Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Glorious Isolation

Zoe Williams, at Comment is Free, is confused by our lack of friends that might support a bid for Eurovision victory:

"But still, two questions: first and most obviously, why have we got nobody to vote for us? Everybody goes on about eastern Europe and their bloc voting, but this is not some ex-communist curiosity that we in the hyper-individualised west will never understand. Everyone has chums: the Scandinavians vote for one another; Cyprus votes for Greece; and Andorra, Portugal and Spain stick together."

Well, the answer's obvious, isn't it? Humans are angry, tribal killer chimps.

Europe's other nation states aren't very stable. Most have them have had their borders redrawn endlessly and have even ceased to exist several times pretty recently. All sorts of people aren't in the nation they started out in and have tribal loyalties elsewhere. Even when no one is being conquered a land border is far more porous than a watery one. All this means that most European countries have human ties to others in their proximity.

We're just as tribal. In fact, Anglos of one kind or another have been - for some centuries - the biggest, baddest tribe on the planet. Not only do we keep our own borders steady (the last battle on our mainland was in 1746) but we also conquer the others and take their stuff. However, we generally haven't taken territory in Europe (too high maintenance) but in the rest of the world.

If it wasn't Eurovision but Worldvision (World Vision might be peeved if it were set up) then our Anglo cousins and Commonwealth buddies would be in play. We'd do fine. The best evidence available suggests that we would do extremely well, that we are the world's favourite nation.

Our relationship with continental Europe has defined our history and frog-bashing has become a dull cliche best left behind. However, there is no reason to get wound up in a fit of teenage self-consciousness just because the continentals won't vote for us at Eurovision.

Cross-posted from


Anonymous said...

Well said Matt. Britain's entry last year was really quite underwhelming and borderline awful. (Flight attendent uniforms, what were they thinking?) Yet many attempted to obscure the poor British performance by blaming European solidarity. This constant crying foul, while at times certainly true, is just unproductive and juvenille.

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