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The Eurovision Song Contest is not my kind of viewing.  The combination of questionable music, the long-winded verbal commentary, the painful introductory videos and the long, too long, voting process all means that I will be keeping well away.

Yet for all that it is not my thing, I am still glad it is happening.  Any occasion that brings nations and peoples together in fun and celebration is always worthwhile.  The European Athletics Championships are a similarly wonderful way to bring people together – and that I will try watching.

The sadness in all the debate about the European Union, and whether we should stay or leave, is that it never gets beyond the politicians.  The EU provides no great opportunities for the meeting of people.  Instead too much happens behind closed doors.  It has becomes a politicians union not a peoples’ union.

Although much maligned because of over-exercised fears about migration, the best part of the European Union is the free movement of people.  Ordinary people can move anywhere within the Union and meet, live and work alongside people from anywhere else in the Union.  People meeting people from other countries is surely always a good thing. It is such encounters that break down the barriers and strengthen the bonds of peace and friendship.

Europe is too important to be left to the politicians and we need to find more, not less, ways in which we can be together and celebrate the ordinary and everyday things of life.  It is through the discovery of friendship, and not economic treaties, that this great continent will be strengthened and the peace of its future secured.

The Eurovision Song Contest may not be the best our continent can offer but at least it is bringing people together in fun, and for that reason, if no other, it will get my vote.

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