Express & Star

Mark Andrews: Sleazy Eurovision, pointless job opportunities, and shining a light on the truth behind 'assisted dying'

Like most of you, I didn't watch Eurovision. Haven't done for years. I suppose Scooch were a bit of a laugh, with their airline-related double entendres, and Bucks Fizz provided a bit of fun in 1981. But apart from that, you have to go back to Brotherhood of Man in 1976 to think of a UK entry you would actually describe as 'good'. And given that viewers have been without Terry Wogan's acerbic commentary since 2008, you will forgive me for finding something better to do on a Saturday night.


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So, many of you will say I'm not best qualified to join in the debate on whether or not the competition has become too risque for family viewing. But I'm going to have a go anyway. And say that, yes it is.

Because you only need to look at the stills to see the UK entry, which featured a group of barely clothed young men in a public shower, was unlikely to be wholesome viewing. Ok, maybe the aim of the act was to promoting personal cleanliness, and the importance of washing behind the ears, but I somehow doubt it. Then we come to Ireland's entry, the charmingly named Bambie Thug, a self-proclaimed practitioner of neopagan witchcraft whose 'ouija pop' has been heavily influenced by drug addiction. From what I've seen, I think I preferred Dana.

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Now maybe there is a niche for that sort of thing, and if a handful of weirdos want to watch it at 3am on Channel 5, that's up to them. But given that the BBC is perpetually pleading poverty, and has cut its local radio provision to ribbons, I think we're entitled to ask if this is how we want our licence fee spent.

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If this year's Eurovision is an example of so much that is wrong about modern broadcasting, Paul Brand's heart-rending report for ITV News on the tragic death of 47-year-old Alastair Hamilton shows how powerful true public-service broadcasting can be.

Alastair was an apparently fit and healthy schoolteacher who told his mother Judith he was going on holiday to Paris. Instead, he went to a Swiss 'death clinic' on a bleak industrial estate in Basel, where he paid £11,000 to end his life. The first his family knew about it was when they reported him missing, and it emerged that money had gone out of his bank account.

When his heartbroken mother inquired about his body, the clinic callously sent his ashes in the post.

No doubt the clinic – or should we say the company? – would say it was Alastair's choice. But I think most reasonable people would say it had a duty of care to somebody, who at face value, appeared more in need of help and support than a lethal injection. This is a side to 'assisted dying' which goes woefully under-reported, so well done to Paul and ITV.

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Whoops. I've missed the deadline. Hopefully, they'll overlook this oversight, and still consider my application. It's all about inclusion, after all.

The House of Lords was this week advertising for a £68,000-a-year 'head of inclusion and diversity'. Yes, I know that 68 grand doesn't go very far in the Big Smoke, but it's advertised as a 'hybrid' role, so presumably you don't actually have to turn up for work. Besides, HS2 will be opening soon. Or maybe not.

Besides, I'm sure it will come with a very pretty lanyard, which is something that anybody who's anybody has to flaunt these days.

The odd thing is that the deadline for applications was Tuesday night, more than 24 hours after 'minister for common sense' Esther McVey said the Government would be getting rid of all these stupid posts. Somebody obviously didn't get the memo.

But while the end of all this woke nonsense can't come a day too soon, it does raise the question of who has been running the country for the past 14 years.