Eurovision: Penning reveals why UK should leave contest
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In January 2021, the UK finally departed the European Union following the 2016 referendum vote. MP Sir Mike Penning suggests it is now time for the UK’s next departure, this time from the famed Eurovision Song Contest set to be held in May 2022 in Turin, Italy. Sir Mike argued this move would save valuable taxpayers’ money and allow the UK to escape the show which has become a rather odd display of political alliances and an embarrassing event for UK entries.
Sir Mike insisted the substantial financial contribution made by the UK towards Eurovision is a waste of taxpayer money.
He told GB News: “The Eurovision Song Contest is the most political thing that would touch most people’s lives.
“We all see and watch it, we all know we’re going to come last. We all know Greece is going to vote for Cyprus, and the whole Eastern bloc.
“At the end of the day, I don’t think most of the British public know that we pay for the Eurovision Song Contest.”
He continued: “The taxpayer pays for it and that’s the only reason why we’re always in the final. We can’t not qualify for the final.
“And the other thing – is Australia in Europe? I wasn’t very good in school but I didn’t think Australia was in Europe. And yet our friends are in the Eurovision. This is barmy.”
Each year, the BBC pays a licencing fee in order to secure the rights to broadcast the Eurovision Song Contest and these funds are secured through taxes on the UK population.
The Tory MP, who has been representing the constituency of Hemel Hempsted since May 2005, has filed a motion in the House of Commons to withdraw the UK from the competition.
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This motion calls upon the BBC to no longer spend the licence fee on an event designed to “humiliate the UK”.
Eurovision attracts millions of viewers each year but Sir Mike claimed the Eurovision Song Contest is “the most political thing that would touch most people’s lives”.
The two semi-finals and final of the 2021 contest had an estimated total of 183 million viewers worldwide. In the UK, over 7 million viewers tuned in to watch the countries battle for victory.
Sir Mike argued that while the show can be enjoyed on a surface level, the competition is corrupted by politics that sabotage the UK’s chance of winning.
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Recently, the UK’s performance in the contest has been rather abysmal.
In the 2021 contest, the entrant for the UK, James Newman, received an embarrassing zero points.
Despite the poor performance of prior UK entries, the UK receives a special privilege to automatically qualify for the final.
While other competitors have to complete qualifying rounds to enter the final stages of the contest, a rule change in 1999 allowed the largest financial contributors automatic passage to the final.
This ‘Big Five’ consists of the UK, France, Germany, Spain, and Italy.
Unfortunately, the UK has still managed to finish last in the contest five times since the introduction of this new rule.
Eurovision 2022 is set to take place in Turin, Italy and the UK plans to move ahead with their entry of ‘Space Man’ performed by Sam Ryder.
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