The Italians covered up all their marbles.
But the French looked in their trousers and actually found some balls for once. A bit.
A lunch between the French and Iranian presidents in Paris has been scrapped after the hosts refused to take wine off the menu.
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani had been due to eat lunch with French President Francois Hollande in an upmarket restaurant as part of Mr Rohani’s tour of Europe – but negotiations broke down after the Iranians requested a halal, alcohol-free meal.
Obviously if they had really been bold they’d have reacted like Winston Churchill when he faced exactly the same request from King Abdul Aziz ibn Saud. Prior to a meeting in 1945 the Saudi King sent word to Churchill that “the King could not allow drinking or smoking in his presence”. Churchill replied:
I was the host and I said that if it was his religion that made him say such things, my religion prescribed as an absolute sacred ritual smoking cigars and drinking alcohol before, after and if need be during, all meals and the intervals between them. Complete surrender.
1945, 17 February, Lake Fayyum, Egypt (Gilbert, Life, 825)
Update 31 Jan: The twitter version of the Churchill quote has achieved some mild level of virality: more RT’s are always welcome!