GREAT BRITAIN: Back In Bleak House

In theory Britain's Budget is one of her deepest State secrets. Only the Prime Minister and half a dozen of the highest Treasury officers are supposed to know its make-up before it is "opened" in the House of Commons. Until the moment of delivery it is kept locked in an ancient red morocco budget box. To be sure that the box will open at the right moment, a Government locksmith calls annually on the Chancellor of the Exchequer to oil the lock and fiddle with the key.

Despite all these precautions, somebody must have peeked last week because just...

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