Captain Moonlight: Green curtains

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THINGS are looking bad for the old place at the moment, I grant you, but just occasionally you do come across something that gives hope, an indication that those qualities that made this country great have not fallen entirely into desuetude. The Bank of England's green curtains, for instance. A small unassuming pair, they are normally kept tightly drawn on a wall near the trading room. But, on those days, such as last Tuesday, when a cut in the minimum lending rate is announced, a parlour steward draws them aside to reveal a simple wooden frame containing a card with the new rate on it. At the end of the day the card is removed and the curtains drawn once more until the next announcement. There is absolutely no practical significance to this, as the announcement is actually made via the Reuter screens. A tradition of awesome antiquity, then? It began in 1981. Makes you proud.