Let ’em drink champagne?

This is a wine cooler, but it’s not hard to imagine a bottle of Veuve Clicquot chilling comfortably here. At least, so some House of Lords peers might imagine.

A recent ruckus arose when, to save expenses in straitened economic times, a plan was proposed to choose a single bubbly brand to serve at both U.K. legislative chambers. Egads, several peers said, balking at the House of Commons brand. Turns out British taxpayers subsidize the House of Lords’ Champagne consumption to the tune of roughly five bottles for each of its 791 peers a year. Then, a member of the Lords’ Refreshment Committee—which handles the Champagne contract—offered this handy tip to Britain’s struggling masses: Eat porridge instead of sugary cereal.        —Diane Richard, writer, Dec. 17

Image: Peers of the House of Lords, Oli Scarff/PA Archive

Source: Katrin Bennhold, “Save a Few Pennies on Champagne? Lawmakers in Britain’s House of Lords Are Aghast,” New York Times, December 16, 2014