22 NOVEMBER 1997, Page 32

The fudge box

A KINDLY reader pleads in mitigation for Hugh Dalton, the Chancellor who 50 years ago (as I was saying last week) leaked his budget and lost his job. It was all a misun- derstanding, I am told, based on newspaper deadlines. The crucial edition of the Star had been held up for a racing result because a horse had bolted, so the fudge box (headed 'Stop Press') was still open and carried the leak. I would add that Attlee as prime minister made no effort to shield Dalton and was ready to discard him. Even so, the story is worthy of my racing corre- spondent, Captain Threadneedle.