Wednesday, March 22, 2006



Our current Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown, presents his budget today. Gordon is not renowned as a colourful character so I thought it might be an opportune time to look at some of his predecessors. So here are things you may not know about Chancellors of the Exchequer.

1. Who was the only Chancellor to be assassinated in office?
2. Which Chancellor abolished income tax (there are two answers)?
3. Which re-introduced it?
4. Which Chancellor proposed to abolish income tax but never managed it?
5. Which Chancellor, when increasing tax on alcohol, asserted that “he was sorry that the price of malt liquor, now a necessity of life, should be raised on the public”?
6. Which Chancellor fought an illegal duel with the then Foreign Secretary on Putney Heath?
7. Which Chancellor died bankrupt?
8. Which Chancellor’s resignation was regarded with relief even by his own friends?
9. Which Chancellor was expelled from school for fighting?
10. Which Chancellor was also a novelist?
11. Who was the first Chancellor to put all of his proposed tax changes into a single bill (now the Finance Bill but then the Customs and Inland Revenue Bill)?
12. Which future Chancellor was fined 10/- (50p in today’s money but worth a great deal more in 1870 when the fine was imposed then in 2006) for assaulting a police officer?
13. Which Chancellor once told his sister-in-law that he only liked “rough women who dance and sing and drink – the rougher the better”?
14. Which Chancellor served for the shortest period (and never presented a budget)?
15. Which Chancellor proudly proclaimed that he “had not a drop of blood in his veins which was not Scottish”? (clue: not Gordon Brown)

Answers next week for those who cannot work them out.

Robert W Maas


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