Who are the experts the government thinks we should trust?

PUBLISHED: 13:33 13 March 2020 | UPDATED: 13:33 13 March 2020

Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove giving evidence to MPs at the Select Committee on the Future Relationship with the European Union. Photograph: Parliament TV.

Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove giving evidence to MPs at the Select Committee on the Future Relationship with the European Union. Photograph: Parliament TV.

Government ministers that told us we’d had enough of experts now seem to have performed a sharp u-turn.

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The government which told us that 'people have had enough of experts' now briefs that its strategy on dealing with coronavirus is wholly in the hands of experts like the chief medical officer and the chief scientific adviser.

So which is it? Why can medical experts be trusted when economic experts can't? What about experts in running the machinery of government, like the civil service which Dominic Cummings so clearly wants to dismantle?

Could No.10 supply a daily list of which experts can be trusted (like, perhaps, the new Brexiteer-friendly group of businesspeople led by former Brexit Party MEP John Longworth) and which cannot (like the CBI, now being blanked by the Tories for the treasonous act of trying to protect the interests of British companies)?

Sue Richmond, Leeds


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John Kampfner in his article suggests that rampant mercantilism and globalisation were invented in the 1980s and that the victims of it are the emerging classes expressing their dissatisfaction at the ballot box 30 years later. Nothing could be further from the truth:

Lancashire's 'King Cotton' depended upon American slaves for planting and harvesting, and we relied on the captive markets of empire to buy our finished products. Those people were the victims of globalisation.

The tea on the Cutty Sark was grown and picked by the colonised and oppressed, as were those who gave us cinnamon, pepper, sugar, rubber and chocolate. These were victims of globalisation.

The whale oil harvested at sea in centuries of slaughter serviced a world-wide demand, as reported in Moby Dick. Those poor mammals were the victims of globalisation.

Beef from Argentina, ivory from the Congo, the inhabitants of Tasmania who died to make room for sheep - all these and many more were victims of globalisation and all in the 19th century.

Pancake Day - is lemon and sugar a timeless British tradition? In February there isn't a ripe lemon on this side of the planet, nor any ripe sugar cane, and yet we have never known it not to be available (wartime aside maybe).

We are the beneficiaries of globalisation and long have been.

Chris Lee, Melbourne, Derbyshire

I do wonder if the much-desired continuous economic growth around the world can realistically be expected to continue unbroken?

It is true that population growth can help economic growth, but I still consider it improbable that economic growth can continue unchecked. Where does all that extra wealth come from?

So, if I am right, periods of no growth or even decline are inevitable.

Edmund Nankivell, Hassocks

- Send your letters for publication to letters@theneweuropean.co.uk

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