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16th september 1992-the date Britain was ignominiously forced out of the European Exchange Rate Mechanism-is etched into the memory of the economic policy-making class. The government tried to pretend that nothing much had happened-except the exposure of mythical “structural faults” in the ERM. And few members of the public were turned on by the esoteric arguments about monetary regimes. Even among businessmen, the day was remembered mostly for the shock when interest rates were briefly raised to 15 per cent in an attempt to stop the rout. Nevertheless, the main pillar of economic policy had collapsed; and a sense of…

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