Once upon a time, Ireland was a great nation at winning the Eurovision. In the span of just 26 years, Ireland won 7 times. We joked how easy it was to win; we laughed at what a nuisance all this winning had become. In 1993, following another Eurovision win, Ireland decided to add a little excitement to the event when it hosted the Eurovision in a grand big shed in Millstreet, County Cork a point satired in the epic TV series, Fr. Ted.
Winning became so frequent in the 1990’s, on the odd year we didn’t win, we laughed it off as a recovery year, a chance to take a breather, an opportunity to spread some of the Eurovision fun around.
And then it stopped!
Since our last win in 1996, 23 years have passed.
Like that moment the tide changes, we didn’t notice it at first. As time passed, we consoled ourselves with the “We have won more Eurovision’s than anyone else” argument; it was a sort of coping strategy.
But as a ‘few lean years’ morphed into a sustained draught, a sense of urgency began to emerge.
It started by questioning everything! Blaming everyone!
We blamed the musicians, the song selectors, the biased ‘other’ countries, the sound system, the hosts and anyone, or anything we could! But to no avail! Like the failed rain dancer, all the blame in the world didn’t bring the Eurovision back!
By 2008, we had lost the plot.
With a kind of ‘it’s-so-mad-it-might-just-work’ approach, Ireland’s Eurovision minions selected a poorly stuffed turkey puppet to represent the nation at the largest pan-European singing competition ever!
It was a puppet. It wasn’t real. It didn’t sing and no, it didn’t work! It was completely bonkers and made us look like fools!
Fast-forward to 2019 and the UK is in many ways where Ireland was in 2008. Boris Johnson is about to be voted in as the next Tory leader and onward to the role of Prime Minister.
Mr. Johnson has never been little more than a meandering wobbler belting out endless tall tales to an incredibly narrow audience. His elevation to the seat of Prime Minister is in fact so absurd, many hard-working English people must surely be wondering if this is indeed some canny it’s-so-mad-it-might-just-work moment or if it’s just plain bonkers.
Like Ireland’s Eurovision demise, England is struggling to understand its place in the world. Like our Eurovision drought, there are no simple answers. Time moves on, change happens and the past will never repeat itself.
Just like Ireland in 2008, England in 2019 is choosing the nearest equivalent of our stuffed turkey. Yes, he has been the source of many jokes and merriment. But like Dustin, he is not the answer to the problem at hand.
Mr. Johnson’s failure in the foreign office, his failure in cabinet, his failure to defend UK diplomats and his failure to grasp the most basic aspects of the free-trade he proclaims will be “so easy” should send alarm bells ringing so loud in London they could be heard all the way across the Unionist strongholds of north Ulster.
Sometimes, we need to call it as it is and this time, well, Johnson and Dustin are just birds of a feather!