If music be the food of love – play on!August 28, 2016
The Bard knew a thing or two about humanity and life’s bemusement and intrigues – as all great writers do, for an acute sense of observation is somewhat key to prose able to retain interest (and with great prose distinctly lacking, it is why this blog will never have readers counted in millions).
Act 1 Scene 1, The Twelfth Night : (The Duke) “If music be the food of love, play on. (Give me excess of it; that surfeiting, the appetite may sicken, and so die.”)
The issue of Eurovision 2017 and which city will host it remains unresolved, despite a promised announcement on 1st August. Then another canceled announcement on 24th August. Time ticks away – and with it preparatory time for whichever city will eventually be announced as host.
That announcements continue to be postponed is not entirely unsurprising when the cynical gene within a reader is well aware that nefarious local governance in Kyiv, Dnipro and Odessa all to eagerly awaits the €15 million that will be allocated to insure the host city does Ukraine proud. Continued delays in an announcement simply provides the cynical with the impression that horse trading and dirty deeds are occurring behind the political curtain.
Odessa has a strong case being a cultural and tourist centre already. It also was a city that was not chosen to host the Euro 2012 football championships unlike Dnipro and Kyiv. Further Kyiv hosts international ice hockey championships at the same time as Eurovision. The usually fractious, indeed internally hostile (as outlined in a recent entry about tourism policy – or the lack of it due to the dysfunctional governance) leadership of Odessa feels Ukraine owes it to the city.
Yet it is perhaps the openly fractious and extremely hostile relationships between Mayor and Governor, City and Oblast administrations that is the major reason to doubt the awarding of Eurovision to Odessa. Indeed in another recent entry outlining the many woes of Mayor Trukhanov (and questioning his grip on City Hall), Odessa landing Eurovision may very well take pressure off, rather than place pressure upon the Mayor – “All of that said, there simply doesn’t “feel” to be any real desire to remove Mayor Trukhanov – yet. Undoubtedly if Odessa is chosen to host Eurovision, then there will be no desire to do so until after the event anyway whilst the Ukrainian elite put on, and intensely buff, a veneer of respectability to the world peering in. The ugliness and nefariousness of removing Mayor Trukhanov prior to that event if held in Odessa would be simply unthinkable.”
In short, if Odessa is chosen Mayor Trukhanov will undoubtedly remain unchallenged until after the event in May 2017 – to remove him before would be unthinkable. Likewise the blatant political maneuvering by the parliamentarians of Odessa to remove Governor Saakashvili would be equally unthinkable.
Considering the outright animosity between Governor and Mayor and their respective administrations, the 28th August witnessed an exceptionally rare sight. Extraordinary in fact.
The Governor and Mayor called a joint press conference promoting Odessa as the host city of choice for Eurovision 2017 and putting on something approaching political unity over the issue.
It is a significant effort on their part to stand shoulder to shoulder and share the same press conference. The last time they shared a press conference and stood shoulder to shoulder was on the 30th June 2015 – some 14 months ago.
Naturally since that time they have attended numerous functions as guests – for example at the recent film festival both were present – and sat 6 seats apart. At a US Sea Breeze event aboard ship, when both attended, one more or less stood at the stern whilst the other at the bow. The distance between them at all such functions about as far as possible, with ne’er a word spoken between them – the blog knows as the blog receives invitations to these events too and is acquainted with both men.
Official joint press events however, are as rare as rocking horse shit – thus this is a noteworthy event.
Ergo, this joint press conference, standing shoulder to shoulder to champion Odessa is a significant effort on their part to display to the leadership in Kyiv that they are willing to put Odessa first when it comes to hosting Eurovision.
If so there are potentially benefits for all – especially Kyiv, in granting hosting right to Odessa.
For Kyiv, something of a truce between them, no matter how temporary that armistice, would be something of a good result. With no obvious alternatives to Mayor Trukhanov (without jailing him and keeping him out of any electoral race) there appears little option but to leave him in post – for now. If Governor Saakashvili is also preoccupied with Eurovision, he may become just busy enough to relieve some pressure upon the current Cabinet through his persistent calls for early Verkhovna Rada elections, and also his consistent calls to throw Mayor Trukhanov out of office.
Also for Kyiv, the political efforts of the parliamentarians of Odessa to oust the Governor would also have to be put on ice.
For Odessa, even limited communication and cooperation between Oblast and City administrations would be a change from the current unhelpful situation – and may lead to cooperation in certain other areas too – at least until Eurovision 2017 concludes. A window of opportunity, (albeit certainly a limited window until mid-May 2017 when open warfare would resume), with regard to cooperation between City and Oblast administrations presents itself, and despite their serious differences and barbed commentary about each other, both men in their own way would wish to put the best possible shine upon both a city and oblast they actually do care about (in their own ways).
The Bard will probably be proven astute once more, for if Odessa is successful, from the announcement until the Eurovision finale, “If music be the food of love, play on.”
Thereafter however a return to the current political situation seems assured “Give me excess of it; that surfeiting, the appetite may sicken, and so die.”
T’will be interesting to see, should no announcement be forthcoming by 2nd September and the City’s birthday, whether both Governor and Mayor will appear together once again that day to insure the message to Kyiv is understood.
(Then again, it is perhaps at Kyiv’s orchestration that both men appeared together in a show of unity prior to any announcements.)