The Wokingham Paper

TONY JOHNSON: EU collapse if you want to

px Eurovision    Netherlands
Duncan Laurence from the Netherlands on stage during the rehearsal for second semi-final of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 Picture: Martin Fjellanger, Eurovision Norway, EuroVisionary/wikimedia commons

The UK’s not for collapsing.

We’re made of sterner stuff with, just maybe, one or two politicians capable of ‘satespersonlike’ behaviour.


If ‘satespersonlike’ doesn’t look right, so think ‘statesmanlike’, but include any ‘paragones’ – Partnership, Age, Religion, Ability, Gender, Orientation, Nationality, Expecting, Sex – all the protected characteristics in the Equalities Act 2010).

But before considering any collapse of the EU which might happen, let’s look at the collapse of support for the UK which did happen.


Plumb last. Mind you, getting sixteen points was about 15 more than expected.

During the public vote, Icelandic BDSM band Hatari launched a visual protest with Palestinian flags appearing on screen for just 9 seconds.

The audience was quiet for 8 of them, before the booing and jeering started. The Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation‘s camera feed on the band was swiftly cut-off and announcer Bar Refaeli’s microphone was turned up to 11 to drown out the background noise. She couldn’t get to “France, the next country’s France” quickly enough.

But it turns out that the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel didn’t like the protest either having already condemned Hatari’s actions as “fig-leafing” as well as calling on all contestants to withdraw.

Even Mother, sorry Grandma, got in on the protest act with co-singer Quavo (the well known potato snack) with two of their dancers sporting Israeli and Palestininan flags.

Meanwhile, the organisers stated categorically that “the Eurovision Song Contest is a non-political event

And though Hatari’s protest was on screen for just nine seconds in a show that was well over 1,500 times longer, the fact that a ‘slightly more famous’ American woman endorsed it without warning takes this to another level.

And you think this competition isn’t political ?

Euro Viz-off-and-on

Down the years, the Eurovision has had its moments, starting back in 1956 when a group of seven got together (no, not ‘the’ G7, just ‘a’ G7). Voting was secret and led to a bit of a row so the rules got changed and you couldn’t vote for yourselves from then on.

Britain arrived late, only joining in 1957. It wasn’t unknown because the Beeb had provided much of the funding, staff, equipment and chairmanship to the organisers (the EBU).

Even so, the ‘57 UK contribution was brief at 1 minute 52 seconds, while the Italians went on for over five minutes, so the rules were changed again.

In 1958 Sweden joined, singing in ‘Sveee-dishhh’, so the UK promptly withdrew but kept the voting rights, only to return in 1959 when we came second, something we’ve repeated fourteen times since.

But if you look at the calamities surrounding this broadcast show, you couldn’t make them up – so we haven’t. Instead we’ve put a handy guide online for Europhiles, while the Europhobes’ version is rather shorter – read on if you enjoy schadenfreude.

Euro Fizz – On

Back in the ‘real Europe’ last week and the ECFR (who ?) had apparently conducted a survey in which their press release opened with “Many believe this may be one of the last times that they will be able to vote in European Parliament elections”.

You’d be completely forgiven for thinking that this statement, made by the European Council on Foreign Relations (see ?), came from an official body of the EU. It didn’t.

Their press release makes for chilling reading, following on with “a majority of voters fear the EU could collapse in the next 10 to 20 years” before declaring that “war between EU member states is a “realistic possibility” in the coming decade”. These opinions were surveyed from voters aged 18 to 34, as well as those with more experience.

When I raised this latter concern in a public forum during the Referendum in 2016, local MP Sir John Redwood airily dismissed it, saying words to the effect that ‘the UK won’t be declaring war on Luxembourg at any time in the near future’.

However the ECFR survey might just have rattled Jean Claude Juncker‘s cage in a way that no amount of Brexit negotiating has. He’s now reported as saying that the UK will get a deal before he retires from the EU later this year. Apparently he’s also denying any alcohol problems too.

Juncker must go. Much like the disgraced former Minister for Transport Ernest Marples finally did in 1975, years after the artfully cleaned graffiti on the M1 motorway bridge first said he should.

The Last Word

As for Thursday, when this article was originally published in The Wokingham Paper, it’s Euro-polling day – So you might want to stay home, do nothing, then complain later when you don’t like the outcome. After all, it’s your right innit?

Then again, you might wish to go and exercise your vote, voet* or veto, possibly putting a cross in all the boxes, also known as “none of the above”. After all, it’s your last chance to vote in one of these elections.


Then again, you might want to do something sensible and vote early. Vote often.

*Voet – much like a vote, but after you’ve drunk too much Moet. It comes just before vomit in the dictionary, which can be hard to clean up, doubly so if you then close the dictionary with a bang.

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