Monday, 11 October 2010

Voices from another age

Duff Cooper continues to enthral and repel in equal measure:

I had to present the OBE this morning to a young woman, Mlle. de Veye, who had shown great heroism tending the wounded under fire. It is remarkable how very plain heroines usually are. I suppose they have less to lose.

What a charmer. He's not keen on decadent eating habits either:

I went to the Royal Empire Society at 1 o'clock, where I had an unpleasant experience called a 'sandwich lunch' which lasted only half an hour.…I was glad when it was over.

Not a Pret kind of guy, Duff. Luncheon for him consisted of several Dukes and a couple of mistresses tucking into foie gras, caviar, larks' tongues and otters' noses, all washed down with gallons of Pol Roger and Pétrus.

Talking of Tory Scum drinking Pétrus, despite the party conference delegates being told to quaff nothing posher than Vimto, given that the majr announcement of the week was snatching child benefits from the middle classes and most benefits from the poor, they still managed to have a Pétrus party - bottles costing somewhere between £1000-3000 per bottle.

In the media uproar over benefit cuts the tiny headline that must have caused Team Cameron most heartburn was "Forget the crisis, open the Petrus". In fewer than 100 words the Telegraph told party activists Cameron had attended an "election thank you" dinner at Simpsons, a fancy Birmingham restaurant. Hosted by the über-rich outgoing party treasurer Michael Spencer, it was attended by just 40 people. But one them blabbed a fatal detail. The leadership, which this week raised the price of white cider and clobbered £45k families, quaffed heroic quantities of Chateau Petrus, one of the great Bordeaux reds.
• Avoiding triumphalist gaffes like this is what street-smart tabloid ruffians like Andy Coulson and Alastair Campbell are hired to do. That's why champagne receptions have been banned in Brum. Recession-hit voters may never have heard of Petrus, but they do realise that at £1,000 a bottle (the Torygraph's estimate) it's not white cider. The Mail, which also got the story (so it was definitely a malicious leak), puts the mark-up at £1,800. Wine buffs say a vintage 2000 Petrus actually costs £3,000, plus duty and carriage – unless billionaire Spencer or the restaurant were stiffed by Petrus fraudsters (they do exist). Either way it is a Marie Antoinette moment that Ed Miliband, himself a half-of-bitter puritan, will be eager to make famous.

No information yet on whether Uppal attended. As a secret multimillionaire, he could certainly afford to.

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