The Third Leader: Stop wining

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The Independent Online

Hurricanes happening in Hampshire, the Credit Crunch continuing: is there to be no end to our present alliterative strife? First, the calamitous effect of cold air colliding with hot air coming, we understand, from the general direction of Bournemouth; next, reports that the City is staggering under the influence of a fall in the price of fine wines.

We are of a compassionate turn, down here in this space. We fully appreciate that one man's news item is another's disaster, especially when it is ripping off his roof, tearing down his trees, and making mayhem.

In a similar spirit, we gravely studied the news that a case of 1982 vintage Chateaux Lafite-Rothschild fell from £17,000 in July to £16,500 in August, and read with concern that the market in goods costing between £100,000 and £200,000 has "softened".

There was also an estimate of a 15 per cent cut in City bonuses, down from a total of £8bn to £7bn, and worries about the fine art market. I was reassured, though, to read that there were still Russians with millions available for such diversions and diversifications, and that Ferraris were still selling.

But. Compassion: attractive. Envy: not so. We shall concentrate on the roofless rather than the ruthless, be content that ours is comparatively intact, and be thankful that we are not in our cellars, staring sadly at our diminished '82.

Besides, perhaps there will be a trickle-down effect. But more likely the bonus-pinched, trouble-tossed universe masters will now start buying our modest quaffing stuff as well. You read it here first: wine queues: yes, a Rosé Run.

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