|Sir Stafford and the Egyptian sterling balance|
I have a formal portrait of Grand Admiral Dönitz kicking around somewhere just for this post, but now that the time has come, I much prefer General Gordon. Egypt's £402 million in sterling holdings (as of 1945.)
Okay, that was facetious. Sir Stafford didn't throw himself on a spear. He went off to a spa in Switzerland for treatment of his colitis, and stayed there until he died of cancer in 1952. Severe colitis seems to have had a disproportionate effect on mid-century policy makers, and a search of the literature turned it up as one symptom of cocaine abuse. I wouldn't have been looking if I didn't have a nasty, suspicious mind, but what can I say? In any case, the deeper irony might be that Cripps should have adopted Gordon's solution. It's hard to see how staying in Egypt over the protests of the Egyptians and at great cost to the sterling balance benefitted anyone, and it certainly didn't benefit the Egyptians, who saw their trapped and alienated balance eroded by inflation and, of course, devaluation.