Inside the cabal that rules the world

Claire Calman pokes fun at conspiracy theories

December 24, 2020 12:00

As we know, the internet is abuzz with rumours of an international cabal of power brokers who manipulate governments, stock markets, the price of oil etc. There are competing theories but many posit that the world is secretly run by a clique of mysterious, affluent men who are, of course, Jewish.

The truth, as is so often the case, is more low-key. The secret cabal, in fact gathers once a week (usually a Thursday, around teatime) at the home of one Miriam Feinstein, whose pleasant, detached house sits in a quiet cul-de-sac not far from the front on the eastern side of Bournemouth.

‘The girls’ as they like to call themselves (although they range in age from 52 to 78) have continued to meet in person during the pandemic — at widely spaced intervals, easy enough in Miriam’s capacious living-room. Let’s take a closer look at last week’s meeting.

Miriam: So… Vladimir called me this morning. He’s wondering if we can boost the price of oil?

Ruthie: He knows that Denmark is stopping all new exploration? That should limit Europe’s capacity going forward. We’ve made it look like a climate-change thing.

Miriam: Yes, yes, but he wants us to see about reducing supply from the Middle East too. Devorah — can you look into that?

Devorah: Sure, leave it with me. Is that poppy-seed cake? Next to the Dutch apple.

Miriam: I think so – Gaby brought it.

Gaby: You haven’t tried it yet?

Devorah (patting her tummy): I had a slice of the moist ginger.

Gaby: You think God created so many types of cake for you to ignore? Take, take.

Naomi: Did Vladimir get the gifts we sent for Masha and Katya?

Miriam: Ssh-ssh, you know he’s very hush-hush about the girls. But yes, and he’s sent us something nice on ice from the Caspian. It’s in the cool-box in the hall – one pot each on your way out. Right, let’s see, next item. How’s it going in the US? Lorraine – have you spoken to Donny?

Lorraine: Mmm (through a mouthful of bridge roll topped with salmon). He’s not going to concede formally. No way, never. It’s part of his schtick.

Ruthie: He knows that legally it doesn’t matter? Come 20th January, he’d better have his bags packed.

Lorraine: Sure he knows, but it’s like talking to my Benjy when he was little. You say, “You’ve had your turn, let someone else play with it now. You have to learn to share.” But he stamps his foot and gets all gefrunzled.

Miriam: Oy vey. So….strategy?

Lorraine: We’ve got M to switch his focus to Mar-a-Lago, get involved in the refurb. The designer’s getting him excited about new gold-plated pillars everywhere. Basically, we’ll just keep waving shiny things at him to keep his attention on that and away from the grown-up stuff. Damage limitation. Then we’ll try to unravel the damage with China. That’s going to take a bit of doing but I’ve got an in with Liyuan, Xi’s wife, via my husband’s cousin Manny, who exports handbags and leather goods to her so I’ll get on it.

Miriam: Great. Simone – where are we on Brexit? I have to say – not your finest work. Frankly, it’s farpotshket. Why?

Simone: It’s Emmanuel. He’s obsessed with Marine Le Pen. He thinks he’s got to play hard-ball over every single sardine to stop support haemorrhaging over to her. If he doesn’t, then the gilets jaunes will be out again and they’ll blockade the ports. Angela’s going meshuggeh – what are they supposed to do with all those BMWs and Audis if they can’t offload them onto the British?

Miriam: Ok, well, just see what you can do. I’ll give you Michel’s mobile – maybe you can get some leverage there?

Rochelle (arriving late): Sorry, sorry – the bus was only a third full but they said it was at capacity. I brought luscious lemon cake.

Miriam (pouring her a cup of coffee): Evelyn Rose?

Rebecca: Of course Evelyn Rose! You think at my age I’m going to start experimenting with recipes off the internet? What did I miss? You’ve done oil? America?

Miriam: Yes, and Brexit.

Rebecca: I’ve not missed the vaccine update?

Miriam: No – just getting to it now. The Pfizer vaccine isn’t suitable for conveying a microchip for universal control unfortunately – due to its having to be stored at -70°C. It seems to create glitches.

Ruthie: Actually, the Oxford one looks like a better candidate for this. It won’t give us the same level of reach in the developed nations, but we don’t need 100% anyway, and it should give us very good infiltration of the developing world, so I suggest we expedite this and move it to the next stage.

Miriam: Agreed. Quick vote?

There’s a unanimous show of hands.

Miriam: Excellent. Right. Now, can anyone else host next week? Saul’s booked a man in to redecorate this room.

Lorraine: You want the number of the Mar-el-Lago designer? You could take a bit of gold in here.

Miriam: We’re going with Farrow and Ball Pavilion Grey for most of it, but Cubic Shimmer wallpaper in the alcove and that end wall so trust me, there will be no shortage of gold. Now, who wants to try the Dutch Apple?


Claire Calman’s latest novel, Growing Up for Beginners, is out now. Twitter: 


December 24, 2020 12:00

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