Eurovision Song Contest 2000 - Political Voting Anyone?
of the things I was constantly asked about during interviews I did
on radio and press, and with friends and colleagues was about the
so-called political voting.
Terry Wogan (right), the BBC-TV commentator was certainly aired about it, but is there really any evidence?
After all, most countries used televotes - does a steelworker in Cologne, or a housewife in Gothenburg think about politics when casting a vote?
First what defines
a political vote?
Well, it seems if you vote for a neighbouring country, it could be classed political.
But hang on, some countries have many neighbours. Lets take Denmark as an example. If it votes for Norway, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Germany, or conceivably Russia, the vote could be political. They are all Baltic. That's seven countries out of the 24. But Denmark gave its 12 points to Iceland; of course a Nordic nation - oh that's now eight countries that are political for Denmark. It's true that all their points down to 6 went to countries in this 'political' list, then 5 points to Ireland, but 33% of the countries taking part were defined as 'political' - could it avoid voting for them?
What about Sweden? Similar list of eight - I guess so. Well, they gave 8 points to Malta - must've been a mistake. Norway gave 6 to Ireland, another goof, and lets try the Balkans for another round of this nonsense.
Take Croatia. It borders on Austria & Romania, but has old ties with Macedonia, and if you're playing this game, Russia (but hang on, didn't Tito's Yugoslavia oppose Russia?). What did Croatia do in the 2000 votes? Well its true the 12 & 10 went to Russia & Macedonia, but 8 went to Malta, and 6 points to Estonia. Sure, 7 points went to Romania, but I think another analysis might help.
Didn't everyone say the Macedonian song was a bit like "Probudi Me" from Croatia's ENI in 1997? Didn't 'My Heart Goes Boom' sound like "Fangad av en Stormvind"? The truth is that countries nearby have similar styles in music. The Balkans have similar tastes - as do the Scandinavians. This leads to some legitimate bias in the voting.
The Xenophobic Brits really notice this, but few actually study European pop music. The UK doesn't border on anything for these people - Europe is across the water, and full of foreignors in this view. These are the people who laugh at the contest, and tune in only for the voting. But even the UK was guilty of 'political' voting - 10 points to Ireland - and Ireland? Well, Ireland gave no points to the UK - now that's what I call 'real' political voting!