How Jewish is Peter Mandelson?

October 8, 2008

Peter Mandelson's latest appointment to the Cabinet last week by long-time enemy Gordon Brown shocked the nation. While everyone else was wondering how Brown could possibly work with Mandy, we were wondering how haimishe he was.

Against: His mother's family are very much rooted in Labour's non-Jewish aristocracy. His maternal grandfather was Herbert Morrison, later Lord Morrison - a Cabinet minister in Clement Attlee's Labour government, and eventually deputy prime minister and leader of the House. It is therefore fair to say that Mandelson is halachically socialist. Young Mandelson certainly did not display any kosher credentials. He was brought up as an atheist, and instead of joining Habonim he was recruited by the Young Communist League.

For: Mandelson was raised in the kosher environs of Hendon. His father George Mandelson, known as Tony, was Jewish. And not merely Jewish: he was the advertising manager at the JC, noch. Tony's father, Norman, also worked at the paper. Mandelson himself spent much of his childhood popping into the JC, and declared that he "experienced the warmth of Jewish family life". However, this could all be spin.

Verdict: A narrow defeat.

So we say he is 42% Jewish.

Last updated: 4:06pm, September 23 2009