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DAN WOOTTON: We'll never win Eurovision if BBC treats it with contempt

DAN WOOTTON: We’ll never win Eurovision while the sneering elite who run the BBC treat it – and their viewers – with contempt

The British spirit isn’t one of surrender. We give up because we think we might not win? Hell no!

That’s why, as a patriot and pop music lover, the BBC’s complete capitulation on Eurovision, which saw us receive nil points again on Saturday night with our worst entry ever, makes me sick.

The crisis-ridden Corporation’s contempt for Eurovision might seem like the least of its worries, coming hot on the heels of the full-blown scandal engulfing it thanks to the despicable cover-up over how Martin Bashir procured his Panorama interview with Princess Diana.

But it is indicative of a much larger problem for the Beeb which seems to have a disdain for Britain’s ordinary people and our values.

You know – the sneering metropolitan attitude that saw BBC Breakfast presenters Charlie Stayt and Naga Munchetty snigger and mock a government minister who dared to proudly fly the Union Jack.

James Newman from the UK with the song ‘Embers’ performs during the Grand Final of the 65th annual Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) at the Rotterdam Ahoy arena

Make no mistake, the BBC is entirely responsible for our Eurovision failure.

They gave up on the show years ago, embarrassed by its cheesy campness, pure pop madness and flag-waving patriotism.

As a result, the liberal elite who dominate the Beeb have decided to treat the competition as a joke.

But Eurovision is not a joke – national pride and a lot of money is at stake.

Successful Eurovision nations like Sweden produce high profile TV programmes to let the public choose its entry.

But in 2019 the BBC decided the British public no longer has a right to be involved in the decision.

It stitched up a deal with the record company BMG to choose the entry with BBC Studios.

At the time the BBC said BMG shares its ‘vision of selecting a song with broad international appeal and securing an artist who embodies the spirit and values of the Eurovision Song Contest’.

What a monumental disaster that turned out to be. They failed and the deal should be immediately scrapped.

Those so-called music geniuses picked a dud song called Embers by an unknown songwriter called James Newman that saw our national pride go up in smoke.

Maneskin from Italy with the song ‘Zitti E Buoni’ reacts after winning the Grand Final of the 65th annual Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) at the Rotterdam Ahoy arena

Even the biggest backers of the UK could never get behind the embarrassment of a song, which was competing against the strongest field of Eurovision entrants in recent years.

The UK, along with France, Germany, Spain and eventual winners Italy, get automatic entry into the final thanks to their status as Eurovision’s ‘big five’ funders.

Which is lucky, because there’s no way we would have made it through the semi-finals on our own merits this year.

In fact, over half of the countries voting decided Embers was one of the worst two songs on the night. And only loyal Malta came close to giving us a point, voting us as the 14th best entrant.

This is all pretty remarkable stuff given the new voting system was meant to avoid a situation where any country was left with zero points.

Having delivered disastrous flop after flop in recent years, our embattled national broadcaster needs to have more faith in the British music industry and public to select a brilliant entry.

As the international trade minister Liz Truss correctly said on LBC radio this morning: ‘I think there’s a fundamental problem with the way that we are choosing our performances and singers for the Eurovision Song Contest.

‘We need to have more competition to get the right entrant. They need to be more tested with the public.’

I acknowledge it’s going to be difficult for us to win because of Brexit and other regional bloc voting, but that’s why we must give the Europeans a song they simply can’t resist.

It’s happened before, you know, far more recently than you might think.

Just a decade ago in 2011 the famous boyband Blue agreed to be our entry and was voted the 11th best song on the night with the catchy I Can.

We did even better than that in 2009 after enlisting theatre legend Andrew Lloyd Webber to save us from Eurovision failure.

He selected a ballad by future Sugababes star Jade Ewan called It’s My Time, which came fifth, partly because he agreed to play the piano with her on the night.

Proof that on the rare occasion when the BBC has made a modicum of effort, we can save ourselves from humiliation.

Now I know there’ll be many who think I’m being po-faced by taking Eurovision so seriously.

Isn’t the whole point that it’s a joke and we’re meant to celebrate our failure? But that’s not a narrative I sign up to.

Eurovision is a camp spectacular full of novelty songs that you’ll never hear again, ridiculous costumes and eccentric Eurotrash performers.

But should we accept certain defeat by sending a no hoper like poor James Newman each year to be roundly humiliated? No way.

Speaking of plunging Eurovision into disrepute, this year’s idiotic winners Maneskin may have done that too.

Footage on the night showed boisterous lead singer Damiano David appearing to snort something up his nose just before the results were announced, although he has furiously insisted he was inspecting a broken glass.

The band all need to be drug tested, with the results released publicly to prove they haven’t broken the rules.

If Italy did end up stripped of the title, it would at least mean the UK wasn’t the only country dealing with the shame of Eurovision failure yet again.

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