According to the Independent, "Europe's last dictator" may be in danger of losing the plot -
"The Belarusian leader has long been seen as a skilled political operator...but analysts are now asking whether the moustachioed strongman might have lost touch with reality. Mr Lukashenko's rhetoric in recent weeks has become increasingly aggressive, as he has criticised "nauseating" democracy and the country's political opposition, and even suggested that Belarus's failure to qualify for last weekend's Eurovision Song Contest was part of a sinister Western plot against the country."
Granted, vote-rigging is one logical possibility for what went wrong at Eurovision. Another possibility is that the people of Europe may have been somewhat bemused that a country trying to shed its image of being caught in a Soviet time-warp would want to enter a song entitled I Love Belarus, and featuring the following lyrics -
"I'm feeling great and it's easy to be strong
When all the hearts keep on beating as one
The sky is blue and I'm writing a new song
Saying that I'm free, friendly and young
I have so much and I'm ready to show you
Let's come together, so here is my hand
We're gonna fly watching lakes in their full view
Fields are full of gold, and it's all my land
I - LOVE - BELARUS, got it deep inside
I - LOVE - BELARUS, feel it in my mind"
All that's really missing is "glorious is our leader, purging the counter-revolutionaries". But we shouldn't knock it - the song may not have qualified for the final, but it did receive twenty more points than Latvia's somewhat less ideologically-driven call for us to "stare me with candy eyes, love me with luscious thighs".
Actually, it occurred to me the other day that the sole advantage of Eurovision's recent notoriety for political voting is that the contest is now virtually immune (or at least ought to be) from the paranoia over vote-fixing that plagues so many TV talent and reality shows. If the EBU were going to rig it, they'd surely go about it in a slightly more subtle way.