Complete with ceiling lights, a steady flow of champagne and a path of candle-filled lanterns guiding our path, the Tate Britain was last night decked out for one of the biggest City shindigs of the year last night. The annual party of Roland Rudd’s Finsbury PR made its triumphant return to the cosy environs of the museum in full style. Guests strolled past a violet-lit, upside-down aeroplane hanging from the ceiling to the central lobby, where a sizeable chunk of Rudd’s two dozen FTSE 100 clients had gathered for drinks and high jinks.

Your Capitalist was there, watching as the axles of business – at least, its more champagne-fuelled side – were greased. Speculation that Finsbury would ruthlessly shed its New Labour credentials in favour of this coalition fad proved groundless, as we spotted only the regular Tory attendees.

And, of course, the dark prince of New Labour himself – Peter Mandelson – was seen gliding across the floor. Smoothly, he sailed into a conversation with RBS honcho Stephen Hester. “How are you?” exclaimed the lord as if the two were old friends. “I’ve just come back from China.”

His impeccable black tie drew queries – “off to the Italian ambassador’s”, he said airily. But what was the old hand doing in China? Apparently embracing his “John the Baptist” role, as he put it, but further specifics remained a mystery.

“Does he still think he’s running RBS?” one chairman asked as the Lord peeled Hester off from the crowd.

And Sainsbury’s chief executive Justin King strolled the floor displaying his heart on his sleeve – or lapel – in the form of a huge badge bearing the supermarket’s logo (and kindly enlarged to fit the clumsy Olympic equivalent).

As Centrica chairman Roger Carr deployed his charming smile to another guest and former Lloyds boss Sir Victor Blank made a fashionably late entrance, Nat Rothschild’s BMW pulled up at the Tate’s steps. For some, the evening was still young.

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