Eurovision 2016 – Grand Final Preview

Its Eurovision week!!! Its just two days to the First Semi-Final on Tuesday followed by the Second Semi-Final on Thursday. So I am a tad excited! (That may be an understatement). Check out my previews of Semi-Final 1 and Semi-Final 2

So its time to look at the automatic qualifiers for the Grand Final which takes place on Saturday 14th of May. They will be joined by 10 acts from each of the Semi Finals. So who are the automatic finalists? They are our Host’s Sweden and the Big Five contributors to the European Broadcasting Union, Germany, France, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom. Only Sweden’s place in the show is known and it will be Friday before the running order for the Final will be known. Sweden will perform 9th on the night.

So lets take a look at the songs we will definitely be seeing next Saturday.

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The Catholic Church in the UK to be the Vanguard against Gay Marriage?

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The Catholic Church in the UK has stepped up its opposition to Gay Marriage being introduced in the UK. Today mass-goers will be urged to oppose any moves towards Gay Marriage in a pastoral letter from Archbishop of Westminster Most Rev Vincent Nichols and Archbishop of Southwark Most Rev Peter Smith. They argue that they must save marriage for “Future Generations”. They of course join the hierarchy in opposing this move as Cardinal Keith O’Brien last week compared Gay Marriage to slavery.

Two polls also appeared in the UK this week on this issue. One for the Catholic Voice and one for the Telegraph.

In the poll for Catholic Voice by ComRes 70% of respondents said “Marriage should continue to be defined as a life-long exclusive commitment between a man and a woman.” This poll seemed to have found opposite results to nearly every opinion on the subject in the UK. Thankfully Pinknews have done some analysis of the poll, which only had four questions, and shows what is wrong with the poll.

To set the record straight a poll in todays Sunday Telegraph has a poll showing 45% of respondents support Gay Marriage in comparison to 36% against. The rest had no firm view.  Excluding those with no firm view 55.6% are in favour and 44.4% against.

Interestingly only the Catholic Church and the Church of England are the only two religions to express their opposition to Gay Marriage while Quakers, Unitarians, Liberal Judaism and just yesterday, Reform Judaism wish to conduct religious same sex marriages.

Also on Monday the Times became the first UK daily paper to back Gay Marriage. It said “It would enrich the institution of marriage, enhance social stability and expand the sum of human happiness. It is a cause that has the firm support of The Times.”

It continues ”

“Opponents accuse the Government of undermining the foundations of marriage and abusing the power of the State. It was predictable that some Conservative backbenchers would deride the proposals as (in the words of one of them) “completely nuts”. But more influential figures are deploying similarly heated rhetoric.

“Cardinal Keith O’Brien, the leader of the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland, yesterday branded the Government’s position a “grotesque subversion of a universally accepted human right”. Dr John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York, has accused the Government of acting like a dictatorship. More temperately, Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, maintains that changing the law to allow gay marriage would force unwanted change on the rest of the nation.”

It finishes with “Earlier ages considered that allowing women to own property was against God and nature. Changing the law abolished a gross injustice and thereby enhanced the legitimacy of marriage. It is time to lift another form of discriminatory treatment. Reforming the law would enrich the lives of same-sex couples who wish to marry in order to affirm by rite that they love and are loved in return. By that commitment, they will enrich the society and culture that their fellow citizens share.”

European Union Bill Returns to the Commons

Today the House of Commons will consider as a Committee of the whole house, the European Union Bill. This will mean that in future the United Kingdom will have to hold a referendum on future treaties which amend the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty on the Function of the European Union

Under the Bill the UK will have to hold a referendum if the treaty meets one of these conditions:

(a) the extension of the objectives of the EU as set out in Article 3 of TEU;

(b) the conferring on the EU of a new exclusive competence;

(c) the extension of an exclusive competence of the EU;

(d) the conferring on the EU of a new competence shared with the member  States;

(e) the extension of any competence of the EU that is shared with the member States;

(f) the extension of the competence of the EU in relation to—

(i) the co-ordination of economic and employment policies, or

(ii) common foreign and security policy;

(g) the conferring on the EU of a new competence to carry out actions to support, co-ordinate or supplement the actions of member States;

(h) the extension of a supporting, co-ordinating or supplementing competence of the EU;

(i) the conferring on an EU institution or body of power to impose a requirement or obligation on the United Kingdom, or the removal of any limitation on any such power of an EU institution or body;

(j) the conferring on an EU institution or body of new or extended power to impose sanctions on the United Kingdom;

(k) any amendment of a provision listed in Schedule 1 that removes a requirement that anything should be done unanimously, by consensusor by common accord;

(l) any amendment of Article 31(2) of TEU (decisions relating to common foreign and security policy to which qualified majority voting applies) that removes or amends the provision enabling a member of the Council to oppose the adoption of a decision to be taken by qualified majority voting;

(m) any amendment of any of the provisions specified in subsection (3) that removes or amends the provision enabling a member of the Council, in relation to a draft legislative act, to ensure the suspension of the ordinary legislative procedure

It is important to note that if the treaty does any of the following, a Referendum is not needed and an Act of Parliament would suffice,

(a) the codification of practice under TEU or TFEU in relation to the previous exercise of an existing competence;
(b) the making of any provision that applies only to member States other than the United Kingdom;
(c) in the case of a treaty, the accession of a new member State.
 

It is an interesting idea from the Coalition Government. Maybe it is something we should consider doing here as it would remove some of the confusion that it exists in relation to the Crotty Judgement and would set out when we actually do need to hold a referendum on European Treaties.

Hattip: Archbishop Cranmer

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UK Election 2010

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I haven’t yet blogged about the general election in the UK. For me this has been one of the most interesting ones to watch. The rise of Liberal Democrats is amazing to see, and the polls are all over the place. The only thing for certain is that Labour will not win the popular vote.

That is where watching UK elections get boring. No matter haw much you play with swing calculators and polls the Lib Dems even if they win the popular vote, will not be forming the next government. They may form part of it, or support the next government through some sort of pact, but it will not be what they want.

Of course this puts the Lib Dems in the best position to ask for and get electoral reform. Labour are willing to give the Alternative Vote, but the Liberal Democrats want PRSTV like here in Ireland. Now how exciting would UK elections be then?

The Conservatives are holding there own in this election, but of course the rise of the Lib Dems has caught everyone. No one was prepared for that. They are down slightly in the polls, but still are in the lead.

The night of May 6th is going to be a very interesting night. There will be heads rolling from the cabinet on a good day for Labour. The Brown campaign isn’t going well, but good campaigning by good candidates will see them do well.

One of the seats I will be watching will be Brighton Pavillion as there the Green Party has one of its best chances to take a seat. Another one to watch will be Norwich North. I will of course be also hoping that Barking doesn’t go to the BNP.

This election could mark a change in UK Politics, for that reason alone I will be up all night on May 6th!

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[Eurovision 2010] Final Preview

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So it is time to have a look at the final five entries in this years Eurovision Song Contest. It is time to look at the big 4 and last years winner. I will be marking these out of ten, as there is no prediction to make!

SpainDaniel Diges “Algo pequeñito” (Something Tiny)

This is less poppy than Spains normal offering and it is growing on me. I love the circus theme to the video and it is influenced in the video. 7/10

NorwayDidrik Solli-Tangen “My Heart is Yours

There has been some comparisons between Norway and Ireland this year and I think that is misplaced as Niamh’s song is so much better. I find this to be a very boring ballad. But ballads are everywhere this year so it will pick up a few points. and more fiddles at the end… hmmm… 4/10

United KingdomJosh Dubovie “That Sounds Good to Me

The UK haven’t had a whole lot of good luck recently at Eurovision, so this entry is a nice song. Its easy listening and one to tap the foot along with. It could do well also. 6/10

FranceJessy Matador “Allez Ola Ole

France went all experimental for a while and then went back to basics. This year they are entering a fast paced dance song, that will be heard at the world cup I would say! (no handball grudge here btw) Its a cool song. 8/10

GermanyLena Meyer-Landrut “Satellite

All I can say is this is in my top two songs this year (Denmark is the other one). This is an amazing entry from Germany, and Lena is an amazing singer. This song has already gone platinum in Germany. I love it, its catchy and has a good chance of winning this year! 10/10

So that is all the songs looked at. I can go back to concentrating on politics and other issues here until 22nd of May when the Semi-finals begin. In the mean time if you are a eurovision fan, head over to ESCIreland.com where you will find lots more Eurovision news and opinion.

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5th Think Post – "What Women Want"

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Well I seam to be getting used to blogging over on the thinkaboutit.eu blog becuase I just published my 5th post on it! Its on women and European politics.

Eurobarometer recently did a Flash survey on Women and Politics in the EU. It found that 79% of Irish Women and 78% of women in the United Kingdom think that politics is male dominated.

Read Full Post, dont forget to rate it!

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Conservative Ads

Conservative Party logoImage via WikipediaThe Conservative Party in the UK have launched a new Advertising campaign on “Labour’s Debt Crisis”. According to the Conservatives Shadow Chancellor each child born in Britain will owe £17,000. I must say it is a fantastic campaign. It really hits the point on UK Debt. I agree with John over on Semper-Idem that FG need to be developing campaigns like this. The Budget campaign that they did before Christmas is something that could easily be further developed into this. Anyway check out the videos below.

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