US result is a champagne moment, but who for?
Few readers of this column will have been able to avoid the temptation this week to continually hit refresh, hoping for a morsel of news on the US election. Whether you’re red, blue or polka-dot, the zig and zag of the election results has been compelling theatre.
It has also, for some people, been rather profitable. I’m not talking here about those who have made grand bets on the market or jumped into stocks after it looked like things might be going in Joe Biden’s direction. That’s too much like hard work. I’m referring to those of my friends who have placed bets on the election result.
One friend in London placed a large wager on a Donald Trump win at 2/1. He managed to get out with a tidy profit before the Democrats started to win more states. The in-depth analysis behind his astute play: “Well, it seemed worth a punt.”
The election seemed worth a punt to me more than a year ago, when I got rather too drunk in Singapore’s Fullerton Hotel with an official from the US Treasury Department. As beers made way for champagne, we struck a bet on the outcome of the US election – the loser had to buy the winner a magnum of the finest bubbly.
When the big day came this week, and the votes started to come in, I reached out to the old chap and brought up our bet. Who would be forced to stump up for the oversized champagne bottle? We weren’t sure — and it’s not because the election result was still in doubt.
Although we both have clear memories of making the bet, the amount of alcohol consumed that night means neither of us actually remember which side we took. Is that a metaphor for the blurred lines between politicians in a two-party state? No. It’s simply a reminder not to get drunk with US Treasury employees.