Let’s get this straight. Some former Labour voters are backing the Tories because they think we need a strong and stable leader, while some Tories are switching to the Liberal Democrats because they want to oppose Brexit, and some Liberal Democrats are switching to Labour because they want radicalism, while some former UKIP voters are going back to Labour because they think they’re the party that will deal with their Very Real Concerns, while others are going to the Tories because they’re now the party of Brexit. Meanwhile in some places Greens have stood down to help Labour and Liberal Democrats, while only Liberal Democrats have stood down to help Greens. Oh, and in one corner of Surrey, they’re all either standing down or not campaigning to try and unseat Jeremy Hunt. Does that cover it all? (Apart from voters in Scotland, of course, who have their own programmes of voting behaviour)
In short, it seems we are going back to either the 70s or early 80s, and are merely awaiting the giant ghostly head of Mike Read to descend from the skies and tell us to ‘runaround, now!’ and everyone’s questions will be answered. (Except those of who wonder just how to capture the way he says ‘now’ in conventional letters)
As ever, Saturday is a quiet day on the media front as everyone’s preparing themselves for the Sunday talk shows, and also because the imminent prospect of tonight’s Eurovision Song Contest is capturing attention. After all it has politics, international intrigue, a complex voting system and behaviour, explosions, dancing, exhortations to national pride, cultural diversity, and somewhere buried under all that, there’s a song. And just like British politics, despite years of people trying, no one has yet been able to build a model to predict and explain the result.
Two big differences this year: first the UK becomes the first country to enter the contest after deciding to leave the EU (and sorry Leavers, but the European Broadcasting Union predates and is separate from the EU) and this year, it’s taking place during the general election campaign rather than being part of the post-election comedown party circuit for politicos. It’s not the first time this has happened, but previous times when they have occurred at the same time don’t give us much to go on in terms of patterns. Here, as best as I can tell, are the three times it has happened (I’ve assumed the general election campaign runs for about a month before the date of the election itself):
2001: Hosted in Sweden, won by Estonia (Tanel & Dave with 2XL — ‘Everybody’), UK placed 15th (Lindsay Dracass — ‘No Dream Impossible’) 1987: Hosted in Belgium, won by Ireland (Johnny Logan — ‘Hold Me Now’), UK placed 13th (Rikki — ‘Only The Light’)
1966: Hosted in Luxembourg, won by Austria (Udo Jürgens — ‘Merci, Chérie’), UK placed 9th (Kenneth McKellar — ‘A Man Without Love)
I see two patterns in this data for election campaign Eurovisions: the UK has a rather middling performance and the winner is a first of some sort. Austria and Estonia had their first wins, and Johnny Logan was the first (and still only) singer to win the contest twice. Not that there’s much data to make that prediction on, of course.
If you think you can make better predictions on obscure election-related topics, then don’t forget my election prediction competition will be running until polls close.
Finally, it’s time for today’s Election Leaflet Of The Day, which today appears to be a response to my plea yesterday to tie together UKIP and the Tories into their own coalition of chaos. It’s from the Liberal Democrats and delivered in Portsmouth South but appears to be a part of the national campaign as there’s no mention of a candidate’s name on there (Gerald Vernon-Jackson is the candidate there). It’s a start at setting out a message, but how much is it going to be repeated?
Right, I’m off to find out what the odds are on Johnny Logan becoming Prime Minister. See you tomorrow, when we’ll be at the halfway point!
Originally published at www.nickbarlow.com on May 13, 2017.