David Cameron marries a Rothschild

25 January 2013

9:26 AM

25 January 2013

9:26 AM

In the Jewish joke a matchmaker calls on a poor tailor living in a Tsarist shtetl in the middle of nowhere. He tells the old guy that he wants to arrange the marriage of his middle daughter to the heir to the Rothschild fortune, no less.

The tailor isn’t impressed. He cannot marry off his middle daughter until he has married off her older sister, he says. He does not want his beloved girl to move far from him, and everyone knows the Rothschilds live in Paris and London. In any case, he is not sure about this Rothschild fellow: he has heard he is irreligious and a drunk.

The matchmaker answers all the objections with great patience until, eventually, the tailor relents.


‘Excellent,’ says the matchmaker, ‘now all I have to do is talk to the Rothschilds.’*

David Cameron came to power determined to keep quiet about the European Union. William Hague warned him that it was a bomb that could explode in his face and destroy his government. But the Conservative Party would not listen. It told Cameron he had the power to tear up treaties and renegotiate Britain’s obligations. It answered every objection the prime minister could think of until – at last – Cameron relented and agreed to a policy he once thought impossible.

‘Excellent,’ said the Tories, ‘now all you have to do is talk to the EU.’

*As told in Masha’s Gessen’s chilling portrait of Putin The Man Without a Face.

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Show comments
  • Binding&Hoche

    This Conservative party legal advice..was it outsourced to a firm employing Ken Clarke, the former conveyancing solicitor ?

  • Ian Dunn

    bypass the eu and just talk to the rothschilds

  • rndtechnologies786

    Good thought.

  • Ian Young

    Nick Cohen is in danger of courting tin-foil hatted nutters by mentioning the Rothschilds and the EU in the same article. Just don’t make any Bilderberg Group jokes.

    • Stephan Williams

      You’re correct of course. We wouldn’t want to step on any toes, Ian Young, would we? I especially liked your “tin-foil hat” reference. That really convinced me you were on the good guy’s side. Tell me Ian, which government agency or private corporation pays your salary?

  • Interloper

    Good story. I have spent a career working with the largest EU companies. The concept of European solidarity is completely embedded in the professional classes of central Europe. They have worked very hard for many years to create this. In the UK we don’t get this at all. Cameron is very badly advised. From their perspective, this will all look like a crazy joke from Monty Python.

    • GenJackRipper

      Lucky then that there are still some sort of crazy old reactionary ideas of “british voters gets to decide Britains future” hanging around.

  • Paddy Briggs

    That’s very good Nick. The Speccy seems to think that its up to the EU to accommodate us! Final line of their Leader on the issue says “It now falls to the hierarchy of the European Union to give us their best offer”. Assuming that this is not a joke and that the Leader writer is being serious it is a dumfoundingly ignorant, arrogant, pompous statement. That’s not how it works – obviously What sort of fantasy world do some at Old Queen Street live in?

    • SM

      It’s very funny and entertainingly written. But the EU is hardly a Rothschild to Britain’s poor tailor, is it.

      Of course London can’t just demand everything bends to accommodate Britain, but it is also of some importance to the EU. I’m sure it’s not a one-sided “bye-bye London, no-one cares”, even if France may spin that line.

      Some British Europhiles show an embarrassing undue deference to the rest of the EU, as if we shouldn’t have any opinion on its structural untenability and democratic abuses. It needs reform — as EU members, it is our right and duty to say so. Surely it is a reasonable position, to be in favour of being an EU member, but not at all costs, like some slavish attachment to a Soviet dream?

      • Nick Cohen

        No I agree Paddy, but the idea the rewriting EU treaties is easy…Well, we’ll see

        • David Lindsay

          Of course, we never shall see, because Cameron is going to lose the 2015 Election.

          The 2010 Labour intake is decidedly un-Blairite, and the 2015 intake will be even less so, so Ed Miliband and Ed “Buy British” Balls (on today’s World at One, he sounded like Peter Shore) could and should simply legislate back to the independence necessary for the restoration of One Nation: the Welfare State, workers’ rights, trade unionism, the co-operative movement and wider mutualism, consumer protection, strong communities, fair taxation, full employment, pragmatic public ownership, proper local government, a powerful Parliament, the organic Constitution, national and parliamentary sovereignty, civil liberties, law and order, the Union, the ties that bind these Islands, the Commonwealth, economic patriotism, energy independence, balanced migration, the countryside, traditional structures and methods of education, traditional moral and social values, a realist foreign policy which includes strong national defence, peace (including the total eradication of nuclear, radiological, chemical and biological weapons), an unhysterical approach to climate change, and the need for a base of real property for every household from which to resist both over-mighty commercial interests and an over-mighty State.

          But, and I really would very much like to know what Nick Cohen thought about this, imagine, just imagine, that Cameron pulled this one off. Imagine that we arrived at a point where the two options on a ballot paper were a renegotiated settlement acceptable to his lot, and outright withdrawal.

          That would unite the Left on the EU like nothing since a section of it first
          inexplicably decided that “Europe” was a bulwark against Thatcherism (several years later, Thatcher herself even more oddly seemed to begin to agree with them), much as there have always been a few people on the Old Right who have thought of it as a bulwark against Americanism.

          For if the only alternative were whatever could be sold to the remains of the Conservative Party, then the only viable option would be whatever else was on offer. Namely, withdrawal.

          As would then be advocated in the strongest possible terms by the whole of the Left. It would be the Thatcherites who would be campaigning to stay in. Well, of course. It was ever thus.

      • Ipsmick

        Actually, I suspect it is. What right-minded country would wish to have anything to do with dysfunctional, class-ridden, economically-catastrophic, vainglorious Britain? We’ll be thrown out of the EU at a time to suit it.