In the words of Finland’s entry to this year’s Eurovision song contest, there is no tomorrow when you grab tightly like a cha cha cha cha – something which I think, in these difficult times, we can all agree with.

The performance of the song in Tuesday’s semi-final was also very good. The singer Kaarija, his Finnish nipples exposed for the whole of Europe to see, and Australia, appeared to be singing from a pallet distribution centre that had fallen behind on the distribution, but he was determined to have fun anyway. “Champagne all over myself I pour like a cha cha cha cha,” he bare-chestedly sang, which sounds like my kind of night.

But enough of my supercilious mockery of foreigners because who are the British to mock anyway? We’re the ones that voted to leave the European Union like a cha cha cha cha. And it isn’t mockery really, it’s teasing, because I love Eurovision and always have. It manages to achieve remarkable depths of shallowness. It is serious in its triviality. It can make us better people.

Last year was a good example. Putin invaded Ukraine but he hadn’t reckoned on Russia being expelled from Eurovision had he? Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra also won the contest with a song about returning to their mothers, only to find they’re older and weaker than they were: “I will walk to you by broken roads”. It was quite touching but it wasn’t the best song and they obviously got a sympathy vote but sympathy is better than aggression or sending in tanks so that’s fine. It’s kind of the point.

The other point about Eurovision is that pop music’s always several years ahead – it works in a different time zone to the haters – which is why the contest leads the way on diversity and inclusion and is so deeply beloved by gay people. Girls kissing. Bearded men in frocks. Whatever. It’s like a big sparkly symbol of the progress we’re making, as well as a way of giving the progress an extra wee push when needed.

I like what the contest has to say about nationality as well. Admittedly, the last 10 years of the Scottish variant has made us more suspicious of its consequences, but Eurovision makes the point that you can reflect and celebrate your national identity without being intolerant. The Eurovision historian, for there is such a thing, Chris West, put it this way: “It is about mutual respect, plus a bit of fun-poking, and has nothing to do with any kind of hate.”

I also sometimes wonder if there are other, bigger lessons to be drawn from the contest. We know, don’t we, that Greece will give Cyprus 12 points and Cyprus will give Greece 12 points, but on the whole the Eurovision voting system works quite well because it’s not just a popular vote but a balance of expert and popular opinion. Chris West again: “It isn’t a system for giving the majority whatever they want the moment they want it. It accepts that in a complex world, experts sometimes do know best.”

But mainly, the whole thing is about fun so I will end by giving you my tips for the best Eurovision evening, even though you didn’t ask for them. First, watch some of the greatest hits on Youtube beforehand to get you in the mood – remember, however much you think you hate Eurovision, this is the contest that produced Abba. Secondly, if you’re going to have friends round to watch, or people you don’t like, do a sweeper so that even if you’re not totally into the experience, you might win some money and that’ll make you feel better.

And thirdly and most importantly, make sure you have the subtitles switched on so you don’t miss the English translation of the lyrics. My favourites of the past include Montenegro (“I like bicyclism/ I like liberalism/ It is good for rheumatism”), Albania (“I land my plane on the runway of your soul”) and Greece at the height of its economic troubles: “Oh ooh ooh oh ooh oh oh oh oh ooh”. As for this year, I rather like “there’s a ghost in my body. Edgar Allan, Edgar Allan Poe, Poe, Poe, Poe, Poe” and “Mommy bought the tractor, Mommy kissed the moron.” Have a good time!