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Last Updated: Sunday, 16 May, 2004, 15:13 GMT 16:13 UK
Eurovision votes 'farce' attack
James Fox
The 29 points for James Fox were helped by eight from Ireland
UK entrant James Fox has blamed political voting for the final placings at this year's Eurovision.

Fox, who finished 16th out of 24, pointed an accusing finger at the way some countries voted for their neighbours.

His mother Tina Davies, who was in Turkey for Saturday's final, went further, describing the scoring as farcical.

Their views were backed by former Bucks Fizz singer Cheryl Baker, who said voting was more biased now than when she won.

There is always going to be that element - I knew that before we got there
James Fox

The contest in Istanbul was won by the Ukrainian Ruslana with her song Wild Dances.

British TV host Terry Wogan said "biased" voting was worse than ever.

He said: "Someone has got to stop this. The European Broadcasting Union has to take a hand."

Fox, from Bargoed in south Wales,said: "There is always going to be that element - I knew that before we got there.

"Monaco was my favourite one when they gave the 12 points to France - but what can you do? We just did the best we could."

PARTISAN VOTING AT EUROVISION
Greece and Cyprus both gave each other maximum points
Norway gave its 12 points to nordic neighbour Sweden
Norway won only three points - all from Sweden
Belarus gave Russia 12 points
Turkey put differences aside to give high points to Greece and Cyprus

Fox's mother, who was in Istanbul, said the system had become a farce.

Tina Davies told BBC Radio Wales: "There was a person sitting close by me who was more politically aware.

"To be honest, he was able to give me a rundown of the scores - it was so farcical."

Returned favour

Fox's score of 29 points was at least an improvement on the zero points received by Jemini last year, which had been the worst result for the UK in 47 years.

Ukraine's Eurovision entry
Ukraine's leather-clad Ruslana won with Wild Dances
Public votes in every country determine how many points are awarded to each entrant, with many countries looking most favourably on their neighbours.

The Balkan countries gave each other a major share of the votes, while the French entry - co-written by Swansea's Steve Balsamo - received its only 12-point score from Monaco.

But the UK and Ireland were not immune from good neighbourliness. The UK was the only country to give any points to Ireland - seven - and the Irish returned the favour with eight points for Fox.

Norway finished last with just three points - but they were courtesy of fellow Scandinavians Sweden. For its part, Norway gave Sweden 12 points.

Cheryl Baker, who won with Bucks Fizz's Making Your Mind Up in 1981, said changes had been made to try and take the politics out.

"It should be a song contest but it never has been," she said.

"When they used to have a jury in each country then the voting always looked like it was rigged - Spain would go with Portugal and Austria would always go with Germany."

But she said since the voting was done by the public the situation had become even worse.

"I don't know that you could do it any other way if you want to keep the competition going," she added.

"People are always going to side with other countries whether it is a good song or not."



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