UK

Michael Gove Says We Shouldn't Treat Experts With 'Distaste'

He also said the Brexit vote was like 'the civil war without muskets'.

28/12/2016 10:15 GMT

He famously said we’ve “had enough of experts” in the run-up to the EU referendum - but Michael Gove now seems to have changed his tune a little.

The former justice secretary and Brexit campaigner has now stated that, while we should challenge them, we should also respect “experts”.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Gove said: “We need to make sure that the taking back control and the exercise of a democratic restoration that we’ve had doesn’t descend into iconoclasm and a distaste for elites and experts simply on the basis of their expertise or their success in the past.

“What I believe in is radically challenging them but not attempting to overturn them out of sheer distrust or distaste.

“And that, I think, is the great corrective of the Brexit debate of 2016, that those who exercise power now realise that they have to justify their hold on power by whether or not they’ve delivered.”

Gove also likened the vote to leave the EU to the 17th century English civil war, albeit without any actual armed combat.

He said: “I think that the Brexit vote, the vote to leave the European Union was a bit like the English civil war fought without muskets.

“In that sense, the Parliamentarian side - our side - won.”

Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
Michael Gove said there should not be a 'distaste' for experts

Gove famously said during the EU referendum campaign that people have “had enough of experts”, but he went on to claim on BBC1’s Andrew Marr Show that he was “unfairly” quoted.

He said that he had been referring only to a “sub-class” of economists and pollsters.

“In the now notorious comment that I made..the point I made is not that all experts are wrong, that’s manifestly nonsense – expert engineers, expert doctors, expert physicists.

“But there is a sub-class of experts, particularly economists, pollsters, social scientists, who really do need to reflect on some of the mistakes that they’ve made in the same way as a politician I’ve reflected on some of the mistakes that I’ve made.”

He claimed “the subsequent quotation was unfair”, but conceded “I wasn’t particularly adroit in that interview”.