Glasgow could host the Eurovision Song Contest next year which is good news – and bad. It’s exciting – and depressing. The greatest fear must be that our shady politics will spoil it, or, in the words of Abba’s 1974 winning song: the history book on the shelf is always repeating itself.

Here's what we know so far: Ukraine won this year’s contest but they can’t host it next year for obvious reasons, so the UK, which came second, has been chosen instead. A list of cities was drawn up which has now been whittled down to seven and it includes Glasgow. The others are Birmingham, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle and Sheffield.

The final decision on who’s won will be made by the BBC and the EBU (or European Broadcasting Council) which organises the competition, and the official criteria includes a city’s capacity and capability to meet the requirements of the contest. Also taken into account is a city’s experience in hosting large, complicated events. On the face of it, Glasgow passes those tests quite easily.

But let’s read the small print shall we? Another factor that will influence the decision is any financial contribution the city is willing to make and we’re talking huge amounts here. Ukraine spent $35m on staging the contest in 2017 but it can be much more: in 2012 Azerbaijan spent $76m.

The obvious question for the cities in the running is how badly they want to do it, which means the more they cough up financially, the more likely they are to get it. I would like Glasgow to host Eurovision, it sounds like a lot of fun, but I’m also worried the city might promise to spend money on a singing contest when it isn’t spending enough on keeping the streets clean. I don’t want to be a fun-sponge but really: priorities.

I’m also concerned about the politics. Officially, the decision on which city wins will be made by the BBC and the EBU but there’s another, more complicated element in all of this which is that the UK Government also has a say and will be “consulted” by the BBC. What this means in reality is that a political element is added to a decision that is apparently non-political, specifically what the UK Government considers the "optics” of it all. It’s why a big, soft, southern city like London had no chance of winning from the start and was knocked out pronto.

The political advisors working for the UK Government – and there are a lot of them – are also thinking about the pros and cons of the competition going to Glasgow. On the one hand, they like the idea of Nicola Sturgeon’s home city hosting a competition that is unequivocally about the UK. All those Union Jacks being waved around in Glasgow. Brilliant.

The flip side, however, is the worry that you hand political capital to the Scottish Government and the SNP and we know they will use it. You may remember, for example, those horribly unsubtle ads the SNP put in all the papers during Cop26. “A nation in waiting welcomes the nations of the world.” It was badly mis-judged and gave the impression that, while the world was focused on climate change, the SNP was focused on you-know-what.

I realise there will be some who think all of this is placing too much importance on an essentially trivial event and to people like that I say: come closer and listen. Hosting Eurovision can significantly boost a city’s economy, short and long-term. This year’s contest in Italy was watched by 160million people and what they were watching effectively was a big fat advert for Turin. And if you doubt the political importance of the contest, look at how hard Ukraine fought to host it.

The UK Government should also learn the lessons of the last time a big international event was held in Glasgow: Cop26. When it was first announced, Boris Johnson told people that he didn’t want Nicola Sturgeon “anywhere near it” and for much of the conference she was denied a platform. But excluding Ms Sturgeon is easier said than done and you’ll remember that she, quite rightly, carved out a role for herself nonetheless. Top of the list was an elbow-bump with Greta Thunberg (touching another person’s hand was still illegal at that point).

However, what Ms Sturgeon also discovered was that a big do like Cop26 can attract the wrong kind of publicity as well: the newspapers sent reporters out into the streets of Glasgow as the conference got underway and it wasn’t pretty. A single litter pick on one small stretch of the Clyde found 79 used needles. That’s the problem with spotlights: they shine on the bad as well as the good.

But in the end the shadiness of the Tories trying to elbow Sturgeon out of the way even though she’s First Minister, and the crassness of the SNP trying to use a conference on climate change to promote independence, wasn’t really what mattered about Cop26. And it isn’t what will matter about Eurovision, even though there’s still concern about the SNP “using” the event for their own ends.

What actually matters is that while both sides banged their drums during Cop26, behind the scenes the mood music was actually co-operation. This is often the case with the UK and Scottish Governments: the message for public consumption is how bad the other one is, but they actually engage in a high degree of cooperation and they certainly did for Cop and they are likely to do the same in the future.

The Scottish Government should also remember the limits of the PR possibilities of Eurovision and other events like it. Before Cop26, there was a lot of talk about the conference shifting the electorate’s mood – it was one of the reasons the SNP took out those terrible newspaper ads. But like so many other supposedly game-changing events in the past (notably Brexit), after they’re over, we discover the game has stayed pretty much the same.

How all of these factors will play into the final decision, and whether Glasgow gets Eurovision, is hard to say. I’ve seen some hard-line unionists pushing for Glasgow partly because a big British event in Scotland will stick in the SNP’s craw (they don’t like it up em). But the UK Government also likes the idea of it going to a northern English city and my instinct is that this second theory will prevail – you want levelling up in the North, well how about Eurovision?

I also don’t want to exaggerate the importance of all this. Remember that Eurovision is supposed to be fun, and it is. There’s politics around it certainly – and some of the politics is pretty shady – but mainly Eurovision is about music and glitter and campery. You don’t understand it? You think it’s trivial? You think it doesn’t matter? You know what I say to people like you? I say this: ding ding-a-dong.

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