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CITY TAKES AN OUTSIDE PUNT ON THE BUBBLY

AMUSED ripples radiated from the City yesterday following this column’s speculation as to what tipple George Osborne – likely to be the country’s next chancellor if the Tories win the election – might drink if he ends up presenting the next Budget.

It seems most readers agreed with The Capitalist’s prediction that Osborne would stick to boring old H2O, despite his traditional entitlement to something stronger while he presents his speech. (The current run of austerity started with Gordon Brown as chancellor, who drank Highland spring water in comparison to his Conservative predecessor Ken Clarke’s preference for a tot of Scotch whisky.)

“I’ve only ever seen George drink water at events,” mused one reader, racking his brains. “But if he were to drink, my money would be on him being a G&T man…”

“Definitely gin and tonic when he’s off duty, but I can hardly see him harking back to the old school by knocking back an alcoholic drink in the chamber,” another scribbled in.

The Tories themselves are keeping very quiet on the matter, though yet another interested party suggests a new tipple entirely – champagne.

“Given Osborne’s well-documented liking for hanging out with Rothschilds and kicking back on billionaires’ yachts – not to mention his Bullingdon Club history – the smart money’s got to be on the bubbly,” he chuckles.

Only time will tell.


HELL FIRE
Speaking of the Budget this morning, the spread betters – as usual – are having a field day by putting out markets on incumbent chancellor Alistair Darling’s every miniscule tic.

For those punters looking for truly long odds, Extrabet is offering 100/1 on Darling trotting out the phrase “the forces of hell”, which he recently used to describe a drubbing he received from Number 10. Nothing like reopening old wounds, eh?


FLYING HIGH
Musical chairs over at financial PR agency Buchanan, part of the WPP group, where Bobby Morse has replaced the long-serving Richard Oldworth as senior partner.

You’d have thought Oldworth, now executive chairman, would relish the chance to put his feet up a bit, but he insists he’ll still be as hands-on as ever with his big-name clients, including inter-dealer broker BGC Partners.

“No, I won’t be spending any more time on the golf course,” he laughs, ruefully.

HARD SPIRITS
Flying the flag for Blighty this week has been William Chase (above), the founder of posh snack brand Tyrrells – who netted an award at San Francisco’s World Spirits Competition for producing the world’s best vodka. Chase tells me his aim is now to make the finest gin in the world, too, out of his farm’s organic apples. Now that’s the kind of ambition The Capitalist would be happy to drink to…


BABY LOVE
To a glitzy do last night at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, where Veuve Clicquot champagne unveiled its 2010 business woman of the year.

Wresting the crown from last year’s winner, Random House chief Gail Rebuck, was Laura Tenison (right), founder of pregnancy and baby retail group JoJo Maman Bébé – also commended by the judges for her innovative social responsibility programmes, including working with a Mozambique infant mortality charity.