Keith’s Column: The Chancellor’s Tipple
Monday, 27th April 2015
At the Prince we have a good selection of single malts with about 30 different presentations on the bar. My favourite is the smoky, peaty dram that is Talisker Distillers Edition from the Isle of Skye. Some of our staff prefer the sweeter notes of Speyside whilst we have a few more mature customers who love the almost medicinal qualities of the Islay malts.
What’s all this got to do with the Chancellor of the Exchequer I hear you ask? Read on…
The Budget will be delivered on Wednesday March 18th. When it comes to politicians, one of my favourite “drink” related stories concerns ex Moseley resident, former Chancellor and Prince of Wales customer Ken Clarke.
It’s well known that Ken loves his beer, jazz and cigars, but he is also a whisky fan and his favourite tipple is Glenfarclas a 30 year, single malt we keep on the bar at the Prince.
MPs are not allowed to drink in the chamber of The House of Commons. The only exception to this, given the historical length of the speech, is for the Chancellor on Budget Day.
Latter day Chancellors have shown their true colours by their choice of drink. We have had the pathetic, politically correct, Alistair Darling, drinking Thames tap water. Obviously no fun down the pub afterwards! Gordon Brown was worse. He was true to his Scottish roots, but no friend of the whisky industry, as he chose a bottle of Highland Spring Mineral Water as his regular companion on his big day.
No we need to go back to the Tories for some proper refreshment. Norman Lamont sipped on a G&T, but Ken Clarke’s preferred tipple was a quadruple measure of Glenfarclas. That’s the spirit! In fact, once Ken was a good way through his speech, and his whisky, he became the only Chancellor in history to reduce the tax on whisky. He did this in two successive years in the mid 1990’s. So we must ask, was this Government Policy or just the whisky talking?
So what will George Osbourne be drinking come Budget Day? Who knows but let’s hope he helps the British brewing industry by cutting the duty on beer. Now I’ll drink to that.