Eurovision 2012 and the Champions League. A Good Time for Crooks.

It’s a great time for dodgy former-Soviet businessmen.

Azerbaijan, a country run by a Mafia-style dictator, is hosting the Eurovision song contest, while only last week, the Champions’ League was won by a team owned by one of the shadiest characters to emerge from Yeltsin’s criminal conspiracy.

We don’t mind the crookery that goes on behind the spectacle, do we?  It doesn’t bother us.  All those Irish supporters of Chelsea who joined in the victory celebrations after Drogba slotted the vital penalty didn’t pause to think about the fact that the owner, Roman Abramovich is one of those currently screwing them, forcing their taxes up and their wages down.

How?  By buying second-hand Irish bonds at 10% of face value and demanding the full price from our government who obediently paid up.  It’s politics, you see, and we should never mix sport with politics, even when the dodgiest of Arthur Daley characters is busy dipping his hand into your pocket.  That’s politics. Here, have my money.

Meanwhile, over in Baku, the regime of Ilham Aliyev has spent a reported €350 million on the Eurovision song contest, easily eclipsing the outrageous Russian blingfest that set the previous nadir of tastelessness.  Let me put this in context.  Even in our current reduced state, Ireland has a nominal GDP of €173 billion, while that of Azerbaijan is €49 billion.  Therefore, in relative terms, this is like Ireland spending €1.23 billion on the Eurovision song contest.

Only a state run by mafia figures would contemplate anything so extreme and so vulgar.  The average per capita GDP in Azerbaijan is only €8,200, while the ruling families of Azerbaijan are among the wealthiest people on the planet.  We hear stories of poor people being cleared off the streets to sanitise the city of Baku for its foreign visitors and we know that Aliyev operates a police state, where public dissent is simply not tolerated.  Yet we have representatives of our national broadcaster over there reporting uncritically on this ludicrous circus, which is no more than a propaganda vehicle for a major mobster.

Is that it?  Do we simply not care if Abramovich robs us or Aliyev throws people into jail, as long as we get enough bread and circuses?

Is bling the new thinking?





15 thoughts on “Eurovision 2012 and the Champions League. A Good Time for Crooks.

  1. So exactly where does the Irish government stand on Aliyev and his regime? Obviously by participating in the Eurovision, it gives credibility to these criminals–and a grotesque reflection on our own artful dodgers too. Is this what the average Seosamh truly wants?
    If so, math an buachaill!
    If not, don’t just sit/stand/kneel there–say something–anything!!
    (In my opinion, this stupid “contest”, for want of a more fitting term, doesn’t even compare to The Angelus, Daithi Lacha, nor even the best we had years ago– the Testcard–for entertainment value!)

  2. Where does one stop. I’m sure that Roman and Ilham came across their wealth as honestly as the next billionaire.

    We had no problem sending government ministers and state employees to China for the Olympics despite their less than exemplary record on human rights. Our own First Citizen has made huge inroads in to China for Limerick trade.

    France blew up the Rainbow Warrior in NZ causing the death of a photographer. The guilty parties served 2 years for manslaughter. France has carried out nuclear testing in its “colonies” yet it remains the most visited country in the world with millions of tourists every year It remains at the heart of decision making in the EU and we have no problem doing business there.

    America has meddled and interfered with the democratic systems of more countries than I could name yet had the hypocracy to boycott the 1980 Olympics following Russias invasion of Afghanistan. Of course the invasion of Iraq was totally justified. We welcome US money into Ireland with open arms our leaders arselick theirs on a regular basis.

    Politics has always been devoid of ethics and morals. Nothing counts but money. As a trader on Wall St. said recently Governments don’t rule the world, Goldman Sachs rules the world.

  3. 350 million. Jesus Bock, did someone over there put in an extra nought by accident. They forgot about the noughts huh..
    Times 140.. it’s the whole countries GDP.

    “Politics has always been devoid of ethics and morals. Nothing counts but money. As a trader on Wall St. said recently Governments don’t rule the world, Goldman Sachs rules the world.”
    I agree No.8.
    Myself I couldn’t give two fucks about significant figures with money.. A lot seem to endow all sorts of positive attributes to them that they really don’t possess.. like shrewdness and intelligence. I’ve had these conversations with people after listening to some wealthy gobshite or other.. they just seem to be in awe of anything they say, even when it’s really rubbish and uninspiring waffle.
    I don’t know.. I guess it’s how you define ‘success’.

    Also, can’t help but think soccer is for idiots.
    And Jedward are the most annoying fuckers ever.. with any luck Aliyev will make them an offer to be his personal jesters at his palace and we’ll never hear from them again.

  4. Good question TonyC..
    I just don’t know why soccer seems to be for idiots. :)

    I have just found you get a better sort of clientelle who watch the rugby.. a more sophisticated type of a man. A more cultivated crowd. More suave.. a bit more svelte.
    They’re no hooligans like.

  5. Great piece, Bock. Two questions:
    I get supporting your local team, if it is your local team, has roots in the community and doesn’t fleece you. Chelsea, Man Utd, Man City…are basically mercenaries in a league tilted towards the wealthiest. Everyone bar 5 or so teams is just a farm team for those 5. Why do supporters continue to fund it? Hopefully European rugby doesn’t go the same way

    Secondly, if we knew we were going to bail out Anglo…why wasn’t our government (or the Central Bank or Bof I) buying the damn bonds at 10c on the Euro when Abramovich was? We were in a position to get a bond haircut without a default.

  6. I consider the Eurovision song contest to be a load of musical twaddle. There is no objective way to judge the songs. The lyrics and ‘tunes’ are invariably banal to the point of idiocy. Voting is often informed more by national sentiment than musical taste.

    They’d achieve more pan-European solidarity by televising a Eurovision tiddlywinks championship. Or try a Paddy the Latvian, Paddy the Swiss cheese and Paddy the bouncing Czech joke-telling competition. That would make the bored viewers of Europe unite in wrecking Eurovision as a network.

  7. Rugby supporters: they may be arseholes but they’re a better class of arsehole. ;)

  8. Why is soccer for idiots….
    Cos there is too much of it.

    Pick a foriegn team when you’re young and “impressionable”, then embrace that rubbish as you get older.
    Ninety minutes, offer nothing new. No information; just worthless data (colour schemes, noise). A grown man wears a club kit going to pub, as if hes colorful himself, as if hes fit himself, as if he will learn anything, as if he’ll talk to anyone worth listening to – a duplicate of himself.
    Scutter for sheep.

    Likewise for the “modern” version of music – a mere colour spectacle – as if Jedwards outfit (kit) can compliment the music –
    as it it can make it any worse either.

    The animal cannot cannot separate the components of the “experience” – both for soccer and music. And fail to realise that it is not creative for the viewer (themselves). Its no wonder that they need a bigger outfit (kit), with each successive year!

    Fashion….is that the word or practice? Oblivious to the difference between creating it and being a slave to it. And all the while, being distracted from other “realities”.
    If you believe that your highest purpose is to defend and promote a silly game and club (designated, in your teenage mind), then enough is said, and good luck with that.

    I’m off to debate the Fiscal Treaty, with (against) a similar bunch of people to the above, who believe that there is a solid connection between it and septic tank charges – they intuitively know this, cos their soccer buddies know it too.

  9. Well said Crapatony.. you can do no wrong crapa, as all we expect is to qualify. :)

    I thought the solid connection was, you can say no to the septic tank, no to the water charges and no to the Tre-ate-hee.. Would I lose in a debate? Fuck it..

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