Eurovision, and related issues

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It is a Sunday morning for connected, but apparently diverse, thoughts.

First, Eurovision. I watched it right through for the first time in many years. The politics of it demanded that I did so. And my hunch was more than rewarded. The UK getting no points was the clearest signal to the UK that Europe could deliver. And let’s not pretend it was the song. That was bland, inoffensive and worthy of a position around 15th, I suspect. There were many worse (what was Germany thinking?) But we are now seen as pariahs, and rightly so. No one was going to vote for us.

So much for the much-vaunted political soft power arising from being outside EU membership then. And so much for a profoundly racist border policy now being seen. The English need to get used to being treated with the deserved hostility such things provoke.

Second, there is Cummings, who has confirmed there was a herd immunity policy on Covid last March and September. That should be no great surprise. It was apparent from what Johnson and his adviser team said in March 2020. It was very apparent from actions last September after Sunak’s recklessly irresponsible introduction of the Great Barrington Declaration team into Downing Street at that time.

Johnson was happy to let people die. I have no liking for Cummings but I am looking forward to more from him. He has the evidence to prove the lies.

And third, data on the effectiveness against the India variant of the two vaccines now in use in the UK was issued during Eurovision last night. The timing could not have been more cynical. Saturday night is not the moment for such releases. This was news manipulation par excellence. The reason is obvious: the news on Astra Zeneca is pretty grim. It is only 60% effective against the Indian variant whereas Pfizer is 88% so, and most of us have AZ. Sure, it’s better than nothing, but that’s very bad news. My optimism about a third wave being prevented has not increased.

Add all this together and what do you get? According to one opinion poll this morning the answer is the Tories at 46%, which seems strangely at odds with recent actual poll results. But I would suggest something else. And that is that what we have is something waiting to go wrong.

Brexit is a disaster. Covid is just disguising just how bad things are as yet. That will not last.

The government’s Covid management was dire. That message is muted by vaccine euphoria right now. But that may well not last.

And a third wave is possible despite vaccines. I hope not, but I am not optimistic.

And if that happens would 46% popularity survive, or would the Johnson effect come crashing down? I think that the crash will happen.

Oh, and in all this there was some good news. The UK, as a far-right state, got nil points in Eurovision. You can be sure it only made the final because it is a large sponsor. Hungary and Poland, the EU’s most right wing states did not get to the final at all. Do I see that as coincidence? No, I don’t. The fascists will seek to spin this for their own nationalistic gains. But the truth is that the callous indifference of these governments towards humanity - including large parts of their own populations - is being noticed and Eurovision has always been deeply political. I suggest sense will prevail in the end. I just cannot predict how long and hard the journey to that endpoint might be.