Susan Morrison: Peace in our time, thanks to Eurovision
Sweden was robbed. I speak with authority in this matter. For the first time in decades, I watched the Eurovision Song Contest.
I’m old enough to remember when we used to win it. Or at the very least, manage to get into the top five.
Now we’re just relieved to avoid the dread Nul Points, especially from those pesky French, who think they’re Euro top dogs because they’ve just elected the lead singer from a boyband to be their president.
Our entry was Lucie Jones, who gave it laldy with a set of pipes fit to rattle glasses in Moldova. I can safely say she would be allowed to sing in our house on Hogmanay. No Scot can give higher praise.
Speaking of Moldova, suddenly Eurovision is populated by nations I’ve never heard of, and Australia. Once it was just basically us and the French, locked in ferocious musical warfare, which always struck me as a better way of resolving international differences than tanks and guns.
What can’t be solved by a cutesy boyband in harmony facing down a sylph-like maiden with a power ballad about her dodgy love life? Throw in a mixed gender quartet whipping off their skirts at the last verse and you’ve got the UN Security Council out of a job.
As is often the way in history, when what used to be known as The Great Powers started hammering nine bells out of each other, smaller nations often took advantage.
Luxembourg was truly nifty at swinging in and hoovering up the votes to scoop victory. They did it no fewer than five times. One sensational win was here in Edinburgh in 1972 when Vicky Leandros seized the crown with Après Toi, a thunderous performance that rattled the Usher Hall to its foundations.
The hall needed extensive repairs a few years later. I’m not saying the two events are related, but all I’m saying is that Luxembourg might owe us a roof.
The voting seems a bit baffling, but hey, I’ve just gone through local council elections in Scotland, so it was a walk in the park for me.
Portugal was the surprise winner. I say surprise. What I mean is, I hated it. Everyone did. Well, all my pals did, at any rate. Could there be jiggery-pokery here?
Could this be the sticky fingers of a rogue Russian electro-funk combo throwing a hissy fit because they got deprived of their chance to crush Europe with their disco-beat power ballad? Did they fiddle with the voting system? As if Putin’s boys would do such a thing.
There’s a lesson for Britain here
Acts used to bounce on, sing their song, then go off to look worried as votes came in. Except us, of course.
The nation that gave the world the Beatles, Tom Jones and Dusty Springfield could afford to relax. We were blind to the danger of the up-and-coming small nations on a mission.
We rested on our cool 60s laurels while places like Azerbaijan and Israel probably set up secret training camps to coach new generations of vocalisers.
Panicked, we pulled out old warhorses like Bonnie Tyler, above, and Engelbert Humperdinck. The new kids on the block crushed us.
It’s the story of our manufacturing industry downfall right there.
No drug tests? That would explain it
The Republic of Ireland won so often it was widely rumoured that they threw the last one to avoid coughing up for yet another televised event. Having re-engaged with the Eurovison glitterfest, I see their point.
We used to have Katie Boyle in a tasteful frock. She would carefully enunciate the voting rules in three languages.
She managed to be equally patronising in all of them by employing tones reminiscent of a BBC announcer giving the Resistance messages in 1941. I think it was to remind people we won the war. A quick tune, then on with the show.
The whole thing was like a Butlins talent contest, with roughly the same production values.
Not now, amigo. We’ve got flames, lasers, 3D special effects and men in gorilla suits. You could build a half-decent welfare state for that amount of money.
Incidentally, unlike the Olympics or the World Cup, those other great contests of national pride, there is no drugs testing for participants.
This could explain the gorilla suit and the man up a ladder wearing a horse’s head.
I aimed for the Sky - but missed
Week four, general election campaign. Still no sign of a pollster to collect my valued opinion on Theresa May’s move.
There was a tense moment at a meeting with the Scottish Government when a friend messaged me to say that Sky TV had been spotted round my gaff.
Cue spitting out of official custard creams and lunge for the exit, only to find they had already spoken to the lady who likes to look in the bins and sing show tunes from the 50s.
Probably made as much sense as me, to be fair.