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Last week Britain unveiled its latest attempt to win the Eurovision crown. Children of the Universe sung by Molly, a 26 year old singer/songwriter from Leicestershire.

It was in 1998 that Eurovision changed the voting system to include telephone voting from each of the participant countries. Since then, it has become common place for people to joke about the politicalisation of the contest.

Whether it is because the United Kingdom is unpopular with the other contestants or because they like to give their twelve points to ‘their neighbours’, Britain has not seen a Eurovision win since before the voting change.

In fact, Britain’s recent best was in 2009 when Jade Ewen teamed up with Andrew Lloyd-Webber to sing It’s My Time, ending in 5th place.

With the UK’s constitutional status in question, would an independent Scotland be able to do any better? In fact, could it even compete in Eurovision at all?

Can Scotland Get In?

So, competing in Eurovision may not be high on most people’s list of things when it comes to talking about independence but, it is actually a highly political issue.

In the Scottish government’s White Paper on Independence they stated that an independent Scotland would seek admission to the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), the organisation responsible for Eurovision.

Both sides of the debate agree that a new Scottish Broadcaster would have to apply for membership. It is also the case that most people believe that an independent Scotland would be accepted to the EBU. Unlike the European Union, there is actually some precedence for this.

After its independence in 2008, Kosovo applied for membership of the EBU. This was refused. 

However unlike Kosovo, Scotland is unlikely to face the same problems and here is why.

In order to become a member of the EBU, the member state must first be a member of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). Countries are only allowed to join the ITU if they are members of the United Nations (UN).

For Kosovo, this was the problem. Permanent members of the UN Security Council can block new member applications. Russia, fearing the close ties that Kosovo had to Serbia, refused to grant Kosovo membership to the UN. No UN membership, no ITU membership, no EBU and so no Eurovision.

Unlike in the Balkans, few believe that Scotland would be refused membership into the UN and therefore admission to the EBU.

Though, there is one very important point to add.

Scotland may get to compete but, unlike the UK’s current arrangement, it seems unlikely that it will be able to get automatic entry to the finals of Eurovision. The BBC is one of the largest contributors to the EBU and was also one of its original founders. Along with France, Germany, Italy, Spain (and because they won last year) Denmark, The UK does not have to compete in a semi-final.

In theory, if Scotland was to contribute enough to the EBU it too could get a queue-skip to the final. More realistically though, it seems an independent Scotland would thrash it out with the majority in the semi-finals.

Can Scotland Win? 

As a nation, Scotland is famed for its music. Glasgow is an UNESCO City of Music, some of the world’s biggest acts were Scottish and even some of the UK’s previous Eurovision winners hailed from north of the border.

First off, let’s consider who Scotland could get to represent them.

From Lulu to Susan Boyle, many Scottish artists have gone on to receive international stardom and any one of these could be a possibility. However, how likely is it one of these artists will want to come back and represent Scotland?

Perhaps more probable would be to ask someone who is up and coming. Someone like Nina Nesbitt or Carrie Mac. For these artists, Eurovision could offer a chance to increase their profile outside of Scotland or the British Isles.

Alternatively, the new Scottish Broadcasting Service could run a reality show searching for a Eurovision hopeful, like the BBC have done in the past.

Jade Ewen was selected to represent the UK after winning ‘Eurovision: Your Country Needs You?’.

There is even the possibility of picking from outside of Scotland. According to the Rules of the 59th Eurovision Song Contest, there are no rules to prevent a country picking an international artist to represent them. A few countries have already done it with Celine Dion representing Switzerland in 1988, one of the most well known.

So, once Scotland picks the artist and, for the purpose of this analysis, makes it to the Eurovision Grand Final, can it succeed?

Of course, some of this depends on the quality of the entry but, with Eurovision, it also depends on how successfully Scotland can navigate the contest’s politics.

If Scotland can distance itself from the ‘former’ United Kingdom and sell the fact that it is a new independent country, it might be able to win over some of the countries who would have voted against it as part of Britain. There is also the possibility that some nations see it as way of getting one up on what was the United Kingdom, kicking it when it’s down so to speak.

This is of course all very hypothetical, yet it would be difficult to say that an independent Scotland does not have just as good a chance, if not better, than the United Kingdom currently. Ireland, with a population size similar to Scotland, has done well in Eurovision in the past. In fact, it still holds the record for the most Eurovision wins by any country, taking the crown seven times.

Whether Scotland decides to break away or not, one thing that can be certain is, as an independent country, Scotland would be able to put up one hell of a fight.

Follow Bobby on Twitter: @bobyrae

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