declaring” half way through their votes we could actually do a Eurovision style vote. Once they’re ready to declare Dimbleby calls on a spokesperson from that local council and we get their results. Just imagine…”Hello London, this is Nicola in Glasgow with the Glaswegian vote. David you’re looking beautiful this evening, thanks for an amazing show!”
The Rise & Rise of the Awkward Man
With so many numbers being flung around it’s key to have someone that can explain these votes, how they’ve been calculated and what they all mean. Step forward Jon Ola Curtice! Ok, so Jon Ola Sand and John Curtice don’t have the exact same roles but through their slightly awkward manner both have charmed their respective audiences to receive cult status. Both men even having Twitter accounts set up in their honour. It might even be a good idea to employ John Curtice next year to properly explain to everyone exactly how the voting system works. Or just before each constituency declares their result Jon Ola could be there to just about tell us the votes have been counted. “Yes…er…we have the…er….votes from Birmingham North. Er…David, over to you”
There are so many other connections when you dig down a little deeper. For weeks and months before and after the results Twitter will be ablaze with what I’ll call ‘heated debate’. I’m putting that very mildly. The election has the Monster Raving Loony Party, Eurovision has Sasha Bognibov. The General Election has a swingometer, Eurovision has the left hand side of the leaderboard. The General Election has tactical voting, Euroivsion has…well, where do you start!
And very much like Eurovision if you don’t vote you have no right to whinge about the winner. So go out today, vote and vote wisely. If you do vote…whinge away!