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Top 10 statements that came back to bite their author

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23.08.2019

This list was inspired by a colleague who asked where the phrase “burning injustices” in a Jeremy Corbyn speech originally came from (it was a reference to Theresa May’s words in Downing Street when she became prime minister). And thanks to Jonathan Portes, who proposed a similar, overlapping Top 10 of people whose most famous statement, in their field of expertise, was wrong – which certainly applies to the first two.

1. “Stock prices have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau.” Irving Fisher (described by Joseph Schumpeter as “the greatest economist the United States has ever produced”), nine days before the Wall Street Crash, 1929. Nominated by Jonathan Portes.

2. “Earlier on today apparently a woman rang the BBC and said she had heard a hurricane was on the way. Well, if you are watching, don’t worry, there isn’t.” Michael Fish, BBC meteorologist, hours before the storm of 15-16 October 1987. Thanks also to Nick Rich and Henry Peacock.

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