We are going through one of those horrible and debilitating periods in our history when we are convinced that everybody hates us. Racked with grief, we may even begin to hate ourselves – and thus climb into bed at night praying that we might wake up as Turks. Or Irishmen.
It is partly the Eurovision Song Contest. For years we have foisted jaunty, sub-American pop pap on our European neighbours and watched as they lapped it all up, imitated it and vomited it back across the North Sea with Scandinavian or German accents. The more inane our pop exports, the more the Europeans loved them; hence that memorable high-water mark of ‘Making Your Mind Up’, by Bucks Fizz: a Song Contest winner, a Continental number one, and possibly the most stupid song ever written.
But now, it seems, they’ve had enough. Our pop group Jemini – just as devoid of talent as Bucks Fizz or Paper Lace – was shunned by every voter from Ankara to Zagreb and scored a famous nul points. Newspaper editorials argued that this debacle occurred because the song was crap. That is as maybe, but it ignores the fact that every previous entry from the UK has been ‘crap’, too, yet still garnered enough points to finish in the top five. The truth is that voting in the Song Contest always reflects national affiliations and enmities, which is why the Irish – those cheerful underdogs who have been the victims of reluntluss upprussion by the Bruddish – always do well, the Greeks always give the Cypriots 12 points, and why, this year, we finished last. Ergo, it is argued, they hate us.
It is partly true. My guess is that if we hadn’t invaded Iraq we’d have finished in the top 12, at least – something Blair didn’t think about, clearly.