Thursday 27 November 2014

Lessons from Eurovision's failure

Published 23/11/2008 | 00:00

AS part of the service, I can save you a bit of time on various issues which are debated at horrendous length elsewhere.

Lisbon, for example.

Lisbon will be passed. That 15 minutes you spent watching Lisbon being discussed on Tonight With Vincent Browne is 15 minutes you'll never get back, but at least now you know the answer.

We just don't have the time for that malarkey any more. On Lisbon, we have had our fun.

And no, it won't make any difference if it's explained to us a bit better, if a trained professional calls around to every house in the country to talk us through it. We definitely don't have time for that.

It'll be a Yes, and a big Yes, so that's sorted.

But I watched Libertas supremo Declan Ganley anyway, being interviewed by Aine Lawlor on One To One -- again, it's part of the service. I do it, so you don't have to.

And I have to tell you, this guy is good.

Aine was looking over the top of her glasses at him, utterly determined to put a halt to his gallop, and still he kept on coming.

He maintained that he is actually the most committed European of them all, he just wants the EU to be properly run -- he sounded a bit like those questioning Catholics who only want to make an already great institution even better, if that is possible.

Ah, but there was one massive hole in his argument. Aine Lawlor didn't see it, but I saw it -- and you will see it too -- when Ganley starting talking about the need for more "democracy", which to him essentially means that everyone in Europe gets to vote on things that only the likes of Charlie McCreevy can vote on at present.

Lawlor argued that this would reduce Ireland's influence, due to our small population, but there was a far, far better argument than that, one which we can all understand.

This idea of everyone in Europe having a vote on who gets the big prizes has been tried already, in a European context. And it has failed abysmally.

I refer, of course to the Eurovision Song Contest, which has effectively been destroyed by too much "democracy". When we had a jury system -- the equivalent perhaps of the European Parliament -- barring a few predictable outrages, it worked very well for about 40 years.

Now, we the people are making the calls, and it has degenerated into a farrago of bad judgement and crass conspiracy and crude nationalism. Which is not what a devoted European like Declan Ganley would want, I'm sure.

* * * * *

ANYWAY, we don't have the time for it, for reasons which were rammed home in Crunch Time: How Safe Is Your Job?, presented by Karen Coleman on TV3. Which was the follow-up to Crunch Time: The Great Property Crash.

TV3 has rightly figured that "current affairs" has a whole new immediacy when the world is falling apart.

In an ideal world, we'd be happily allowing ourselves little luxuries, like watching documentaries about the fattest people in America, or voting No to Lisbon for a laugh. But we are putting aside these foolish things, because now it's all about Crunch Time, and Tonight With Vincent Browne.

Even that obligatory annual run of I'm A Celebrity... seems somehow irrelevant, the eating of live maggots in the jungle a mere hors d'oeuvre to prepare us for the grotesque main course prepared by chef Browne.

Car-crash TV has been overtaken by property-crash TV and Wall Street Crash TV.

SO life isn't fair, as we know.

For example, the broadcaster Gerry Anderson was on the first episode of The Panel, telling a few funny stories about the showbands from his book Heads, and at no point did anyone on the Panel point out that this is actually a superb book -- and there aren't many of them around these days.

It is also extraordinarily funny, yet a panel full of funny people failed to acknowledge this, so it seems that none of them read it.

Which is not a crime, it's just a waste of another man's time. And we don't have time for that either.

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