Well, there you have it. Aberdeen has not made the shortlist of 7 cities to host Eurovision 2023. And you have to ask WHY?
Prior to the announcement of the seven cities selected from a list of 20 UK applicants, Aberdeen seemed like a shoe-in to make the last 7. What were the requirements?:
1. The Venue
The P&J Live arena is the largest indoor arena in Scotland, and the 5th largest in the UK. It can hold up to 15,000 spectators, well above the 10,000 requirement. And it is thoroughly modern having been opened in August 2019.
2. Access to an international airport
Aberdeen Airport admittedly doesn't have quite the access to international locations that cities like Manchester and Newcastle do, but it does have some international links, and these problems were not insurmountable. With the P&J literally on the doorstep of the airport, and easy access to the new city by-pass road, access to the venue would have been straightforward.
3. Hotel Rooms
As the Oil Capital of Europe, Aberdeen is awash with modern hotel accommodation, particularly close to the airport. Aberdeen has been accommodating thousands of Europeans that work in the oil industry for decades.
So what went wrong? How did Aberdeen not make the shortlist when it was anticipated that Aberdeen would easily make the shortlist and possibly even win the right to host the competition? There are a few suspicious candidates with questions to answer:
Nicola Sturgeon (First Minister of Scotland)
Never one to shy away from financially and politically backing her political heartlands like Glasgow in preference to cities like Aberdeen which have far fewer SNP supporters, one might ask whether she deliberately threw her financial and political clout behind the Glasgow bid in preference to Aberdeen.
One might have thought that the BBC would have supported the Aberdeen bid having recently successfully hosted the Sports Personality of the Year award at the P&J in December 2019. That said, when there are umpteen other UK cities in the running, the BBC were always going to favour an English city over a Scottish one. One wonders whether the BBC staff simply thought it too much of a journey to travel as far north as Aberdeen, considering that most English folk think "up north" ends at Manchester. Perhaps their last foray up to Aberdeen was all too exhausting for them. So no "levelling up" here. One might ask why Aberdonians should even pay the ridiculously compulsory TV licence fee.
Aberdeen City Council
A strong candidate for the "we fu..ed up" award. This is a City Council that cannot deliver anything on time for the city.
The new harbour - late (was due to begin operating in 2021)
The Low Emission Zone - late (was due to begin operating in May 2022; still no sign of it)
The new Union Terrace Gardens - late (no completion date; and massively disappointing)
And besides its lateness with everything it does, can anyone honestly say this is a city council that knows how to create a flourishing, modern, attractive city centre? A city centre awash with dilapidated empty buildings, with only one department store (M&S, with John Lewis and Debenhams recently pulling out), flip-flopping on how to control pedestrian and vehicular traffic on Union Street, and taking an eternity to decide on a "beach improvement plan". Perhaps the Council simply forgot to spell-check its application (it wouldn't surprise me).
There are quite a few people with questions to answer. Was it political interference or just pure incompetence? Something smells rotten.