Steve Dinneen
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HEDGE fund managers rightly feel they are being persecuted by creeping EU legislation, which is suffocating their industry.

But Hugh Hendry, a Scottish fund manager at Eclectica Asset Management, may be suffering from a touch of hyperbole. In the latest issue of Bloomberg Markets he likens the plight of the humble hedgie manager to the persecution of gypsies under Nicolas Sarkozy in France.

Hendry, who is often referred to as the most high-profile Scot in the hedge fund business, came into the public eye when he railed against government bailouts.

His appearance on Newsnight was notable for his rant against the “socialists I meet when I travel first class”, who blame the hedge fund industry for the woes of countries like Greece needing to be bailed out.

Coinciding with the gloomy news that the economy has retracted 0.5 per cent in the fourth quarter, The Capitalist received an unwanted gift in the post yesterday.

Commercial foreign exchange firm Moneycorp decided to celebrate the UK’s anniversary of exiting recession by reminding us how bad it all was... with a packet of Double Dip sherbet.

The chemical treat was accompanied by an equally depressing note reading: “Celebrations are marred by concerns around impending spending cuts, inflation data and the possibility of a double dip recession.

“The MPC pinned hope on a weak pound leading to an export recovery but 2011 looks a daunting prospect with a number of unanswered questions...”

The biggest worry though, is the subliminal message the sherbet treat sent. There was one extra bag free; does that make it a triple dip? At least if the economy does collapse all over again, The Capitalist can get a nice big sugar high.

If financial armageddon is nigh, it isn’t showing in Hong Kong.

A wine auction over the weekend by Sothebys and Acker, Merrall & Condit raised a staggering $25m, with 100 per cent of the lots being snapped up.

Prices ranged from market prices to 30 per cent premiums (although this is relatively conservative compared to the extraordinary Lafite sale of last year).

Either the rumours of the economy’s death have been greatly exaggerated, or these guys know something we don’t and they are stocking up on all the good booze to drown their sorrows.

Pub chain JD Wetherspoon prides itself on its modest prices and for catering for all sorts.

But staff at its flagship Marble Arch watering hole got more than they bargained for yesterday when in loped a towering, shaggy-haired customer with his right arm in a sling and addressing staff as if he owned the place.

The customer eventually proved to be none other than Wetherspoon’s millionaire chairman Tim Martin making an impromptu visit.

And as for his cast-enclosed arm? Martin was heard muttering something about an accident but no explanation was otherwise forthcoming.

But suspicions are high that he might have been on the piste.