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Ferment or foment, controversy’s brewing

[30 Sept 2015] Labour’s new shadow chancellor John McDonnell is an avowed Marxist who wants to nationalize the banks, railways and utilities. His Who’s Who entry speaks of ‘fermenting the overthrow of capitalism’.

It’s always fun to be reminded that Who’s Who entries are written by the subjects themselves with barely any subediting, which is probably why former spouses, jail sentences and inconvenient children are so routinely omitted.

In this case, McDonnell must have meant (as it were) ‘fomented’. Well, he’ll never get a better chance of fomenting the overthrow of capitalism than he has now. The public will give their verdict on his plans at the 2020 election – unless the revolution arrives before then, of course.

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