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Great Mistakes of History

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We now look forward into the future: the year is 2023. It's time to see how things worked out for famous names who screwed up bigtime.

Rev John Bradford (1510-1555): "There but for the grace of God, go I".
Later he was burnt at the stake.

Maj Gen John Sedgwick (1813-1864) was unimpressed by Confederate sniper fire. "They couldn't hit an elephant at this distance!", he joked.
Battle of Spotsylvania, 1864.

1876: Western Union, offered the patent for Alexander Graham Bell's new invention at a knockdown price, reply: "This 'telephone' has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us”.
Two years later in 1878 they couldn't buy it back for $25 million.

Later in 1876: Sir William Preece, chief engineer of Britain's General Post Office said, "The Americans have need of the telephone, but we do not. We have plenty of messenger boys".

Harry Warner, of Warner Bros, 1927: "Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?".

June, 1944: Rommell decides to go back home to Germany and celebrate his wife's birthday as Normandy is so quiet.

Decca Records, 1961: an executive turns down The Beatles. "Guitar groups are on the way out."

Tony Blair, 1998: "In the Dome we have a creation that, I believe, will truly be a beacon to the world"*.
The Millenium Dome cost £800m, stood empty for years, and had to be given away in the end. It was a laughing-stock for a decade, popularly regarded as the acme of government lunacy.
* as reported [1]

Gordon Brown, UK Chancellor, 1999: "Liquidity is better than gold"*.
He sold off much of Britain's gold reserves in the period 1999-2002. Unfortunately, gold prices had bottomed out at the lowest point for twenty years and later recovered, ending at six times the value per ounce. The error cost the UK £billions and is known as the 'Brown Bottom'.
* paraphrased [2]

Tony Blair, 2003: "Iraq has Weapons of Mass Destruction and is a dangerous threat to the world"*.
After the invasion it turned out Saddam Hussein had three camels and a couple of rusty old tanks. The brief war that removed him from power, which mainly consisted of the travel time to get there, was followed by a power vacuum leading to a civil war that destroyed the country and also destabilised the entire region. Much of the Middle East is now in turmoil as a result and probably will be for about a century, which created a perfect home for terrorrist organisations on a scale not seen before, and far more threatening to the world than Hussein's Iraq ever was.
* paraphrased [3]

Jeremy Mean, MHRA, 2013: "Nobody needs an e-cigarette"*.
Ten years later 100 million people were using them. No attributable deaths could be identified apart from someone electrified in the dark while trying to insert their ecig into an electric socket to charge it, after taking an MHRA licensed pharmaceutical.
* interpretation [4]


[1] It is absolutely untrue that Blair was connected in any way with the construction contracts, and such allegations were unfounded rumours.

[2] Everyone knew at the time that selling the gold reserves was a disastrous mistake. There have been unsubstantiated rumours that allege the sale took place in order to benefit a private bank with which Brown was associated. Such rumours were fabricated by political opponents and have no foundation.

[3] Intelligence services are rumoured to have known at the time that there was no security reason to invade Iraq, and it is alleged that evidence was fabricated to provide a reason. This is associated with the alleged episode of the 'sexed-up report' for the UK government, which is believed to have eventually led to the unexplained death of the author. No genuine reason for the invasion was ever located, leading to a possibility that the oil and arms industries may have been involved since they were the principal beneficiaries. Nobody else gained: the whole region was destabilised, hundreds of thousands of lives were lost and the count will probably total millions eventually as the Middle East will be in turmoil for decades as a result. Due to the multiplication of terrorism throughout the region; the ensuing costs of the destabilisation; the millions of lives lost; the incalculable harm to the region; the intense hatred of the West in the region as a direct result; it seems the main effect has been that the world was seriously harmed by the invasion of Iraq. It was alleged that Bush and Blair started the war in order to assist the oil, arms and pharmaceutical industries at a time when profits needed a boost, especially in the UK as the country was partially bankrupt after the Brown Bottom; but such rumours are the usual fabrications by opponents.

[4] No one can work out why the MHRA/Dept of Health pursues policies that are disastrous for public health and that will result in the death of millions of UK citizens if implemented (Prof Britton said that five million lives would be saved in the UK just among those alive today if all smokers switched to e-cigarettes). Although Britton's figures are theoretical and could not be achieved in practice, 50% of his estimate is certainly a practical possibility. Therefore it is not unreasonable to estimate that several million preventable deaths will occur as a direct result of the policy to eliminate consumer sales of e-cigarettes pursued by the Dept of Health and the MHRA, an agency within the Department. Public health experts are amazed by the policy and cannot explain it.

Separately, and without any alleged connection whatsoever, it is rumoured that the MHRA is the UK's best example of a regulatory captured agency and is for all practical purposes owned by the pharmaceutical industry; that the industry would eventually lose up to £1bn annually as a result of e-cigarette use (due to sickness falling and the smoker treatment drug trade collapsing); that Jeremy Mean will move to a highly-paid job funded by pharma at a later date; that the revolving-door corruption ploy is the reason for staff movements between regulator and industry; and that there is a link between all these factors. Such rumours are the usual fabrications, though, as there is no evidence for them. We absolutely disclaim all support for any such unfounded rumours.


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