27/02/2017 Newsnight


27/02/2017

With Emily Maitlis. A former Tory leader calls John Major bitter and sad over Britain exiting the EU, plus the war on 'experts', and the The White Helmets.


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Transcript


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John Major hits out at the Brexiteers, accusing them

:00:00.:00:07.

of attempting to silence the 48% who voted Remain.

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Freedom of speech is absolute in our country. It's not arrogant or brazen

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or elitist or remotely delusional to express concern about our future

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after Brexit. First amongst cheerleaders,

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Ian Duncan Smith tells me the former Prime Minister sounds angry

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and strangely bitter. Also tonight: The experts are

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terrible. I think the people in this country have had enough of experts.

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We kept hearing winning politicians say they've had

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What does Michael Gove think of experts now?

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Many of those making assertions on the Remain side were relying on

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people meekly submitting to authority as though we were still in

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the prereformation Catholic Church rather than making proper arguments.

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We'll speak to those who think Mr Gove was putting his

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finger on something. And, of course, the Oscars.

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I'm sorry. There's a mistake. Moonlight you won Best Picture. No,

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not that, this... The Oscar winner Best Documentary

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is about the civilian We'll speak to one

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of the White Helmets. For the first time since the UK

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voted to leave the European Union, former Prime Minister,

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John Major, has spoken out of his He warned of a real risk that

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Government would not achieve all that it had

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promised from Brexit. He said a comprehensive deal

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was unlikely by 2019 and that a failure to deliver would result

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in further distrust He launched an excoriating attack

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on the cheerleaders for Brexit. He accused of shouting down

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the legitimate comment We'll hear response to this

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carefully-timed interjection from Iain Duncan Smith in a moment,

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first let's go to our Nick, as I was saying, you don't

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hear from John Major that often, what did you make of it? This is a

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significant speech. John Major is normally very careful to ration his

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interventions. He's sensitive to the charge he would be criticising his

:02:33.:02:38.

successors in Number Ten. Don't forget, he's deeply scarred by his

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experience, after becoming Prime Minister. Margaret Thatcher famously

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said she would make a great back seat driver. When David Cameron

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became Prime Minister, he had an informal understanding with David

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Cameron, who had worked for him in Number Ten in the early 1990s. The

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agreement was that John Major would only make intervention that's were

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helpful to him. Clearly he feels different about Theresa May, elected

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to Parliament in 1997, the year that he lost that election and ceased to

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be Prime Minister. He obviously feels there is a danger that she is

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presiding over potentially a damaging Brexit. So he's decided to

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speak out. This was his central message.

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I have two objectives this evening, to offer a reality check on our

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national prospects and to warn against an over optimism, that, if

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it is unachieved, will so further dis-- sow further distrust between

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politics and. Unlick at a time when trust needs to be rebuilt. It would

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be better to underplay rather than overplay expectations. The

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post-referendum debate has been deeply disspiriting. After decades

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of campaigning the anti-Europeans won their battle to take Britain out

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of Europe. But in the afterglow of victory, their cheerleaders have

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shown a disregard that amounts to contempt for the 48% who believed

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our future was more secure within the European Union.

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It's clearly heart felt, but what do you think more than that is driving

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it in terms of the timing? John Major profoundly believe that's the

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UK should have voted to stay in the EU. One of the first trips he made

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as Prime Minister was to the then capital of Germany Bonn and said

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Britain should remain at the heart of Europe. Some, though by no means

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all of the message in this speech, echos some of the concerns raised by

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Tony Blair, who unseated him in 1997. There's a faint echo of Tony

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Blair when he was saying that Theresa May is not driving the

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Brexit bus. It is being driven by those hard line Euro-sceptics who

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want a clean break from Europe and John Major obviously is haunted by

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those Euro-sceptics who gave him such grief on the Maastricht Treaty

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25 years ago. He warned Theresa May to face down those who favour total

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disengagement from the European Union. You've been gauging a bit of

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reaction to this as it came out Yes, a terse statement from Number Ten,

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challenging John Major who praised the Remainers and criticise the

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Leavers. Number Ten says, we're moving beyond the language of Leave

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and Remain because we want to unite the country. I spoke to some Remain

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ministers who privately welcome this. Interestingly, quite senior

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figures in the Government, who are fans of John Major are saying, this

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doesn't sound quite right. This is not in the spirit of what I was

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talking about earlier, where he tries to make constructive

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interventions. What these fans are saying are by all means raise your

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concerns about Brexit, but if you are seen to undermine the Prime

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Minister, then I'm afraid to say, you are only going to undermine your

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own position within the Conservative Party. Thanks very much. John Major

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talked about the Brexit cheerleaders.

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Earlier, I spoke to the former Cabinet Minister and stalwart

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of the Leave Campaign, Iain Duncan Smith.

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I asked him if John Major's speech made him think twice

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about what Brexit promised and what it is actually delivering.

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What I thought when I looked at this speech was that this was a peculiar

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speech in the sense that it looked backwards the whole time. It was

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almost like a refight of the referendum all the same threats and

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issues that came up during project fear were all in here. Strangely

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bitter, really. And almost really the speech of someone who simply

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refuses to accept that the British people should have made a decision

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such as they did and wants them almost to rerun it again until they

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get it right, which is rather sad. He doesn't seem to question the

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result. He says there's a growing concern the British public have been

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led to expect a future that's unreal and over optimistic, that obstacles

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have been brushed aside. He's asking Brexiteers to be more honest with

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the British public instead of pretending it's a walk in the park.

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I don't think anyone's pretending it's a walk in the park. Theresa May

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least of all. She's going to do the negotiations. I think she's taken

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this on in a very realistic way. What she's saying is the British

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people voted to leave. We must now deliver that. At the end of it all,

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we want a decent relationship with Europe. We're leaving the European

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Union, we're not leaving Europe. The speech was full of unrealistic

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rather angry threats. I can't see the point of that now. 69% of the

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public voted in a poll to get on it. They're not looking back. What do

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you thist threats? They're a rerun of - you know, oh, it's going to be

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a disaster, you're being too optimistic. What's the alternative?

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You go into the European Union saying this is all going to be

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terrible, help us out, it's a disaster, it's miserable. That's not

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the way to run a negotiation. When you look at the rhetoric used, John

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Redwood saying there will be no economic damage. Boris saying

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countries will be queueing up to be our trade partners. Michael Gove

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saying our best days are ahead. He's saying don't promise otherwise you

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create a distrust all over again between the public and politicians.

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I don't think the public expects this to be a complete walk in the

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park. The way it's sold, they would. I'm not so certain about that. If

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you look carefully at what's being said, what people are saying are

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that it's in the hands of the British people to do the best out of

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this and actually do well. It's in our hands. It's not in somebody

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else's hands now. That's the point. You can be optimistic going forward

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because you believe that the British people are capable of remarkable

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things. But to be pessimistic about them is the wrong attitude. I got

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from this speech a deep pessimism about the idea of the UK outside the

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European Union. But we've had that debate. We've had that vote. The

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point I'd simply make is, and I'm really sorry that he's chosen to

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couch this in really what I consider to be quite bitter terms about the

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process, and such a depressing forecast about the future, it would

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be far better that he should actually say, like the British

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people have made their minds up, let's get on with this. Let's make

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of most of this. Let's do the best. A former Prime Minister should have

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more faith in the British people. He points his finger at the Brexiteers

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who shout down disagreement, who claim to want Parliament to have

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sovereignty and have taken issue with anyone that has asked about

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amendments, questioned how Brexit will happen. That's crazy, isn't it?

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That's the nature of debate. That's what he says. He says you have shut

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it down. You talk about frustrating the will of the British people, or

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calling it a slap in the face if the Lords frustrate it. He says you have

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shut down debate. With a bit of respect to John Major, I was here 25

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years ago when the Maastricht Treaty was being pushed through. I seem to

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recall he and many of his Cabinet shouted down those concerned about

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Maastricht, which has turned out to be an unmitigated disaster. A bit of

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humility in this might not be a bad thing. The reality is that is the

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nature of robust debate. We're going to have this huge reform bill coming

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through. Everything will be debated ad nauseum. Then people will get a

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vote at the end of it on whether or not they agree with the agreement

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that Theresa May brings forward. When he says Brexit cheerleaders

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have shown a disregard that amounts to contempt for the 48% of those who

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voted Remain, you don't call that a disregard for what they're saying.

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You're encouraging them to do that, are you? I encourage everybody to

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debate. I'm happy with debate. Why do you call it a slap in the face,

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why call it shenanigans? Those who voted Leave will have their opinion

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on where we go in the future. I relish that. And amending if you

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need to after the debate? What are you going to amend? The difference

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is are you going to amend this short bill that says we want to trigger

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Article 50? There's no point in debate then. You can have a go at

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amending the other bill ad nauseum. Why do you think John Major entered

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the debate now? I don't know why he chose to speak. I would have hoped

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had John Major spoken he might have been a lot more positive. He might

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have actually said, there are going to be difficulties rgs thction what

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-- difficulties, this is what I would do, this is what we can

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achieve. I felt today's speech was a lost opportunity for someone who was

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the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, rather like Tony Blair, not

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harking back to what happened, not sounding bitter and angry, not

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looking like you don't have a lot rove inspect for what the British

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people are capable of doing and making the wrong decision. Instead

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of which saying, look, we can do these things. We have faith in the

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British people. After all, when we were elected in 1992 and John Major

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became the Prime Minister, I don't recall he turned around and said I

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really don't have a lot of time for the British voters. They seem to

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have made the wrong decision. He accepted their decision. Thank you

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very much. Michael Gove's claim that "people

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in this country have had enough of experts" was one of the most

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memorable lines of the EU But was it just a throwaway

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soundbite or did Mr Gove Are we really less willing to trust

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the people who were once And have we come to distrust

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all experts or just the kind who claim to know how

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the economy will behave? Our editor Ian Katz went

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in search of some answers. June 24th was a grim day

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in Britain's ivory towers. The Brexit vote a punch

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on the nose for an intellectual elite who had lined up

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in favour of staying in the EU. This will be affected

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for ordinary people. But did the referendum reveal,

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perhaps even cause, lasting change in our relationship

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with the people we once The Bank of England,

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the IFS, the IMF, the CBI and most of the leaders

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of the trade unions The working people of this country

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at last get a fair deal. I think the people in

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this country have had enough of experts with organisations

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and acronyms saying that they know what is best and getting

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it consistently wrong. Michael Gove may have trotted

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out a glib sound bite to deflect an awkward question,

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but it was one with potentially Have we ceased to believe

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that men and women with An assault on the very idea

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that society is built Those who are expert,

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who have the knowledge, who have the intellectual ability

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to dissect these difficult problems In recent years politicians

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have increasingly pushed experts to the fore,

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to justify their decisions. But in a world where experts lose

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trust, how can politicians tackle climate change or convince us that

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vaccinations are safe? Some even see in the anti-expert

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rhetoric a slippery slope that leads to the post fact morass of Trump's

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America. I've always wanted to say this,

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I've never said this before, all the talking we all do,

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all of these experts, we need an expert here,

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the experts are terrible. The assault on experts has

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implications for fields But it's economists who find

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themselves on the front line. We are right to question experts,

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particularly after what happened When experts said that consumer

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confidence would fall, the stock markets would fall,

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growth would cease, house prices would go up immediately,

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as a result of the vote, Do you think it's time we gave up

:14:59.:15:00.

listening to economists? I think we should pay a lot

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of attention to economists except when they're talking

:15:07.:15:09.

about the future. In 1949 a young economist

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from New Zealand built this He used bits of old Lancaster

:15:14.:15:23.

bombers and DIY skills picked up Phillips's machine, now

:15:24.:15:28.

at Cambridge University, uses flows of water to model

:15:29.:15:34.

the behaviour of the British economy, literally

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trickle-down economics. The economy comes out through here,

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around the pump at the back, Some of which goes off to savings,

:15:47.:15:49.

so this is the banking sector. It could be a perfect metaphor

:15:50.:15:53.

for what's wrong with economics. The embodiment of a mechanistic view

:15:54.:15:57.

that assumes people will behave Social science

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masquerading as science. It is telling us when you move

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the levers in the economy how It's a model of the economy

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as a machine isn't it? Is it reasonable to see

:16:10.:16:15.

the economy as a machine? I don't know, that's a deeply

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philosophical question. Economic forecasting has always

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been a bit hit and miss. It's early function,

:16:22.:16:33.

said JK Galbraith, was to make Economists flag up the uncertainty

:16:34.:16:35.

and assumptions behind their But that nuance is often

:16:36.:16:39.

stripped away by politicians In defence of economists I would say

:16:40.:16:45.

that short-term forecasting We are talking about trying

:16:46.:16:51.

to predict the actions of millions of different consumers

:16:52.:16:55.

across the economy and trying to impose some order on all of that,

:16:56.:16:59.

those millions of decisions, is inevitably going to

:17:00.:17:04.

be really difficult. Victoria Bateman is

:17:05.:17:06.

an economic historian. She thinks the attack on experts has

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implications far beyond economics. I also think it was dangerous,

:17:10.:17:12.

when we looked through out history, when we look at attempts to attack

:17:13.:17:18.

intellectuals and those go back to the period

:17:19.:17:29.

before the Enlightenment. I think it's particularly dangerous

:17:30.:17:31.

for a western politician in a western democracy to be playing

:17:32.:17:33.

this game of anti-intellectualising. I think the people in this country

:17:34.:17:37.

have had enough of experts, It's perhaps ironic that

:17:38.:17:40.

a man regarded as one figures in British politics is now

:17:41.:17:47.

famous for one of its most Gove insists he was

:17:48.:17:51.

quoted out of context. He didn't mean to

:17:52.:17:54.

impugn all experts. I was particularly thinking

:17:55.:17:57.

about organisations like the IMF, who I thought had called the Euro

:17:58.:18:01.

wrong and were calling And I felt, at the very least,

:18:02.:18:04.

we should challenge their arguments rather than simply saying,

:18:05.:18:08.

oh well, because you are a tenured academic, or because you work

:18:09.:18:10.

for the IMF, you must be right. You are famous for your linguistic

:18:11.:18:14.

rigour, why didn't you say something more like what you've just

:18:15.:18:18.

said to me? It was a high-profile,

:18:19.:18:21.

high intensity, high tension, There is a difference

:18:22.:18:26.

between the considered use of language in a conversation

:18:27.:18:32.

like this and having Do you regret having used the word

:18:33.:18:35.

experts in that context? No, I think, life is

:18:36.:18:42.

too short for regrets. I think one of the things

:18:43.:18:44.

that is occasionally irritating is that people assume that

:18:45.:18:48.

what I was saying was a blanket rejection

:18:49.:18:52.

of facts, evidence, rigour. Or the Chancellor or

:18:53.:19:00.

the Prime Minister? They don't know any more

:19:01.:19:03.

than we do, do they, really? Before the referendum,

:19:04.:19:09.

Newsnight came to Bognor where Joan and some friends told us why

:19:10.:19:13.

they would ignore warnings from experts like the governor

:19:14.:19:15.

of the Bank of England. Does he know what it's like to go

:19:16.:19:18.

around Sainsbury's, shopping? That line seemed to reveal something

:19:19.:19:20.

profound about our changing relationship with experts,

:19:21.:19:25.

so we've come back. Joan is away but over a cup of tea

:19:26.:19:30.

I asked a few of the locals how It's too much scaremongering

:19:31.:19:34.

from so-called experts. Too many organisations

:19:35.:19:43.

and businesses that all they do is study graphs and take polls

:19:44.:19:47.

and they just seem to make And I don't believe that they can,

:19:48.:19:50.

that they know best. How on earth do we decide what to

:19:51.:19:56.

listen to and what not to listen to? A lot of people have

:19:57.:20:03.

got good common sense. You are not impressed

:20:04.:20:09.

by the expertise of academics, why are you sceptical about people

:20:10.:20:14.

who have spent often years They are just ordinary people

:20:15.:20:17.

but unfortunately they get stuck in this little bubble

:20:18.:20:22.

of what they are doing. So you will make all your judgment

:20:23.:20:25.

based on what you hear, not It depends on what

:20:26.:20:28.

they actually say. It sounds like what you're saying

:20:29.:20:35.

is we should just pick Well there's plenty

:20:36.:20:38.

of them out there. Perhaps not everywhere in Britain

:20:39.:20:47.

is as allergic to boffins as Bognor. But it does seem we are far less

:20:48.:20:51.

willing to take the pronouncements At least part of the answer must lie

:20:52.:20:54.

with the Internet and the way it handed all of us the keys

:20:55.:21:03.

to the kind of specialist knowledge Which of us hasn't diagnosed

:21:04.:21:06.

an ailment with a little help from Doctor Google long before

:21:07.:21:11.

arriving in the doctor's If the Internet has chipped away

:21:12.:21:13.

at the respect commanded by many experts, it's done the opposite

:21:14.:21:21.

for one man. Polls, if they still count

:21:22.:21:25.

for anything consistently found that Martin Lewis was the figure trusted

:21:26.:21:27.

most on Brexit. He thinks the trouble

:21:28.:21:32.

starts when experts start Because you can't

:21:33.:21:34.

make that prediction. This is a world about probability

:21:35.:21:41.

and chance but what we had in the EU referendum was people giving us

:21:42.:21:45.

black and white Lewis thinks that part

:21:46.:21:46.

of the problem is that many experts appear to take sides

:21:47.:21:52.

in the referendum argument. It was a problem we wrestled

:21:53.:21:55.

with on Newsnight. In the eyes of the two campaigns,

:21:56.:22:01.

no expert was sufficiently I think some experts made

:22:02.:22:04.

the mistake of campaigning and therefore presenting their views

:22:05.:22:07.

as part of a campaign which immediately says that

:22:08.:22:11.

you are biased one way or the other. The public will perceive

:22:12.:22:14.

it and not trust you. And even those who didn't then

:22:15.:22:18.

allowed their information to be If the Enlightenment

:22:19.:22:20.

has its sacred texts, one of them is Isaac Newton's Principia

:22:21.:22:27.

Mathematica. Newton's own annotated copy

:22:28.:22:31.

is the prized possession A temple to knowledge so chilly,

:22:32.:22:33.

the librarians wear anoraks. So this is a Newton's own copy

:22:34.:22:42.

of the Principia Mathematica? This is indeed, it's

:22:43.:22:45.

one of the great works It's the book that inflicted

:22:46.:22:52.

calculus on centuries Newton helped put science

:22:53.:22:57.

at the centre of our modern world. Yet some worry that the assault

:22:58.:23:03.

on experts has spread beyond economics and the social

:23:04.:23:09.

sciences and now challenges Unfortunately, Mr Gove's remarks

:23:10.:23:11.

spilled over into all sorts of other areas where experts have an enormous

:23:12.:23:17.

contribution to make to the proper running of society

:23:18.:23:22.

and for good policy development. Science is absolutely

:23:23.:23:24.

there because science is based on reason and evidence and the fact

:23:25.:23:27.

that experts have been derided in this way does have an effect

:23:28.:23:34.

in undermining science We've come to another

:23:35.:23:36.

temple to knowledge, London's gleaming Francis Crick

:23:37.:23:43.

Institute. Noble prize-winning geneticist

:23:44.:23:48.

Paul Nurse believes Michael Gove probably was thinking of economists

:23:49.:23:51.

in his infamous comment, but it was irresponsible not

:23:52.:23:54.

to clarify his remarks. Opinions on the front foot,

:23:55.:24:02.

and those who are expert, who have the knowledge,

:24:03.:24:05.

who have the intellectual ability to dissect these difficult problems

:24:06.:24:09.

are being derided and pushed back. My view about this is that it cannot

:24:10.:24:16.

last very long because opinion And it rapidly falls apart,

:24:17.:24:19.

and I think we are seeing that The expert bashers believe

:24:20.:24:23.

they were vindicated by the fact that most economists got

:24:24.:24:33.

the short-term consequences But have they started

:24:34.:24:35.

something more dangerous? Has Gove emboldened people

:24:36.:24:42.

to dismiss all kind of expert Worry that you've actually let

:24:43.:24:45.

something bigger get rolling that I entirely understand that,

:24:46.:24:52.

yes, and I think that, I'm sure there are people who have

:24:53.:24:57.

latched on that word, either those who fear that rise of,

:24:58.:25:03.

a superstitious approach towards knowledge, who think that

:25:04.:25:06.

I may have legitimised it and it may be that there are some people out

:25:07.:25:11.

there that think that I am giving All I would say is that that phrase

:25:12.:25:15.

apart, during my political lifetime, both when I was Education Secretary

:25:16.:25:21.

and when I was Justice Secretary, I wanted people to know more,

:25:22.:25:25.

to have more information and knowledge and a greater capacity

:25:26.:25:29.

for critical thinking. You were out campaigning every day

:25:30.:25:33.

after that interview, you could at any point in the days

:25:34.:25:37.

after when I am sure it came up countless times, you could have

:25:38.:25:41.

qualified that remark. Funnily enough it did

:25:42.:25:47.

not come up that often I think it was used particularly

:25:48.:25:50.

afterwards because people felt that the Brexit vote had somehow

:25:51.:25:57.

been a triumph of know My argument is that actually

:25:58.:25:59.

many of those who were making assertions during the campaign

:26:00.:26:06.

on the Remain side where relying on people meekly submitting

:26:07.:26:08.

to authority as though we were still operating in the age

:26:09.:26:10.

of the pre-Reformation Catholic Church, rather

:26:11.:26:12.

than actually making Science writer Matt Ridley believes

:26:13.:26:14.

this greater public scepticism about experts is healthy,

:26:15.:26:24.

the very opposite in fact of the challenge to Enlightenment

:26:25.:26:27.

values others fear. One has to remember

:26:28.:26:29.

about the Enlightenment did consist of challenging the experts,

:26:30.:26:32.

particularly challenging priests and saying you do not

:26:33.:26:35.

have all the answers. People can work out

:26:36.:26:39.

the answers for themselves. It's hard to argue that a more

:26:40.:26:43.

questioning public is a bad thing. But here's the problem,

:26:44.:26:46.

where do we stop? All these people have had experts,

:26:47.:26:50.

oh, we need an expert. Can any layman decide

:26:51.:26:52.

that if the evidence on climate change stacks up,

:26:53.:27:01.

or if vaccines are safe, or whether After seeing their Brexit advice

:27:02.:27:04.

ignored, at least one expert decided to express herself more forcefully

:27:05.:27:12.

in the days after the referendum. Yeah, so I made the decision

:27:13.:27:15.

to spend the day at the University naked, as both an expression

:27:16.:27:18.

of my feelings about the referendum, which is that it's a rather dramatic

:27:19.:27:27.

event and will have dramatic long-term consequences,

:27:28.:27:31.

but at the human level more Victoria attended the monthly

:27:32.:27:32.

faculty meeting wearing only the words "Brexit leaves us naked"

:27:33.:27:44.

scrawled across her torso. For some, the scene might have been

:27:45.:27:49.

a perfect metaphor for our changing The emperor revealed to have

:27:50.:27:52.

been naked all along. So did Michael Gove put his finger

:27:53.:27:57.

on something no one had yet noticed? If only there was an

:27:58.:28:00.

expert we could ask. Well, we have three right here -

:28:01.:28:13.

although maybe they won't Tracey Brown is the Director

:28:14.:28:15.

of Sense and Science - Because Evidence Matters,

:28:16.:28:19.

Nassim Nicholas Taleb is the author of Black Swan and Swati Dhingra

:28:20.:28:22.

is an Economist LSE. Nice to have all of you here, I will

:28:23.:28:38.

start with you Nicholas, did JK Galbraith get it right when he said

:28:39.:28:42.

economic forecasting makes astrology look respectable, should it all be

:28:43.:28:50.

left well alone? Well, it's right that in a similar system you should

:28:51.:28:56.

let the system decide for itself, but, let me put some precision here

:28:57.:29:00.

because I've done some work since, the first time I was in your studio

:29:01.:29:06.

was nine years ago where I had to explain that economists were not

:29:07.:29:10.

experts. Since then I have had to refine some of my work, so there are

:29:11.:29:21.

domains where we have experts, we need experts, 99% of the people you

:29:22.:29:26.

will run into tomorrow through evening will be experts, the driver

:29:27.:29:31.

will be an expert at driving, the baker and expert at making bread.

:29:32.:29:38.

And so on. And now technicians, I am in New York, the technology is who

:29:39.:29:41.

are able to make that connection are experts however they are domains

:29:42.:29:47.

where they are not experts and where is the boundary? The boundary

:29:48.:29:50.

appears to be micro versus Micro. There are three boundaries, micro

:29:51.:29:57.

versus macro, in other words someone who deals with smaller fierce, it's

:29:58.:30:02.

much easier to do micro because you're not going to be held to

:30:03.:30:11.

account... Soap economics basically fits as macro? It's too big to get

:30:12.:30:20.

right? That is not true, there are many facts we do know from

:30:21.:30:25.

economics, how does trade work across countries from example and

:30:26.:30:27.

that is what we know from hundreds of data and those are the facts we

:30:28.:30:32.

are bringing to the public and I want to point out two issues in the

:30:33.:30:36.

film, one is that experts and academics are being put in the same

:30:37.:30:39.

category even though we know there are not many THEY TALK OVER EACH

:30:40.:30:51.

OTHER I am talking about academic... Sorry, I don't see you guys here, so

:30:52.:30:58.

I don't know, let me say a couple of things, I was a trader for 20 some

:30:59.:31:04.

years and then I saw, I am not of course in an economic 's department,

:31:05.:31:09.

I do applied maths, then we saw the rigour and economics, it makes me

:31:10.:31:13.

cry, the statistical rigour because you use Gal C and distributions and

:31:14.:31:19.

calcium metrics for things which are repeatedly not them. It's too

:31:20.:31:24.

technical for the audience. I don't know what that means but broadly, is

:31:25.:31:29.

economic forecasting something we should leave alone?

:31:30.:31:34.

Joo economic forecasting, predicting the future, is taking the definition

:31:35.:31:40.

of expertise to its outside edges. Most people in your film and people

:31:41.:31:43.

in the business of looking at the economy recognise that. I really

:31:44.:31:48.

feel we need to say something about this interpretation of what happened

:31:49.:31:51.

in that debate because the referendum has become the reference

:31:52.:31:54.

point for this discussion about expertise. It's a bit a false

:31:55.:31:59.

situation for us to be drawing big conclusions about what people think

:32:00.:32:05.

about experts based on that. I'm deeply suspicious when people make

:32:06.:32:10.

sweeping retorical newerish of an anti-intellectual nature. They

:32:11.:32:14.

usually don't mean let's equip the public with critical thinking. They

:32:15.:32:18.

usually mean believe me don't believe them. That's an interesting

:32:19.:32:23.

point. To go back to you Nicholas, when people reject experts what

:32:24.:32:26.

they're saying is don't believe them, take it from me or another

:32:27.:32:29.

source that I trust. Do you buy that? I definitely buy that. I buy

:32:30.:32:39.

that people in at a microlevel trust some people for their opinion. To

:32:40.:32:43.

build a pyramid at the bottom most people are experts at what they're

:32:44.:32:47.

doing. Awes go up layers, the scaling, as you go higher and higher

:32:48.:32:51.

then you lose in expertise because you can't check the person's

:32:52.:32:57.

results. Eeconomists live in their own little bubble when they're not

:32:58.:33:02.

judged by reality, they're judged by other economists. They can keep

:33:03.:33:10.

being incompetent forever. I mean... Let me tell you... Just let me bring

:33:11.:33:15.

you to one point, is it irresponsible when you hear

:33:16.:33:19.

positions in great, politicians in great positions of power, be it

:33:20.:33:22.

Donald Trump or Michael Gove at the time saying we've had enough of

:33:23.:33:26.

experts or experts are wrong, do you agree that is irresponsible? I mean,

:33:27.:33:31.

the word "expert" can mean a lot of things. Some classes of experts we

:33:32.:33:34.

should dispence with because they've been very dangerous. When I was in

:33:35.:33:39.

your studio nine years ago, talking about economics, it was an expert

:33:40.:33:42.

problem. There is something we call an expert problem. There is an

:33:43.:33:47.

expert problem we just have to train society to distinguish. It's

:33:48.:33:50.

society's fault that we don't explain properly who is an expert.

:33:51.:33:54.

It's not just about explanation. No, it's not. This is about how the

:33:55.:34:00.

debate was portrayed. The same kind of people like Michael Gove was

:34:01.:34:03.

letting their information being misused. They were saying ?350

:34:04.:34:07.

million per week coming back to the NHS, we haven't seen that happen.

:34:08.:34:10.

Why are only those particular experts who made - It happened on

:34:11.:34:15.

the other side, we all remember them showing, on the Remain side it would

:34:16.:34:21.

cost ?4,300 per family. These specific numbers. Those short-term

:34:22.:34:27.

officials were made by public officials not independent experts.

:34:28.:34:31.

Independent experts made only long-term positions. This wasn't all

:34:32.:34:36.

about you. People were posing all kinds of questions in the

:34:37.:34:39.

referendum. Like I live in Swansea, and my hope for my kids getting a

:34:40.:34:42.

job or going on holiday in the next five years is zero any way. So your

:34:43.:34:48.

national discussion and your national figures and projections are

:34:49.:34:51.

not talking to me. People were posing questions that were political

:34:52.:34:54.

questions. They weren't getting political answers. So, what we've

:34:55.:34:59.

seen is a politicisation of expertise over the recent

:35:00.:35:02.

discussion. Let's not draw grand conclusions. Last year, you could

:35:03.:35:05.

say 2016 was not the year of post-truth. 2016 was the year in

:35:06.:35:10.

which, for example, the Hillsborough families use a mass of expertise and

:35:11.:35:14.

fact finding to hunt for the truth. You don't think it's eroded

:35:15.:35:19.

confidence in experts then? I think there's a bigger question, there is

:35:20.:35:22.

a fracture between the discussion we're having about our national well

:35:23.:35:27.

being, at a national level, with economic contributions and what

:35:28.:35:31.

people's lived lives are like that don't relate to that. There are

:35:32.:35:35.

assumptions there and this has laid them bare. The point about this

:35:36.:35:40.

question was when you talk about not believing experts and when people

:35:41.:35:45.

start to gree with it, does it have a knock-on effect in different

:35:46.:35:49.

fields, whether it's science, climate change, inoculations, all

:35:50.:35:54.

those sorts of things? The biggest danger is the knock-on effect in

:35:55.:35:57.

politics. If we have the belief starting to take hold among our

:35:58.:36:01.

politician that's truthfulness is no longer a public value that people

:36:02.:36:05.

don't expect things to make sense - It doesn't matter what the content

:36:06.:36:08.

or the subject is, it's about the approach to trust? Yeah, it almost

:36:09.:36:13.

becomes subversive. It's like the 50s when it was subversive to talk

:36:14.:36:17.

about homosexuality or abortion rates. It becomes subversive to talk

:36:18.:36:21.

about the facts about something if people think it's not going to play

:36:22.:36:24.

well in one of the national newspapers. Except it's good to

:36:25.:36:29.

question, isn't it? It's good to use common sense and everything we

:36:30.:36:32.

heard. Experts have a great history of helping the public to pose

:36:33.:36:36.

questions about their lives. In the run up to the referendum there was a

:36:37.:36:40.

survey done which showed that people do trust academics. Our ratings were

:36:41.:36:47.

at the level of 57 to 60% and that they trust organisations like the

:36:48.:36:50.

ONS because it gives them fact. It's not as though people don't want the

:36:51.:36:54.

facts. They want the facts. Nicholas, I know you're very

:36:55.:36:58.

respected by Steve Bannon in the Trump administration. Have they come

:36:59.:37:02.

to you with the offer of a job? I will not comment on that. But - Go

:37:03.:37:09.

on, let us entice you gently on Newsnight. OK, let me tell you the

:37:10.:37:16.

one thing that people seem to miss about all this thing that the point

:37:17.:37:19.

isn't so much trusting experts and not trusting experts. The idea is to

:37:20.:37:25.

build systems that are error proof and microsystems are pretty mush

:37:26.:37:28.

error proof because the error doesn't generalise. When you have a

:37:29.:37:31.

concentrated system, as in Brussels, one error can lead to very large

:37:32.:37:37.

conclusions. Maybe the experts were not error free. This is where the

:37:38.:37:44.

discussion should be is how can we build systems that can with stand an

:37:45.:37:51.

expert problem. These systems have one atery bute, they need to be

:37:52.:37:55.

decentralised. Thank you all very much indeed.

:37:56.:37:57.

You'd be excused for thinking that the Oscars this year

:37:58.:37:59.

essentially consisted of one big envelope-related cock-up.

:38:00.:38:03.

Tonight, another missing piece of the jigsaw, as reports surface

:38:04.:38:05.

in the Wall Street Journal that Price Waterhouse Coopers managing

:38:06.:38:08.

partner, Brian Cullinan, was tweeting a backstage picture

:38:09.:38:12.

of Emma Stone moments before that critical moment.

:38:13.:38:17.

A tweet, incidentally, that has now been deleted.

:38:18.:38:19.

But beyond the La La Land/Moonlight fracas, another rather different

:38:20.:38:23.

The White Helmets are a group of civilian rescue workers in Syria.

:38:24.:38:29.

You may even recognise their name from Newsnights over the past

:38:30.:38:32.

few years and a film following their work in Syria,

:38:33.:38:36.

simply titled The White Helmets, won Best Documentary.

:38:37.:38:40.

We spoke to a member of the organisation, Majd Khalaf,

:38:41.:38:42.

This piece contains images from the documentary which some viewers might

:38:43.:38:50.

find upsetting. TRANSLATION: At the moment we

:38:51.:39:12.

receive the news of winning the Oscar, one of our volunteers was

:39:13.:39:16.

pulling a child from underneath the rubble in the city of Idlib. Other

:39:17.:39:20.

volunteers were helping in the suburbs of Damascus. When we started

:39:21.:39:29.

our work with the Civil Defence team, the white helmets, we pledged

:39:30.:39:32.

to help as many civilians as possible.

:39:33.:39:40.

It is an indescribable feeling when we get the call to help, although

:39:41.:39:46.

our job poses a lot of threat on our lives.

:39:47.:39:52.

TRANSLATION: Until now, we have saved 80,000 civilians, but we have

:39:53.:39:57.

also lost 162 of our colleagues because of air strikes.

:39:58.:40:03.

Although we are happy to save lives, we are also living the suffering of

:40:04.:40:06.

the civilians every day. The film was shot in Aleppo, which was

:40:07.:40:10.

considered one of the most dangerous cities in the world. Our colleagues

:40:11.:40:15.

have put their lives on the line to get the message across.

:40:16.:40:24.

The Oscar has shed a light on the suffering of people inside Syria and

:40:25.:40:31.

made their voices heard. It introduced the work of the Civil

:40:32.:40:35.

Defence teams and the difficulties and dangers they face when they

:40:36.:40:40.

respond to calls. It also showed there is a humanitarian work taking

:40:41.:40:43.

place in Syria and not just a Civil War happening. It's true there are

:40:44.:40:49.

people dying and air strikes bombarding civilians, but there are

:40:50.:40:54.

also volunteers who are working to make the people's voices heard.

:40:55.:41:03.

We didn't think we would get to the Oscars or win it. Our message is

:41:04.:41:15.

clear: To stop the air strikes on civilians.

:41:16.:41:24.

We leave you with the The Sony World Photography awards,

:41:25.:41:28.

whose 2017 shortlist will be on show at Somerset House in

:41:29.:41:30.

The actual nominees can only be revealed at midnight tonight,

:41:31.:41:35.

so obviously I'm not allowed to open the envelope and tell

:41:36.:41:38.

After the disaster at the Oscars last night,

:41:39.:41:42.

But here's a peak at a few strong contenders.

:41:43.:41:46.

# I hurt myself today. # To see if I still feel.

:41:47.:42:18.

# I focus on the pain # The only thing that's real

:42:19.:42:29.

# The needle tears a hole # The old familiar sting

:42:30.:42:40.

# Try to kill it all away # But I remember everything.

:42:41.:42:50.

By some definition spring starts this week. It feels wintry at the

:42:51.:42:55.

moment. A cold start to the day. Bright and crisp for some. Showers

:42:56.:43:00.

for others, especially across western areas, snow over high

:43:01.:43:03.

ground. This band of showers moving eastwards across the UK, followed by

:43:04.:43:06.

something brighter for Northern Ireland and certainly plenty of

:43:07.:43:10.

sunshine across central and northern Scotland through the afternoon.

:43:11.:43:11.

Chilly,

:43:12.:43:13.

With Emily Maitlis. A former Tory leader calls John Major bitter and sad over Britain exiting the EU, plus the war on 'experts', and the best documentary short Oscar-winner, The White Helmets, takes us to Aleppo.


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