The Tories crack down; the French go Naked.

POSTED ON 12/10/2009

Following Tory Party chairman Eric Pickles’ lead in imposing a champagne ban at the Tory Party conference in Manchester, a Tory government will increase taxes on champagne and, in an effort to crack down on late-night licensing, bring in stringent new anti-crime measures members to stop Tory party members getting drunk on bubbly and stealing bottles of champagne. At the Tory Party conference in Manchester, the Shadow home secretary Chris Grayling, demonstrating his knowledge of popular culture by comparing Tory party delinquency to The Wire, told the conference that he would impose a new "alco-tax" levy on retailers selling drinks after 10.30pm and allow local councils to revoke licenses of shops that attracted groups of Tories.

DC and his tippleDC and his tipple

While Grayling said the tax rises would not affect "responsible drinkers" he said they would "call time on the drinks that fuel anti-social behaviour" like that of the Tory Party member arrested after being accused of failing to pay the bill for a £150 bottle of champagne at the party's conference. ‘He had apparently drunk one bottle and was about to drink another’, said a police spokesman. ‘Yes, a real Champagne Charlie’, commented another. Meanwhile, a string of Tory MPs and party workers openly flouted the ban by downing bottles of bubbly in the conference bars. The most high-profile Tory to be caught out with a glass of champagne was leader David Cameron, who will consider his position after being pictured enjoying champagne at a party at the Radisson Edwardian Hotel. Under the proposed Tory legislation, all party members causing alcohol-fuelled trouble will have their mobile phones and bicycles confiscated, said Grayling. Even the leader won’t be spared.

Meanwhile, Greenpeace has succeeded in getting no fewer than 713 French men and women to go sans-culottes in the vineyards in order to warn the world about the impact of global warming on the French wine industry. The inappropriately named Spencer Tunick, who specializes in getting people en masse to remove their clothing in the name of art, managed to get them to "sit-in" to highlight the impact of climate change on French wine. Warmer temperatures mean that the harvest is taking place earlier. According to a recent Greenpeace report, ‘wines end up having higher sugar levels and alcohol content while retaining less acids - which means they are unbalanced with an overripe flavour and heavier texture’.

Go Naked in the World, treehugger.comGo Naked in the World,

Perhaps so, and yet perfect weather conditions, with a warm summer and sunny, dry conditions at harvest time, indicate that the 2009 Bordeaux vintage could be one of the best on record. And not just Bordeaux, but other French wine regions are also cautiously optimistic that 2009 could be a great year for French wine. They could certainly do with a good vintage after exports of their wines, champagne especially, have been on the slide in favour of the New World. Maybe the intrepid vignerons who took their clothes off for Spencer Tunick didn’t need to be in quite such a rush after all.

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