In praise of experts?

I did not agree with the distorted version of what Michael Gove said about experts. I find people with a genuine knowledge, enthusiasm and expertise about issues and problems are worth listening to and may be able to fix the trouble. A good doctor can diagnose and prescribe remedies. A good plumber can find the fault with your system and mend it. A good cook can produce a great meal. Studying, practising and keeping up to date in the relevant discipline is an important part of being able to do this.

The politician is the elected generalist who has to judge the expertise of the experts as a legislator and in some  cases as a Minister making government decisions.  When you are placed in such a position you soon discover that there are in most areas  a range of experts you can turn to who may have substantial disagreements about what is good advice. Most government and legislative issues are different from needing to know you have broken your arm where you  need a medical support for the bone to heal. They are wider and permit a range of views of how to resolve a problem. There may even be big disagreements about what the problem truly is.  The politician has to cross examine the experts, think through the balance of probabilities, and apply commonsense  and a judgement about what the public will accept when making the decision.

What Michael was getting at was an even bigger problem in today’s world, where a large number of experts in a given field close ranks and all agree about an explanation or a preferred policy where the public is sceptical and where there is a reasonable chance they are wrong. This tyranny of the experts has bedevilled UK economic policy making all my adult life. As an example,  for years the Bank of England, many in the Treasury and international organisations told the UK we must join the Exchange Rate Mechanism. I and a few others pointed out it was likely to cause boom and bust and to be deeply damaging. Our credentials and credibility were constantly questioned. The establishment had its way. It duly generated a very predictable boom and bust, with huge damage to the  CBI businesses who had supported it and to many workers who lost their jobs. The same tyranny of the experts disagreed with rather more of us who said the credit boom of 2004-7 was unsupportable, only for us once again  to be proved correct. The experts also ganged up to try to get us to join the Euro, which would have done grave damage to both the UK economy and the Euro had we done so. Fortunately the public was more sensible than the experts and made it impossible for government to join.

Ministers and MPs do have to stand up against the united voices of experts who have all collectively backed the wrong explanation or policy. That requires insight and courage by the elected officials, who will always be told they have no right to gainsay the experts, by of course those same experts. The media often  makes this more difficult for the politicians. I had to spend much of my interview time during the referendum defending myself from the media complaint that I must  be wrong and the so called experts right when the Tresury forecast a recession with 800,000 job losses for the winter immediately after a Leave vote. This as I expected was a completely false forecast, but at the time the media went on asking who I was that I dared to contradict the Treasury and the IMF. I used to point out I had been on the right side of the forecasts over the ERM and the banking crash with the Treasury and the Bank on the wrong side, but the media  didn’t care. They suffer from expertitis. If all the main experts agree the media just argues their case. The media never gives experts the difficult and challenging interviews that they rightly give to politicians.

We now have the same again over leaving the EU. So many experts gang up to tell us the world has to stay exactly as the EU has designed it. They are once again making a huge misjudgement. Fortunately the public are more sensible than the experts in this matter, so they tell us just to get on with it.

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158 Comments

  1. Ian wragg
    Posted August 25, 2018 at 5:30 am | Permalink

    Well get on witb it. Stop this nonesense of Chequers.

    • Hope
      Posted August 26, 2018 at 10:07 am | Permalink

      There are two legal experts arguing over the same facts in a court. Both experts. But only one can win. The one who persuades the jury or magistrates.

      Leave won the debate and the public voted on the arguments presented. For remainers to falsely claim we did not understand only insults themselves that they failed to persuade us.

      Just imagine if this happened at each court hearing with the loser telling the judge he didn’t understand etc. Experts advise only it is up to us whether we accept their advice or not.

      Politicians, generally, are inherently dishonest and will say anything to get their way because there is little consequence for their lies. Proper Right to recall would focus the mind and the expert public would rightly be allowed to decide. Ministerial immunity needs to change. Where there is deliberate deceit and lies there should be consequences. etc ed

  2. Bob Dixon
    Posted August 25, 2018 at 5:36 am | Permalink

    I am looking forward to us reaching the 29th of March 2019 without any deal between the UK and the EU. Any major difficulties can be sorted out as they arise. We will then have total control over the UK and the waters surrounding us. Let’s grab all the opportunities to make us Great Britan.

  3. oldtimer
    Posted August 25, 2018 at 5:36 am | Permalink

    The media is ill-prepared to argue with experts on their (the experts) own ground. So they tend to avoid arguments which will expose their ignorance. What they could do, if they were smart enough, is examine the subject in a wider context but this seems to be rare. Perhaps they are too keen to get onto the next topics as the two minutes assigned to the topic are used up.

    The other aspect that seems widespread now is the deployment of well-funded marketing programmes to push a particular cause. Global warming and climate change are well documented examples. Arguments around Brexit and it’s supposed consequences are the obvious contemporary example of experts pushing arguments to support their point of view. Neutrality and objectivity are early casualties.

  4. eeyore
    Posted August 25, 2018 at 5:39 am | Permalink

    “For every expert there is an equal and opposite expert” (Arthur C. Clark). A sub-set of Clark’s law, Gibson’s Law, applies especially to law and administration and asserts that “For every PhD there is an equal and opposite PhD”.

    The job of the statesman, as JR points out (as did Churchill long before him) is not to know but to decide. “For every decision there is an equal and opposite decision” (eeyore’s law).

    I hope that helps.

  5. Nig l
    Posted August 25, 2018 at 5:59 am | Permalink

    I agree and thank goodness you and others are holding our so called experts feet to the fire. What I don’t understand is when Theresa May/Gove/Hunt etc tell us, and I include my Aldershot MP, no doubt angling for a job in the MOD, things that we can all read in the Chequers agreement, that are just not true.

    Maybe they should start by reading the dictionary definition of the verb, to leave!

  6. Tim Chick
    Posted August 25, 2018 at 6:01 am | Permalink

    It isn’t just experts. We now have a large group of remainer politicians pushing the ‘People’s Vote’ for all it’s worth as yet another way of stopping Brexit.

    For their information we had a people’s vote. It was in 2016 and the people made a decision. We were told that MP’s would abide by the result. Those advocating we be made to vote again and again until we give the answer they want are on a slippery slope to lowering further the generally low opinion of politicians that the public has, but also, more dangerously, undermining the very concept of democracy.

    Just to remind them, each side makes their arguments, there is a vote and the losers respect the result. Each side in 2016 got the chance to make their case. Some would say the ‘playing field’ was uneven as the government spent taxpayer’s money on a leaflet to every house advocating remain, something that was not afforded to the Leave campaign. Also the media was clearly biased in favour of remain.

    Since the vote we have have been insulted by many remain politicians saying ‘we didn’t know what we were voting about’.

    If remainers had devoted half the amount of energy they have on seeking to overturn the democratic decision to respecting the decision and providing constructive support and advice over the negotiations, we would probably have had a deal by now and a much better one than the rubbish proposal put forward by PM May et all. This comes after what must rank as the most glaring example of how not to conduct negotiations.

  7. Lifelogic
    Posted August 25, 2018 at 6:17 am | Permalink

    There was/is fashionable but totally wrong group think on:-

    Climate alarmism, the benefits of the EU, the ERM, the idiotic equality agenda (the spirit level book and similar), the bikes/trains good cars/truck bad agenda, the “renewables” and biofuels lunacy, the open door immigration (without quality control) is good for the economy agenda, the landlords are evil agenda, the “all shall have prizes” and no steaming schools agenda, the all shall have expensive degrees agenda, the politics of envy agenda …….

    The BBC pushes them all endlessly.

  8. Peter VAN LEEUWEN
    Posted August 25, 2018 at 6:23 am | Permalink

    Guarding against groupthink among experts is good. But is there also room for self-criticism?
    * Why were other countries quite successful in joining the ERM? The UK might have become the de-facto leader of the euro, we’ll never know.
    * Why did the government (under Blair) mishandle the opening of borders to migrants from the new EU members? Why did the UK not use the EU instruments available to stem a flow of unemployed immigrants.
    * Why does the UK know and understand so little about the EU? Why did it think it could simply do bilateral deals with Germany, Italy and so on. Why did this site mistakenly argue that the UK had by far the strongest negotiation position?
    *
    And maybe currently the more important question:
    “Were the last two years the real school example to the world of how to bring a country together after a slim referendum victory?

    IMHO, the “winner takes all” culture in the UK, related to its less than perfect democratic system (moderating my own words here) has a lot to answer for.

    • Anonymous
      Posted August 25, 2018 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

      ” Why were other countries quite successful in joining the ERM? The UK might have become the de-facto leader of the euro, we’ll never know.”

      Its implementation was a disaster which scarred a generation.

      Who understands the EU ? How many MEPs do you have ? What are their names and which EU parties do they stand for. No Googling.

      • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        Posted August 26, 2018 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

        @Anonymous:
        If your last quaestion was to me, I believe the Netherlands have about 25 MEPs, I know about half of them plus the EP-groups they belong to.
        I don’t know half of the Dutch people representatives (our term for MPs in the national parliament), so my score for MEPs is not so bad.
        Only the UK dropped out – bad implementation indeed.

        • margaret howard
          Posted August 27, 2018 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

          “We started asking for a referendum on EU membership when it was clear belonging to the so called common market meant a long drive to economic, monetary and political union, all things that were categorically rules out as fictions in the 1975 debate by Remain”
          ==

          Extract from the official 1975 referendum leaflet:

          Aims of the Common Market are:

          Bring together the people of Europe

          Raise living standards/improve working conditions

          Promote growth/boost world trade

          Help poorest regions of Europe/rest of the world

          Help maintain peace/freedom

          • Edward2
            Posted August 27, 2018 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

            They are failing on the first three.

      • margaret howard
        Posted August 26, 2018 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

        Anonymous:

        “Who understands the EU ? How many MEPs do you have ? What are their names and which EU parties do they stand for. No Googling.”
        ==

        Who understands the House of Lords? Why do we need an upper house of 800 unelected members?

        Why do we have an unelected head of state with an expensive family to support?

        Why do we have an unelected civil service when the US equivalent leave after a party has been voted out?

        Where is our democracy when just a few families still own most of our land?

        • libertarian
          Posted August 26, 2018 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

          margaret howard

          Quite but that doesn’t answer the question of why you would then want another undemocratic ( without opposition) layer on top of that

          So why do we need an unelected HoL ? We dont

          Why do we have an unelected head of state? Because we’re a constitutional monarchy and the family generate £304 million profit pa for the treasury

          Why do we have an unelected civil service? No idea should be changed

          Why do we have an unelected oligarchy with no opposition running the EU?

          Why do we give EU £13 billion per year

          Where is our democracy?

          Where is our democracy when the biggest vote/mandate in British history is ignored?

          • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
            Posted August 27, 2018 at 6:51 am | Permalink

            @libertarian: Your second referendum on June 23 2016 was a much smaller victory than your first one on this subject in 1975, but as the answer given in 1975 didn’t please some, they campaigned for decades to have this second referendum.
            If referendums were seen as the hight of democracy, that would be pandering to dictators and demagogues as a former prime-minister did tell you. The current terms for the UK are not just a “constitutional monarchy” but also a “parliamentary democracy” using a body more suited for complex isues like in politics. That your parliament never is a good reflection of the popular vote and almost all your governments de-facto minority governments in terms of popular vote support, is a consequence of your national election system, IMHO outdated. Fortunately this systemic error has not been repeated in the devolved elections and parliaments.

            Reply Another good lie from Remain. I and many others accepted our defeat with good grace in 1975 and never asked for another referendum on the Common market. We started asking for a referendum on EU membership when it was clear belonging to the so called common market meant a long drive to economic, monetary and political union, all things that were categorically rules out as fictions in the 1975 debate by Remain.

          • margaret howard
            Posted August 27, 2018 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

            libertarian

            “Why do we have an unelected oligarchy with no opposition running the EU?”

            Because the EU is a trading bloc, not a country.
            ==

            “Why do we give EU £13 billion per year”

            Cost of UK EU membership per person per day – 37p.

            Benefit of UK EU membership per person per day – £3.35.

            You have to speculate to accumulate!
            ==

            “Where is our democracy when the biggest vote/mandate in British history is ignored?”

            Why are a nearly equal number of Remain voters being ignored? The referendum was a farce – not even a golf club president would be elected under those conditions.

          • libertarian
            Posted August 27, 2018 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

            PvL

            Total and utter garbage

            The Swiss are the freest happiest richest people on Earth , governed by referendum.

            Complex issues like politics…lol None, not one of your politicians has real world experience

            Go back to Holland and try to convince your fellow country women and men who dont agree with you

            Oh and before you lecture the rest of us about democracy go away and explain why your countrymen voted by 61.5% NO to the EU constitution, yet still got it established. That my Dutch friend is dictatorship and that is exactly what the EU is a dictatorship of the incompetent

          • libertarian
            Posted August 27, 2018 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

            Margaret howard

            If the EU was a trading block why does it need a government a parliament its own currency and soon to be its own defence force. Answer because despite what the remainers have said the EU aims to be a single federal country. Thats why i want to leave

            I dont pay anything to belong to something when I have no say what so ever in what i get in return. However even the EU themselves admit that belonging to the EU has not been much benefit to the UK’s GDP…. thats not much use for a trading block is it Margaret

            I guess if a simple referendum is a farce you won’t be asking for another one then…

            My final question, what is it your company trades in margaret? Which EU countries do you sell to, as its only a trading block I guess its why you want to remain

          • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
            Posted August 27, 2018 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

            Reply to a reply: Maybe Conservatives accepted the 1975 referendum resultand followed their new leader, Mrs Thatcher, but I doubt that Labour did, judging its first post referendum election manifesto.

          • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
            Posted August 27, 2018 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

            @libertarian: The Swiss are only equally happy to the Scandinavian countries and the Netherlands, and the fact that the UK is a parliamentarian democracy stands.
            Your reading of the 2005 Dutch referendum and follow up is such a oversimplification of what really happened. It bores me to have to explain that over and again. And that was a national process after renegotiation with the EU, the EU had no say over whether or not to do another referendum, it was a Dutch government decision based on advice of its highest national court.

    • David Price
      Posted August 26, 2018 at 5:54 am | Permalink

      * Why are other countries so unsuccessful in the ERM/Eurozone – Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Ireland?
      * Why did Blair “mishandle” the borders issue? Probably because he saw his being a magnanimous rule-taker with borders and rebate as his ticket to greater things such as president of the EU. You appear oblivious of Labour’s stated plan to rub the UK electorate’s noses in a flood of immigrants.
      * Why does the EU know and understand so little about the UK, a key funder yet treated so badly by the euphilics.
      * The UK does have a strong position but has been badly handled by the euphilics in power.
      * You need to ask the euphilics why they have been so disruptive for the last two+ years

      You refer to a “culture” in the UK but what you complain about is precisely the problem with your arrogant EU.

      • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        Posted August 26, 2018 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

        @David Price:
        * Only the UK dropped out of the ERM, while Italy had a bumpy ride but stayed in. Greece’s acception into the euro was maybe too early and political and the Dutch also had reservations about Italy but still almost all countries successfully stayed in the ERM out of which 19 countries made it to the euro, so far, admittedly, Italy and Greece are problem children.

        * I’m not oblivious of the Tory interpretation of Blair’s policy. Still doesn’t explain why (even now!!!) existing EU instruments to prevent unemployed EU immigrant staying more than 3 months in your country haven’t been implemented (incompetence?)

        * The funding aspect is very much overrated in the UK: while the annual net Dutch per capita contributions stands at €378, the British one stands at about €100, not even a weekly cup of coffee for every Briton. The UK, in spite of having obtained 7 major opt-outs (EU bending over backwards to please the UK), has continued behaving like a spoiled child and occasional spanner in the works.

        * That strong negotiation position, IMHO, has proven to be an obvious myth. Add it to the 800 debunked EU-myths made up in the UK and listed on the internet.

        * Your last two paragraphs just illustrate your lack of unity as a country.

    • David Price
      Posted August 26, 2018 at 6:28 am | Permalink

      The last two years is a consequence of the previous 40 with it’s growth of group-think and industry of “experts”. Inertia takes time to overcome, but the 2016 decision was straightforward, the UK electorate decided that the EU direction and goals were not acceptable and since the EU refused to change our only option was to leave and find our own course.

      The UK establishment leadership has wasted a rare opportunity and instead shown how truly incompetent, untrustworthy and disloyal they really are in representing our interests.

      So where the establisment so clearly refuses to respect the voter, what is a voter to do now? Why both to vote at all when you cannot trust an MP or even elected government to do what they promise.

      • David Price
        Posted August 26, 2018 at 6:29 am | Permalink

        this was meant to be a comment on the original article

  9. Adam
    Posted August 25, 2018 at 6:24 am | Permalink

    Dictionary definition of ‘expert’:
    A person who is very knowledgeable about or skilful in a particular area.

    The description could fit Dr Harold Shipman in Manchester & Jack the Ripper in Whitechapel.

    ‘Expert’ may be derived from experience. Experience varies.
    It does not confer righteousness.

    • George Dunnett
      Posted August 25, 2018 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

      I was always told that an expert was merely a very ordinary person away from home,

      I lived in France for a few years. I was an expert in English to the boys I was an au pair to, helping them with their homework. Sadly I was only very ordinary in the English language when I came back home.

  10. Tabulazero
    Posted August 25, 2018 at 6:29 am | Permalink

    If you do not like the message, shoot the messenger. Politics 101.

    The experts disagreed with Michal Gove assertion that the U.K. held all the cards or Liam Fox’s view that striking a deal with the EU would be the easiest thing in human history.

    It turns out that the experts were right on this one.

    All the untenable promises of vote Leave are getting debunked one by one.

    • Adam
      Posted August 25, 2018 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

      The UK has been holding the better cards, but have converted too many into gift vouchers for the EU.

    • Edward2
      Posted August 25, 2018 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

      Tab.
      Yet you still believe the same experts who predicted doom for immediately after the vote day.
      Their expert predictions can actually now be seen to be wrong.
      Yet you firmly still believe their current predictions.
      Seems illogical to me.

    • libertarian
      Posted August 25, 2018 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

      Tabulazero

      Hmm Remainers got this one wrong too

      “Leaving the EU was supposed to deal a crippling blow to London’s position in global finance … But London has tightened rather than weakened its grip on foreign exchange trading” Reuters

      City to lose 10,500 staff after Brexit vote Ernst & Young

      City job vacancies RISEN by 13% since Brexit, less than 200 jobs transferred to other European offices

      Britain will enter recession and lose 500,000 jobs if we vote to leave the EU . Treasury forecast 2016

      We now have 32.1 million in work the highest number ever achieved , unemployment has fallen to 4% the lowest since before the 1975 referendum . we have 826,000 unfilled job vacancies

      Turns out the experts were all wrong on these

      • Adam
        Posted August 26, 2018 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

        Experts have expertise in making wrong decisions.

      • margaret howard
        Posted August 26, 2018 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

        libertarian:

        “Turns out the experts were all wrong on these”

        Or: Britain hasn’t left yet!

        (and has created lots of lovely mac jobs. Salaries are already dropping)

        • libertarian
          Posted August 26, 2018 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

          margaret howard

          The predictions were specifically made FOLLOWING a vote to leave NOT on exit

          No we have NOT created mac jobs, why are remainers so ignorant ? We despite the EU’s best efforts are world leaders in Digital tech and forming new businesses at the rate of one every 55 minutes. Average salaries in Tech are £52,000 pa. The biggest shortage of staff ( 37% of all vacancies) are in construction trades

          Less than 8% of the workforce earn living wage or less which means in case you can’t work it out 92% of jobs pay more and the average wage in UK is £28,500

          I wonder what basis you used to decide to vote for remain when you appear to know very little about what is happening

          • margaret howard
            Posted August 27, 2018 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

            “I wonder what basis you used to decide to vote for remain when you appear to know very little about what is happening”
            ==

            Here are some of my reasons:

            When I voted in 1975 to join the European community we were the ‘Sick man of Europe’ on the verge of collapse. Industry was collapsing, interest rates were spiralling and inflation was rampant.

            You obviously can’t remember the food, fuel and power shortages of the Heath government or the steadily growing balance of payments deficit. The common market had to pump in 25% of its regional development funds to stabilise the nation, the highest ever figure

            Membership has turned us into the world’s 5th biggest economy, since Brexit alas already dropped into 7th place

          • Edward2
            Posted August 27, 2018 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

            that’s not true
            The Thatcher years turned this country around
            not the EU

  11. Peter Wood
    Posted August 25, 2018 at 6:40 am | Permalink

    Dr. Redwood,

    Yes, isn’t it sad that we cannot trust our fellow creatures as much as we thought we could; so many hidden vested interests.
    For example: Mrs May gave us the Lancaster House speech, we get the Chequers White Paper. Mrs. May says we will take back control of our borders, our money and our laws, we get special entry treatment for EU citizens, an enormous payment to the EU and continuing ECJ superiority via the ‘common rule book’.
    I really don’t know how your cabinet colleagues can go out and face the public.

  12. Richard1
    Posted August 25, 2018 at 6:43 am | Permalink

    There are of course many experts – distinguished economists and leading entrepreneurs – who argue for Leave on WTO terms, and completely disagree with the BBC/Remain hysterical language about ‘cliff edges’ and ‘crashing out’. But they are rarely given airtime.

  13. Steve
    Posted August 25, 2018 at 6:49 am | Permalink

    The shocking thing is many of these ‘experts’ actually profit from the disasters they cause, while the rest of us bear the consequences of their shenanigans.

    Was it ever any different ?

    Ireland is an example, the experts lost the referendum for joining the euro. Then the experts / EU collaborators insisted on an immediate second referendum – guess what; they had their way.

    Now we have the collaborationist lobby insisting we have a second referendum on EU membership. They must think we’re unwise to the tactic, and totally stupid with it.

    These so called experts are those who ’cause things’ more often than not at the detriment to others, and then walk away as though they had not made the stink in the first place.

    A bit like someone who has never been involved in a motor accident, but has seen hundreds, funnily enough.

    Left wing’s political correctness is another example, where we have a minority affecting the daily lives and customs of the majority. The inverse of democracy and the death of free speech.

    The establishment is rotten to the core, basically.

  14. DUNCAN
    Posted August 25, 2018 at 6:52 am | Permalink

    Let’s not refer to these people as experts. Let’s focus on the subject on which they are expressing an OPINION since many of these people seem immersed in areas of thought and academia whose weight of evidence amounts to little more than supposition, opinion and skewed data sets

    These people tend to come from the so called social sciences school of ‘expertise’. I have, to my shame, a first class honours degree in Economics and Econometrics. Economics is a school of THOUGHT, little more. It is akin to PPE or Sociology. Such subjects are not science based requiring physical evidence to corroborate assertions and theories. They therefore allow each participant the opportunity to lay claim to expertise in the knowledge they cannot be categorically proved to be right or indeed wrong

    Subjectivity is the expert’s insurance policy. Einstein’s TOR was little more than opinion until the physical evidence was procured to confirm beyond question and doubt its absolute, unquestionable reality

    I believe most of these so called experts are first and foremost political animals. Their view is filtered through their own political prism. That is not the truth. That is opinion and worthless until it is proven by real, hard evidence.

    It is quite simple to counter the arguments of these people. You take the argument back to the basics in the way Thatcher did. She focused on the basic truths because basic truths cannot be denied nor countered. Experts despise simplicity for it eliminates the opportunity for them to bamboozle the laymen with complexity

    Let’s simply treat so called experts with sheer contempt. We should laugh in their face rather than afford them the opportunity to espouse their nonsense with nauseating dollops of pomposity and false knowledge

    • margaret
      Posted August 26, 2018 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

      strongly agree

    • margaret howard
      Posted August 26, 2018 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

      DUNCAN

      “Let’s simply treat so called experts with sheer contempt. We should laugh in their face”

      Hope you don’t mind having your appendix taken out by an amateur with a sharp knife -:)

      • libertarian
        Posted August 26, 2018 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

        margaret howard

        Go read the book First do no harm by brain surgeon Henry Marsh then get back to us on that .

        As i said real experts are people who do things in a particular field. Forecasters are basically astrologers with an economics degree. If you think those experts are as good as the average surgeon I would expect you to back your house and all you own on their predictions

      • Edward2
        Posted August 26, 2018 at 11:49 pm | Permalink

        You are confusing someone with a skill developed by years of training, with academics who try to predict the future.

  15. Lifelogic
    Posted August 25, 2018 at 6:58 am | Permalink

    Yet more alarmist drivel about a lack of apple pickers on Newsnight. Pay them rather more and you will have no shortage.

    One farm said it had only two british applicants and yet we have 1.56 million unemployed. Surely some of them are capable of picking apples. Just stop the government paying the feckless and thus encouraging them never to work (or even to ever learn to work).

    • libertarian
      Posted August 27, 2018 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

      Lifelogic

      Apple growers are using vacuuming technology more and more to pick apples.

      Its true that very few British workers apply to pick fruit. The reasons behind this are

      1) In the past students picked fruit for pin money , they now get government loans instead

      2) Picking fruit is very seasonal, if you come off of benefits for a few weeks to pick fruit its a nightmare to get back on to benefits, so people dont bother

      3) Its as always government interference, stupid rules and unintended consequences that set in train trends like this

  16. matthu
    Posted August 25, 2018 at 7:07 am | Permalink

    Many experts gang up to tell us the world has to stay exactly as the EU has designed it.

    Why?

    Because they have invested billions (? assumption, likely true in my view) in bailing out EU banks.

    The cause of climate change has to remain unchallenged.

    Why?

    Because they have invested billions (? assumption, likely true in my view) in secretly planning for electric autonomous vehicles, smart motorways and persuading car manufacturers to develop these, and diverting from this plan at this late stage would be horrendously expensive, embarrassing, politically ruinous etc. and all this despite all evidence to the contrary that climate may be changing naturally and stopping human emissions will have negligible impact.

    The trouble is that in order to continue the grand deception the lies need to get bigger and bigger and more and more pervasive and so eminent scientists and economists and politicians have either to be bought into supporting the plan or have their careers summarily curtailed or placed into permanent hibernation.

    There is clearly a great moral debate to be had, but there is so much money now stacked up on one side that the greater moral good can never be allowed to be decided by the electorate.

    Good people (on one side) are being trashed as racist or sexist or extremist or worse in order to shut down their sound point of view so that it can never be debated. Good people (on the other side) seem (to the side being trashed) to have become corrupted by the exceptionally vast sums of money involved.

    The great political battle over Brexit is the same as that being fought in the USA: both are neatly explained by the same theory, which also explains why freedom of speech in the UK is rapidly being eroded by “terrorism” legislation.

    Freedom

    • matthu
      Posted August 25, 2018 at 9:50 am | Permalink

      JR – Please ignore this earlier message – I have rewritten it below.

  17. Lifelogic
    Posted August 25, 2018 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    “The politician has to cross examine the experts, think through the balance of probabilities, and apply common sense and a judgement about what the public will accept when making the decision.”

    Alas most MP have no understanding of science, engineering, business, maths, statistics,logic, managing efficiently, economics, finance or the likes. Many MP are just looking to buy votes or appear generous (with other people’s money) anyway and have little interest in any value delivered. Not their money not they who get the value after all.

    “Fortunately the public was more sensible than the experts and made it impossible for government to join.”

    They are usually more sensible. This as they genuinely have the interest of the public as heart as they are the public. Unlike many “experts”, bureaucrats or politicians, What member of the public would think that people should be taxes and then the money spent on propaganda to indoctrinate them in what to think and how to vote?

    Yet billions is spent in this way by the EU, central and local government. Endless adds for the NHS and the Mayor of London currently on LBC and elsewhere. Plus EU money to buy the BBC’s big state, EU good, climate alarmist, NHS envy of the World etc. propaganda.

  18. Lifelogic
    Posted August 25, 2018 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    What member of the public would think that bank deposits paying just 0.2% and yet most bank lending at 5% to 68% (from the main banks – 25 to 340 times their borrowing rate) was a sign that the UK banking system had any real competition?

    Why is nothing being done to ensure fair competition by Hammond, Carney or the competition authority?

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted August 25, 2018 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

      Try to find a banking business or a banking entrepreneur who would like to compete with the High Street banks in the UK and is able to pass regulatory muster. Keep in mind also that a significant portion of the UK market is served by an entity still largely in government’s hands. And contemplate what would ahve happened should the government not have stepped in.

      The UK banking system suffers from three adverse conditions:
      – a heavy reliance on housing lending in a market where houses are among the highest priced in the world and facilg the possibility of a very difficult economic transition (from EU membership to a sort of NAFTA membership or worse no memberships at all)
      – a relatively small currency/market combination (compared to the USD/US or EUR/EU, resulting in a relatively shallow market for covered bonds and private invstors that might step in when there would be an economic contraction
      – a very large offshore financial sector based in the UK but completely unrelated to the real UK economy and costing largely of relatively footlose foreign firms (investment banks).

      All in all there is very little Carney or Hammond could do. Btw: the sperad between savings rates and mortgages is in most Northern EUR countries less than 3 percent, in some less than two. That is the effect of a much larger, competitive market. Someone looking for a mortgage in eg Holland can choose between several dozen providers, most of them foreign. But these parties are not interested in lots of GBP assets.

    • agricola
      Posted August 25, 2018 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

      Because in the normal incestuous world of Government and Banking it suits them to screw the population. The answer is that the entrepreneurial must learn to do without banks.

      • Hope
        Posted August 25, 2018 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

        Treasury have shown themselves to be a national embarrassment, BoE the same, criminal justice not fit for purpose, Home office still not fit for purpose Javid confirming 164 wrongly deported or asked t leave- why has May not resigned? This is against her own code of conduct stated on TV ! Osborne and Treasury lost hundreds of billions from lost revenue from stamp duty reported today, all his forecasts wrong about unemployment, same for )Mr ed) Carney, was he not going to increase interest rates when unemployment fell! It is the lowest for decades! MOD experts commissioning aircraft carriers without planes! Diggers breaking up brand new Nymrods before they even flew! Hundreds of millions wasted on PFI new and unused fire brigade HQs! HS 2 ! Energy policy wasting hundreds of billions, court system where they do not like to and criminals to prison!

        JR your expert ministers in charge of their expert department need to rbe sign on mass they are not fit for peurpose. Expert PM May wants to pay £100 billion to talk about a £80 billion trade deficit, be under ECJ rule, let 27 countries decide UK trade policy, put strivers enternpenuers and inventors in an EU straight jacket, pay welfare payment for EU people not yet born or set foot here, non regression clause in many policy areas decided by a foreign power without a voice or veto, unconditionally give defence and security for nothing in return to promote a foreign powers foreign policy! She is an utter idiot or traitor. Make your mind up. What she is not is fit to be PM. Expert my arse, my children could make better decisions, if they could not not I would give them the telling off of their life!

      • Lifelogic
        Posted August 26, 2018 at 11:38 am | Permalink

        Indeed cut the rip off middle men banks out whenever you can.

  19. bigneil
    Posted August 25, 2018 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    Experts also tell us we “need” millions more from the 3rd world. Clearly the newcomers won’t be living next door to the experts then.

    • getahead
      Posted August 25, 2018 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

      Thank you bigneil. You made me laugh.

      • Hope
        Posted August 25, 2018 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

        Estimates figures. You would think with all the attrocities over the last two years where people died the govt might have an accurate way to count people in and out of our country, if nothing else to keep us safe! They might want to also monitor or supervise serious criminals allowed in from th EU to prevent them murd ring again! Then th a home Office admits to losing 56,000 people this year and then state they do not want to detain them but let them live in the community! Has Javid lost the effing plot like Rudd and May before him?

        Reply The 56,000 are not criminals.

        • Dennis
          Posted August 26, 2018 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

          Reply The 56,000 are not criminals.

          How did you find that out? Not a single one a criminal?

          Your reply is absurd.

          • hefner
            Posted August 28, 2018 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

            I think the only reasonable answer (to me at least) would be: what percentage of these 56,000 are criminals? Is that percentage higher, similar or lower than the equivalent percentage in the overall population, or even better of the UK born and bred population?
            As long as one does not have this type of statistics, the overall exercise can only be biased.

    • Andy
      Posted August 25, 2018 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

      I doubt they will be living anywhere near you either. Most people who ar vehemently anti-immigrant live nowhere near actual immigrants and have never met any.

      • libertarian
        Posted August 26, 2018 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

        Andy

        Of course you can back that stupid assertion up with evidence I take it.

        Where do all the immigrants live then Andy?

  20. bitterend
    Posted August 25, 2018 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    Experts differ and patients die- Michael Gove along with others also predicted that the Bavarian car workers and wine producers would come running but it hasn’t happened. Gove said that we have to be pragmatic, sensible, optimistic and when the time comes just take the right decisions- easy for him, a real expert- and when we have experts like Gove about presumably we don’t need other experts..then I remember the chief expert saying- ‘and we’re going to make a success of it’- and so on. lastly who can forget Liam Fox when he said- a FTA will be the easiest thing in history- all experts all- well now’s the time..so show me the colour of your money..shine the light..

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 25, 2018 at 8:56 am | Permalink

      “who can forget Liam Fox when he said- a FTA will be the easiest thing in history”

      Now you are repeating a lie. Previously it could be said to be an error, but when it has been repeatedly pointed out that Liam Fox said “should” then it becomes a lie.

    • libertarian
      Posted August 25, 2018 at 9:13 am | Permalink

      bitterend

      Whilst not defending Gove etc, your entire post is pointless. whining about something that can’t happen is a waste of time. We can’t negotiate FTA’s until we’ve left, EU companies are still exporting to us, I hadn’t noticed they’ed stopped.

      Another pointless post bought by remain

    • Tad Davison
      Posted August 25, 2018 at 9:51 am | Permalink

      Doctors and surgeons who keep killing or mutilating people cannot really be described as ‘experts’ however much they prefer to see themselves as such, they’re just Quacks. That rule applies to financial ‘experts’ who keep getting predictions consistently and often catastrophically wrong.

      I tend to listen to ‘experts’ who keep getting it right, and I take professor Steve Keen very seriously. The UK government would be well advised to do the same.

      On Liam Fox, his words were taken out of context. I believe he actually said ‘could be’ instead of ‘would be’.

      As far as Bavarian car makers are concerned, I was talking to representatives from a very large UK BMW franchise only yesterday over a nice cup of coffee, and to take some promotional photographs. You may find yourself contradicted. The inside line is that the UK car market is very important to BMW as is witnessed by the numbers of their products on UK roads. That particular manufacturer at least would like there to be no barriers to trade, and we may take it that applies to the rest of the German car makers. So how difficult can it be to negotiate a free-trade deal when both sides want the same thing?

      Tad Davison

      Cambridge

    • Jagman84
      Posted August 25, 2018 at 10:01 am | Permalink

      “Bavarian car workers and wine producers would come running but it hasn’t happened”.
      That’s mainly because trade has not been on the table for negotiation so far! The EU will not do so until we leave. The EU has likely told them that ‘Theresa the Appeaser’ will cave in to their demands, so no need to fret.

    • getahead
      Posted August 25, 2018 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

      Perhaps Liam Fox believed Theresa May when she said ‘Brexit means Brexit’.
      That hope has now been dashed. An FTA would have been easy if May had not been collaborating with the EU during “negotiations”.

    • zorro
      Posted August 25, 2018 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

      Wrong – He said ‘should’ be the easiest thing. He was, of course, factoring in the obtuse behaviour of the EU commission. Two sane sides would easily be able to negotiate and sign a simple, all encompassing FTA because we are so clearly aligned in a regulatory standards way….

      https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/jul/20/liam-fox-uk-eu-trade-deal-after-brexit-easiest-human-history

      zorro

    • Stephen Priest
      Posted August 25, 2018 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

      Neither Michael Gove, Boris, Andrea or became Prime Minister. Michael Gove was not even in May’s first cabinet.

      Theresa May became Prime Minister she did everything Barnier asked of her.

      That answers all the comments made by “bitterend”

  21. Mark B
    Posted August 25, 2018 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    The term, ‘expert’ is used, especially by the MSM, in a patronising way. It is almost if they are talking to children and, if we do not listen to the ‘experts, we are being naughty. Pray tell, who are these ‘experts’ and what are their qualifications and track history on such matters?

    The anonminity of the ‘experts’ must end. They must, to use a term, put their money where their mouth is. If they consistently get it wrong then we will know who to ignore as their reputation will be ruined.

    One area our kind host has not covered where the malign influence of ‘experts’ has caused much harm, is that of Climate Change. This hoax and it’s damaging legislation must end.

    • Fishknife
      Posted August 25, 2018 at 9:10 am | Permalink

      There’s a Birmingham paper report of drought and temperatures in the shade in the high 80ºs – in the 1860’s, 1863 if I remember correctly.
      I look at car exhaust and then wildfires rampaging across Australia, California, Manchester.
      I hear experts telling me to be both teetotal and moderate.
      A Renault with a broken handbrake is beyond economical repair.
      I see pigs in troughs, EU unemployment, high taxes, minuscule under equipped Army, Police and Prison Service.
      A State pension of £164 a week, the price of Heating oil doubling in 2 years, rampant prices, .25% interest on savings – and I’m to believe this is GOOD?
      Let’s give the whelk stall owners a shot.

    • Mitchel
      Posted August 25, 2018 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

      In an “ideocracy”,which is what we may well have become,the experts never believe they are getting it wrong,they have to keep trying until they are proved right no matter what the cost.

    • Dennis Zoff
      Posted August 25, 2018 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

      Mark B

      Hoax or not?

      There must remain a continuing “Climate Change” conundrum? How else will Research Scientists get their next funding fix or allow Governments to design a new cunning tax grab or enable corporate businesses to increase their obnoxious profiteering?

      Climate Change nonsense will continue….just too much self-serving interest driving it!

    • Bob
      Posted August 25, 2018 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

      Being an expert doesn’t necessarily make you honest.
      A non technically minded person relies on their mechanic, plumber, roofer or electrician to be honest with them. That trust is sometimes abused.

      The media’s role should be to expose the charlatans, but as we’ve seen time and again the media have become tools of the establishment which is why they cocked a deaf ear when a certain person whose name I dare not mention warned about a certain activity which I cannot mention in certain English towns.

      • Dennis Zoff
        Posted August 26, 2018 at 11:44 am | Permalink

        Bob

        Then they have done a good job in silencing you, clearly!

        If we all mention an objectional word/person/activity in any context enough times, it becomes irrelevant. Then the PC brigade move on to a new word that they hope will silence their agenda/narrative critics?

        Criticize everything you want, as long as it is legal! When it is illegal, then start worrying.

        • Bob
          Posted August 27, 2018 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

          @Dennis Zoff

          It’s not a question of legality, it’s a question of what our host will allow, and the things I alluded to are not allowed.

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted August 25, 2018 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

      Mark B. Agree and there’s also the social workers many of whom have never had children of their own and cannot see when a child is being neglected or abused or even standing in front of them bearing numerous broken bones. Just because someone has a degree doesn’t make them an expert. Most housewives would do a better job.

      • Dennis Zoff
        Posted August 26, 2018 at 11:53 am | Permalink

        fedupsoutherner

        Well said.

        Streetwise mostly beats social science textbook warriors every time!

        …..unless it is a hard practical “subject matter expertise” such as Medicine, Engineering, Chemistry, Physics, etc

  22. spratt
    Posted August 25, 2018 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    Many, many years ago, I was a ‘professional’ senior civil servant. My job included synthesising views from a range of external experts, often using expert committee structures (where the experts were unpaid but saw it as public service). I wasn’t the expert but I had sufficient professional knowledge and scientific understanding to dissect the issues for ministers and to recognise what might underpin differing expert opinions. The model for my branch of the civil service changed. Individual experts were seconded in for a day a week rather than using professional civil servants as intermediaries. This delighted my administrative colleagues who could just ask one tame expert what to think but only when they thought they needed any advice. They didn’t know what they didn’t know, but this wasn’t primarily about getting better advice but about power games within the organisation.

    • Dennis Zoff
      Posted August 26, 2018 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

      spratt

      QED. You have found the smoking gun to the ills of our present predicament. The unqualified Civil Service (people ed) are now running the asylum!

  23. hangingon
    Posted August 25, 2018 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    There is also another saying that experts should pay heed to-

    ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’

    • Lifelogic
      Posted August 25, 2018 at 11:33 am | Permalink

      Politicians and bureaucrats love grand projected.

      You or I might think let fix a few pot holes, fix the street lights, make the odd road a bit wider, build a additional bridge or underpass as needed. Or make issuing train tickets faster and far simpler.

      But a politician and bureaucrat will say lets build a brand new £50 billion pound tram system (Named after someone like Nelson Mandela, then demolish load of houses (with out proper compensation), block most of the roads and put in speed humps every 50 yards on the others. Then build a cycle path that no one uses as it is the wrong place and goes the wrong way. Plus a £100 billion HS2 sceme to Birmingham saving 10 mins (but only if it does not stop much – so you will have to travel much further anyway door to door).

  24. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted August 25, 2018 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    There are some experts who can see the benefits of leaving the EU but they are normally ignored by main broadcasters who are uniformly anti-Brexit and act more as propagandists than purveyors of news, in the process breaching their stautory duty of impartiality with impunity.

    • Kenneth
      Posted August 25, 2018 at 10:17 am | Permalink

      Quite.

      The BBC, with its tremendous reach and news budget, only presents to us the experts that it invites onto the airwaves.

      Those that agree with John Redwood’s analysis do exist but are not given a platform and are therefore rendered invisible.

      I blame the messenger.

    • cornishstu
      Posted August 25, 2018 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

      Most of the so called experts wheeled out by the likes of the bbc and the rest of the MSM are nothing more than activist given free rain to promote their cause un challenged. What is even more annoying when the majority of those we elect do not even seem to have the nous to question said experts and not get genuine second opinions probably because it suits the current agenda as with all the one sided anti brexit fear and propaganda being pumped out unchallenged on a daily basis.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted August 25, 2018 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

      If economic experts cannot see that we are likely to be far better off out (in the medium to long term) then they are surely not rational nor experts as they are just wrong.

  25. matthu
    Posted August 25, 2018 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    A once great Conservative leader of the opposition, now a life peer, proclaimed recently that the leader of the Conservative Party should never be allowed to be decided by the electorate.

    That probably also explains why the current PM is a Remainer, why BJ needed to be stabbed in the back by someone he thought was his ally and why NF cannot be knighted.

    The same theory explains why the leader of the USA was never intended to be allowed to be decided by the deplorable masses and why so many once highly thought of BBC staff only draw attention to bias in that once great organisation once they have retired and started receiving their pension.

    Force and technical obstacles are now routinely being used to suppress freedom of speech in a country that we all love.

    In fact, many might argue that there are too many threads that are unraveling right now to be able to maintain the secret any longer.

  26. robert lewy
    Posted August 25, 2018 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    The question that suggests itself is whether:
    economist experts are merely aligning their forecasts with their own preferences
    or are their forecasts simply wrong.

    As highlighted by Patrick Minford , the Treasury forecast failed to make explicit the assumptions as to NTBs. The consequence is that the forecasts stand on shifting sand.
    Patrick Minford deduced the assumptions used by the Treasury and demonstrated how unrealistic they were.

    Why is the Treasury allowed to conceal vital information necessary to assess the validity of tits forecasts?

    One cannot but infer that the Treasury conclusion was arrived at before the forecasts which conveniently fell into line.

    • Dennis Zoff
      Posted August 26, 2018 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

      robert lewy

      Treasury forecast……”of tits forecasts?”…is about right!

  27. Alan Jutson
    Posted August 25, 2018 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    The real problem is when Ministers take advice from people who are not experts but dress them up as if they are because they conveniently suit their own views.

    Oily Robbins is a good example, pray tell us what personal experience he has on international trade, commercial negotiations, business finance, sales negotiations, purchasing skills, employment management legislation.. etc, etc.

    • Jagman84
      Posted August 25, 2018 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

      None whatsoever. Private school and then straight to HM Treasury after graduation with a PPE and a BA from Oxford. Served Blair and Brown so, naturally, David Cameron kept him on, like so many heads of the Quangos he promised to cull. They are a (problem ed) that needs to be cut out of our political system.

  28. William Long
    Posted August 25, 2018 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    The ‘tyranny of experts’ is indeed a great danger, but an even bigger one is that so few politicians of any party have the combination of intellect and strength of character that enables them, and makes them inclined, to question the experts: it is so much easier to go with the flow!

  29. George Brooks
    Posted August 25, 2018 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    Thank you for an excellent article and explanation as to where we are and where we must get to.
    The PM needs to listen to the people and not those around her who have got it wrong. Chuck Chequers and get on with leaving.

  30. stred
    Posted August 25, 2018 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    One of the problems with government is that the top civil servants and ministers are drawn from non-STEM university backgrounds, generally from Oxbridge. They then choose experts from the wrong background who have not worked practically in the field.

    An example recently was the National Infrastructure Commission, an Oz creation, recommending that by 2050 the UK would largely rely on wind generation, as it was likely to be cheaper than the Hinkley daft nuke. They realized that storage would be necessary in order to keep us from freezing to death. However, some engineers and scientists with experience in industry anlalysed the figures which came from a research group at Oxford called Aurora. Taking the Danish wind generation as a model they showed that the storage would have to be very much greater in the typical midwinter conditions and that this would cost far more than running nukes all the time. Added to this the nuke compared to others is more expensive and windmills only last 20 years against 50+ for nukes.

    One of the engineers looked at the qualifications of the Oxford team. They were all in their 20s and had degrees in economics, Chinese, and material sciences. None had experience in utilities, oil, gas or even renewables. However, their opinion is now UK policy via the NIC and DECC, which when it had the top expert working for them -the late author of Sustainable Energy Without the Hot Air, took little notice of him.

    see Aurora comment 1/2 way down

    http://euanmearns.com/the-national-infrastructure-commissions-plan-for-a-renewable-uk/#more-22330

  31. Newmania
    Posted August 25, 2018 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    The weather is a chaotic system, like the economy. Predictions are often incorrect . Nonetheless, if you were planning to climb Death Crag in December , with your neighbours and their children ,despite the clear advice of rescue teams and meteorologists, to do no such thing , I would be seriously unimpressed.
    Were you to rely on some malodorous old woman ( who says she predicted the storm of 1927 by the itching of her bunions ) , it would not change my view. If I suspected this was all an exercise in personal vanity I might be unable to control my rage.

    Is that too subtle ?

    • libertarian
      Posted August 25, 2018 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

      Listening to “scientific/medical” experts isn’t working out too well in Europe right now

      37 children have died and 41,000 cases of measles ( due to non vaccination) are occurring across Europe

      Once you have a full proof way of knowing which experts are right and which are wrong maybe let us know. Until then I’ll do my own research thanks

      • margaret howard
        Posted August 27, 2018 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

        libertarian

        “Listening to “scientific/medical” experts isn’t working out too well in Europe right now”
        ==

        Daily Mail 27 Aug 2018

        UK faces measles epidemic
        by ANDREA PERRY

        “Experts are warning that Britain faces a measles epidemic because parents are failing to have their children immunised after health scares about the vaccine MMR.”

        Not quite sure how you can blame the experts for this.

    • Edward2
      Posted August 25, 2018 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

      Have you not heard of groupthink?

    • Dennis Zoff
      Posted August 26, 2018 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

      Newmania

      The malodorous old woman with itchy bunions cannot possibly do worse than T. May’s so-called experts…surely?

      • Lifelogic
        Posted August 26, 2018 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

        Exactly, Appeaser May has far worse judment than tossing a coin!

  32. Peter
    Posted August 25, 2018 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    I await the first post saying:-

    “If all the economists in the world were laid end to end they would never reach a conclusion”

    Meanwhile and organisation calling itself the Institute for Government has published a flowchart outlining five possible outcomes for the Brexit Negotiations. One less obvious outcome is a continuous loop where parliament requests renegotiation and the EU accepts this request.

  33. libertarian
    Posted August 25, 2018 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    Real Experts are those people who actually DO things, everyday in their chosen field. Most “experts” churned out by the media are talking heads with no real hands on experience .

    Even those of us with expertise in our chosen field of operation have to be careful as change happens very quickly these days, so constant awareness of what is happening in your markets or area of activity is vital.

    Example

    Newspapers and their managers should be experts in the field of print media & advertising , yet they completely ignored the internet until it had taken their business away . They are now having to play catch up

    • David Price
      Posted August 26, 2018 at 7:09 am | Permalink

      And they still get it wrong when shown the way – the biggest source of news and information on the planet got that way because it does not charge the consumer for it’s content yet the UK MSM have retreated behind paywalls.

  34. Norman
    Posted August 25, 2018 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    A wonderfully insightful piece, John.
    In certain situations, ‘expertitis’ has always bedeviled those who should have known better. The prophets of Baal come to mind. The real problem was the popular blindness that allowed a weak king with a devious wife to gain the ascendancy. But who, really, is that woman who sits astride the beast, outside the EU Parliament? Most have forgotten the link to Babylon, but are savvy enough to know this ideologically orchestrated breed of Jezebel’s ‘experts’ is utterly phony.
    ‘What doest thou here, Elijah?’ Earthquake, wind and fire were not enough to change the situation. But Oh, for the still, small voice to be heard again in the land!

  35. acorn
    Posted August 25, 2018 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    The trouble is the UK doesn’t have any true, larger than life, Statesmen. The Westminster system tells us who the political parties, will allow us to vote for. They will all be, in football terms, league 1 or 2 players. We should have non-partisan primary elections for Westminster.

    “If Keynes were alive today, he would probably relish navigating the intellectual and political minefield that is Brexit. However, it is unlikely he would have supported it in the first place. Keynes often warned of the dangers of sacrificing present well-being for an uncertain future. “Our power of prediction is so slight, it is seldom wise to sacrifice a present evil for a doubtful advantage in the future”, wrote Keynes at age 21 in “The Political Doctrines of Edmund Burke” in 1904.” (Google: Open Future How Keynes would negotiate Brexit (Economist Mag).

    • David Price
      Posted August 26, 2018 at 7:10 am | Permalink

      They don’t need to be larger than life, merely honest and have as their purpose a clear interest in serving our needs not those of the EU or other foreign influence.

    • libertarian
      Posted August 26, 2018 at 10:28 am | Permalink

      acorn

      . Keynes often warned of the dangers of sacrificing present well-being for an uncertain future.

      If he really said that then he is the dumbest person to ever write on economics

      As any entrepreneur will tell you, you have to take a leap in the dark to invent new products and services. The whole reason industries fail is precisely because they fail to let go of the tried and tested. In psychology its called clinging to a comfort zone

      I guess having never run a business you wouldn’t really understand that

    • Dennis Zoff
      Posted August 26, 2018 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

      acorn

      The problem:

      “Keynes often warned of the dangers of sacrificing present well-being for an uncertain future”

      …..his well-being strategy (aka status quo) sacrificed the working class for the Establishment elites’ benefit!

  36. matthu
    Posted August 25, 2018 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    Many experts gang up to tell us the world has to stay exactly as the EU has designed it.

    Why?

    Because they have invested billions (? assumption, likely true in my view) in bailing out EU banks.

    The cause of climate change has to remain unchallenged.

    Why?

    Because they have invested billions (? assumption, likely true in my view) in secretly planning for electric autonomous vehicles, smart motorways and persuading car manufacturers to develop these, and diverting from this plan at this late stage would be horrendously expensive, embarrassing, politically ruinous etc. and all this despite all evidence to the contrary that climate may be changing naturally and stopping human emissions will have negligible impact.

    The trouble is that in order to continue the grand deception the lies need to get bigger and bigger and more and more pervasive and so eminent scientists and economists and politicians have either to be bought (not necessarily by pecuniary means) into supporting the plan or have their careers summarily curtailed or placed into permanent hibernation.

    There is clearly a great moral debate to be had, but there is so much money now stacked up on one side that the greater moral good can never be allowed to be decided by the electorate.

    Good people (on one side) are being trashed as odd or racist or sexist or extremist or worse in order to shut down their sound point of view so that it can never be debated. Good people (on the other side) seem (to the side being trashed) have become corrupted either by the exceptionally vast sums of money involved or by their own incontestable belief that only their side can hold the moral high ground

    Some people draw comprisons between the great political battle over Brexit and that being fought in the USA: both can support the same theory, while also supporting why freedom of speech (which might accelerate Brexit in the UK) is so rapidly being eroded.

  37. Denis Cooper
    Posted August 25, 2018 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    Well, I had a pretty low opinion of Michael Gove long before the EU referendum and I still have a pretty low opinion of him now, that has not changed just because he happened to choose the right side on that particular occasion.

    But on the question of “experts”, certainly as far as our involvement with the EU has been concerned a lot of the problem has always centred around the prejudice and intellectual mediocrity of those working in the mass media.

    How much brain power is needed for journalists to notice that the UK Treasury has a much higher estimate of the value of the EU Single Market than the EU itself?

    When they repeat their central estimate that it is worth about 8% of UK GDP:

    https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/735881/180823_CX_to_Chair_of_TSC_Nicky_Morgan_.pdf

    “This January provisional analysis estimated that in a no deal/WTO scenario GDP would be 7.7% lower (range 5.0%-10.3%) relative to a status quo baseline.”

    that is four times the gross gain claimed by the EU itself for the collective GDP of the EU member states, and eight times the gain which a German study reckoned was our share of the average benefit, and that is before taking into account its costs; the discrepancy is so large that is hard to see how it can be constantly overlooked.

    Then there is the question of tariffs, which may still loom large in the minds of journalists when overall they are now close to negligible, the total tariffs that the EU might apply to our exported goods corresponding to something like 0.1% of our GDP. They may be a nuisance but in magnitude they are simply not worth the trouble and the risk of trying to rush through the negotiation of a free trade agreement.

    And all this is in the context of a UK economy which has had a long term trend growth rate of about 2.5% a year since the 1950’s, in fact even earlier, without any obvious signs on the chart of significant benefits from the UK joining the EEC or from the later creation of the EU Single Market, as can be seen by choosing the “MAX” option here:

    https://tradingeconomics.com/united-kingdom/gdp-growth-annual

    None of this is as difficult as rocket science, which does need experts.

  38. Den
    Posted August 25, 2018 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    The EU “Plan” Sounds rather too similar to UN Agenda 21 of 1992. The New World Order and all that.
    It is amazing that the MSM et al listen to the likes of Mr Carney in the BoE because he is a banker but will not accept your opinion, John even though you were a Director at Rothchilds.
    Why would they follow the preachings of a Canadian with no affiliations to Britain and ignore a true British patriot with expert knowledge?
    UN Agenda 21 has been permanently adopted by the “Establishment” and MSM and there is no shaking them out of it. Why do these people turn their backs on our treasured democracy? Power! Because Power tends to corrupt absolute Power corrupts Absolutely. They MUST be stopped.

  39. DaveM
    Posted August 25, 2018 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    Regarding your final sentence – this is true, but their voices are ignored by May. Which is probably why people are as equally sick of politicians as they are of “experts”.

    There’s a good expression surfacing – “politically homeless”. This applies to everyone from traditional Labour voters who have lost their party to the Momentum lot, and pro-British centre right voters whose party has become a liberalist politically-correct anti-English dictatorship led by a totally incompetent headmistress. How can the Tory party not see that if they appointed a pro-British leader with a government that supported normal hard-working people who abide by the law and pay taxes and work hard to support their children etc that they would wipe Corbyn’s protest group off the political map? You might even recruit a couple of the best people from the other side of the house – people like Frank Field and Kate Hoey – who are being hounded for supporting traditional Labour Party values.

    Never mind the “experts”, people have had enough of Westminster and the so-called “establishment”. Unfortunately, as it stands, the people have nowhere to go.

  40. Denis Cooper
    Posted August 25, 2018 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    Off-topic, JR, you are mentioned in this article:

    https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/will-the-tories-betray-the-dup-to-avoid-a-no-deal-brexit-1.3606545

    “This reflected hard Brexiteers’ long-standing claim that the UK has no intention of erecting infrastructure at the Border and it is therefore up to the EU and Ireland to do so, if they wish. It appears this is now official British government advice. Sure enough, John Redwood, the arch Eurosceptic Tory MP, said he was “very reassured” by the release of the papers by Dominic Raab, the new Brexit secretary.

    “Their view is they are not going to put a border up,” one senior Irish Government figure said of London’s position. Meetings in Brussels last week on Irish issues are understood to have been fruitless, with little progress made.”

    Well, maybe that’s because the “new ideas” being floated are just as bad as the old ideas which sprang from the “expert” brain of Olly Robbins:

    https://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/ni-customs-checks-would-take-place-in-britain-under-new-plans-1.3605868

    “The Irish Times understands that, under new ideas, customs and regulatory checks would be located in Britain rather than Northern Ireland.

    Although scepticism still remains that such an approach could be acceptable to the UK, senior sources said agreement could be reached if there is “political will” in London.

    “Can we find a way of operating the backstop that is less incendiary politically?” asked one. “You don’t want EU customs officers in Larne and Belfast. Could you do it somewhere else?”

    It is also suggested that checks could be low-profile in nature and carried out by private contractors.”

    Well, here’s my idea, which is now longer very new, in fact it’s ten months old:

    The UK commits to making no changes at all on its side of the land border, and to save the Irish the trouble of checking goods as they cross from Northern Ireland the UK replaces the relevant parts of its present domestic laws to implement the EU Single Market laws with a new domestic law to impose controls on the goods which can be taken across that border, excluding anything which the EU says it does not want to enter its Single Market, and with severe UK civil and criminal penalties for any carriers who are found to have infringed those UK export control laws.

    What is wrong with that, JR, apart from the EU saying we can’t be trusted and will allow all kinds of nasties such as US-style “chlorinated chicken” – which is actually less infected and more wholesome than EU-style chicken – to flow across the border?

  41. John Probert
    Posted August 25, 2018 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    My experience of Experts is that they are not very expert
    Usually locked in with the same mind set.
    New Thinking is very hard to find

  42. John Probert
    Posted August 25, 2018 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    It is amazing how the common sense of the general public always prevails

  43. DancerJ
    Posted August 25, 2018 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    What the experts didn’t tell us about is that there is little chance we can have tariffs and quotas in place and agreed with other WTO members by the time we leave in March. What it means is that some other well established WTO rules based countries will rush in to take advantage of the unpredictability and uncertainty at this time. Similarly we can expect some individual EU countries to also behave in a self serving and unfriendly way when time comes that we are looking for a deal on miscellaneous trade and hold up agreement.

    • Andy
      Posted August 25, 2018 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

      The experts did tell you this.

  44. adam
    Posted August 25, 2018 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    we should use science more a society

    and that means physics chemistry, biology, maths.

    anything else watch out.

  45. matthu
    Posted August 25, 2018 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    The government appears to be planning for the UK to be more or less dependent on the EU for our energy. We already import nuclear power from France. Hinkley will never be built (this will be presented as a massive Brexit dividend). National oil processing will be decimated, particularly after we no longer rely on plastics to the same extent.

    We will export all our heavy crude to the EU and they will process the diesel and use this to generate electricity which they will feed back to us at a premium. We will be totally dependent on this because we have intermittent wind and no solar to talk about.

    They will have us over a barrel as always intended.

  46. Kevin Lohse
    Posted August 25, 2018 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    With all due respect John, all that kept the UK out of the Euro was Gordon Brown’s visceral hatred of Tony Blair. We are constantly being reminded of the weakness of public opinion in Westminster by the concerted effort to reverse the majority Leave vote in the Referendum. It will also be apparent in the widely anticipated Conservative leadership battle, when the Remain majority in the Parliamentary Party will do everything it can to deny voluntary party membership a meaningful choice.

  47. Edwardm
    Posted August 25, 2018 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    It is indeed a strange form of behaviour that causes “experts” to adopt a conclusion and stick with it based on partial evidence or on poor modelling. One would hope that experts would be immune to group-think but it seems not, and it can become very difficult for anyone who promotes alternative conclusions based on good evidence – being independently minded might not be good for ones career.

    How does this state of affairs continue ? Possibly because many experts do not feel the costs of their wrong advice or predictions.
    The question is – are they really experts, or are they pursuing some dogmatic agenda.
    You give some obvious examples – thanks for persevering against the massed ranks of the closed minds, tiresome as it is.

  48. Andy
    Posted August 25, 2018 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    The three worst things that have happened as a result of the Brexit vote are the denigration of experts by the Brexiteers, accusations of treachery against anyone who dare even question their project and the demonisation of foreigners and immigrants.

    We see the same with Trump in America where the man just spews lies and hate and levels accusations of ‘fake news’ against all his critics. A man who has debased the presidency in a way not even Nixon did.

    History demonstrates that the tactics used by the Brexiteers and the Trumpists are highly dangerous and rarely end well.

    • libertarian
      Posted August 25, 2018 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

      Andy

      Expert scientists all over the world agree that genetically modified food and crops are totally safe and are feeding the poor… You called them Frankenstein foods… why are you denigrating the experts?

      • hefner
        Posted August 29, 2018 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

        One argument against GMO-including crops is that the seeds have to be bought from groups like Monsanto year in year out, and usually at premium. This is not a fuzzy wussy argument but a rather straight economic one for small farmers.

    • Edward2
      Posted August 25, 2018 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

      Experts who get their predictions wrong deserve “denigration” or criticism as I would prefer to call it.
      I accept some have called Remainers who are trying hard to thwart brexit traitors and I don’t agree with that attitude at all.
      However the abuse by Remainers on those who support leave has been dreadful.
      I dont see demonisation of foreigners nor immigrants since brexit.
      I live near the centre of a big city and life goes on just as it did before the referendum.
      I’ve just come back from three weeks in America and I was surprised how popular Trump was with the many different people I met.
      But I realise this isn’t a proper poll.

    • margaret howard
      Posted August 27, 2018 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

      Andy

      “History demonstrates that the tactics used by the Brexiteers and the Trumpists are highly dangerous and rarely end well.”
      ==

      I agree. In the case of Trump it looks as if he may well be out before long.

      Hopefully Brexit will go the same way. A system that allowed 17m people to decide the future of the other 50m is not fit for purpose. We cannot allow the young to be deprived of a successful future in a forward looking society by a group of older, reactionary, disgruntled voters.

  49. rose
    Posted August 25, 2018 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    Just to back up what you are saying, Gove only said we had had enough of experts who get it consistently wrong. He didn’t say all experts. Faisal Islam cut him off in usual broadcaster fashion before he could finish his sentence and the misquotation has stuck.

    What he actually said, while distracted by being interrupted and spoken over, was: “I think that the people of this country have had enough of experts with organisations from acronyms saying – from organisations with acronyms – saying that they know what is best and getting it consistently wrong, because these people – these people – are the same ones who got consistently wrong…”

    Faisal Islam didn’t want this said, even in garbled fashion.

  50. mancunius
    Posted August 25, 2018 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    Western academia has an innate leftwing confirmation bias. So any career academic, in order to have progressed far enough to have his/her opinion taken seriously, must also have accepted the egalitarian, self-censoring, anti-bourgeois pieties of the SCR, cleaving to what is bien-pensant, and eschewing the expression of ‘unorthodox’ views.
    This partly explains why mildly libertarian or conservative opinions are now labelled ‘far-right’.
    BBC producers and managers, civil servants and metro-journalists were all taught by these people, and are in thrall to the academic milieu – as they know they may find those contacts very useful at a future juncture, when aspiring to be Master or President of an Oxbridge college, or getting a research semester in the US.
    This largely explains some extraordinary editorial decisions in the choice of studio ‘guests’.

  51. Quantity overQuality
    Posted August 25, 2018 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    It is a sobering thought that in every war, each side has a wide-furrowed brow set of experts.
    But on one side, if they had less a number of experts, would it mean they would lose?
    It could be, you can get too much of a good thing.

  52. Dennis Zoff
    Posted August 25, 2018 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    Excellent article John, and exactly to the point.

    In a successful international BOD, one is surrounded by experts in their chosen profession (subject matter expertise), who produce their department’s/Division’s/Country business’s/Regional territory’s strategy plan for discussion, drawing on their substantial industry knowledge, years of field experience, business decision acumen, political nous and most importantly, their previous results? (May & Hammond are extremely light on all these qualities)

    However, it is ultimately the Chairman/CEO/MD’s final decision and responsibility to execute a given strategy. After carefully considering the most advantageous outcome to meet the requirements of all stakeholders, particularly when it is a Multi-Billion international business, the chosen strategy has significant responsibilities and ramifications for all concerned; one’s own intrinsic character is paramount to its success. I am a great believer in character, honesty, integrity, astuteness and a singular personal robustness in the execution of strategic plans. (Few ministers have the nous or the instinct required to understand the ramifications. Sadly, again, May & Hammond are extremely light on these qualities)

    A real-life example; we use many subject matter experts from outside the corporation (which are not to be found in-house) to provide a detailed analysis of a particular problem. However, their analysis is not in its self a decision maker but merely a small part of an overall analysis of the situation and therefore should never be taken in isolation when enforcing a decision. (Sadly, May & Hammond are run by so-called experts due to their own lack of common-sense and personal acumen?)

    Subject matter experts have their place and are important for the analysis of future decisons, but if one is to lead from the front, one’s own common sense, insightful experience, acuity and ability to make an “overall judgement call” are the keys to success! I have said this many times to MBA students during my career. (Perhaps May & Hammond need to go back to class?)

  53. forthurst
    Posted August 25, 2018 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    I believe JR is referring to experts in the sense of soothsayers. These people are happy to predict the future when their palm is crossed with silver, as often as not, twenty pieces; they do not offer money back guarantees for when their forecasts are negated by a future reality.

    Maynard Keynes famously predicted the consequences of the return to the gold standard and those since who have predicted a beneficial outcome to the imposition of the ERM or the Euro, clearly lack either Keynes’ intelligence or expertise or even the ability to learn from history that to impose the value of money which itself is a commodity is likely to have dire consequences.

  54. Don Fellows
    Posted August 25, 2018 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    Hi John,
    Do you know if this is true? “Chequers -Once signed..it can NEVER BE CHANGED EVER. No referendum, (deemed illegal ) or act of Parliament can change this disgraceful rendition of sovereignty.”

  55. Rien Huizer
    Posted August 25, 2018 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    Mr Redwood, you are right in a general sense. Some officials, like judges, politicians and non-officials, like managers and non executive directors, must form their views traking into account the best expert advice thay can find. Of course experts will disagree, but usually within a range and most areas of expertise will have a “mainstream”. Venturing outside the mainstream for advice is risky and should be based on more than just intuition or personal sympathy. If you would als a panel formed out of, say the last 20 Nobel Prize winners in Economics, you would find none who would substantially disagree with the advice of economists from British official experts (eg the Treasury, BHoE) British academic experts (eg LSE) or international experts (IMF, OECD) and support the views of, eg Minford. Not that Minford’s predictions would be necessarily wrong but that he picks non-mainstream assumptions and that in those assumptions he shows very strong political bias. Few people would agree that the transition from reality towards Minford’s Heaven would be considered acceptable by the UK median voter, because they imply a very strong change in working conditions, economic prospects for sectors like agriculture and manufacturing. A dictator might be able to lead his tribe trhough the Red Sea (and not end up in the desert). And so on.

    Of course Minford is not alone but he appears to represent the strongest contrast to the experts you do not wish to rely on.

    I guess we may see circumstances (a hard no deal for instance) that may or may not support one of those views.

    • Edward2
      Posted August 26, 2018 at 7:37 am | Permalink

      If these mainstream economic experts keep getting their predictions wrong at what point would you start to think the outsiders opinions may be more correct?

      • Rien Huizer
        Posted August 26, 2018 at 8:15 am | Permalink

        That depends on what informs their view. If it is correct in terms of economc theory (I mean microeconomic theory which is relatively uncontroversial and standard macro which is not but still useful) and has realistic assumptions, I’d be prepared to look at it. If it is based on speculation or worse, fantasy, I would not.

        The problem with what I suspect find objectionable in those expert views, is twofold: people who do not like a prediction (or rather a projection) tend to blam the “science”. Two, Mr Redwood’s constant criticism of official predictions (made by top class, internationally respected people, pse keep that in mind) rests on an apparent disagreement between prediction and outcome.

        That is misleading and most politicians who use this trick know this very well: the early predictions about brexit were based on the assumption that Britain would severe its ties very quickly and drastically. I still believe that if that had been the case, those predictions could well have been good. Two things influenced the outcome: (1) Brexit did not happen yet and business does not believe it is going to happen as feared, but that the UK will stay closely aligned to the EU, but with a liile less obligations and a little more freedom to diverge, and without FULL access to the single market. (2) the world economy and especially the UK’s EU trading partners are growing very fast (per capita) so that creates a slipstream, enhanced by a weaker yet stable pound.

        So if you read that those predictions were wrong that is correct because the assumptions were wrong. But believing that the “experts” are bad, or devious, is not warranted on the available evidence.

        Reply The expert predictions of the good that would flow from ERM membership were completely wrong as I predicted at the time. We lurched from inflationary boom to disastrous bust as was obvious to any sensible person. Your attempts to explain away the wrong forecasts re the winter of 2016-17 are silly, and you leave unexplained the fact that they now admit their wrong headed model doesn’t work for shorter term forecasts!

    • Dennis Zoff
      Posted August 26, 2018 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

      Rien Huizer

      Why do you persist in supporting so-called laughable sciolistic experts who are constantly, woefully and demonstrably wrong? (in my world they would have been fired long ago!)…..though of course, the chosen Remainer tactic is to criticize/demean those pro-Brexit experts that get it correct, right?

      Please produce erudite facts!….though I understand it is increasingly harder for Remainers to bring hard evidence to bear, hence your desperate sophistry!

      I don’t expect a reply….you rarely, if ever, support your delusive claims!

      • Rien Huizer
        Posted August 27, 2018 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

        Just read my comments above. Someone who disagrees with 99% of the academic community in an academic discipline is either very brave or rather foolish.

        • Dennis Zoff
          Posted August 28, 2018 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

          Rien Huizer

          A fair point.

          Now then, if you would be so kind and for my personal edification, please point me to one of your experts that have actually got a prediction right…no waffle please, just a name and their correct prediction regarding Brexit?

  56. Original Richard
    Posted August 25, 2018 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

    The BBC are constantly interviewing “experts” and “independent think tanks” giving the impression that they are providing unbiased information when in fact they are simply lobby groups.

    The BBC, because it is a national broadcaster, should by legislation be required to always inform the viewer/listener of how the interviewee is funded both before and after the interview.

    • Andy
      Posted August 25, 2018 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

      That’ll be fun when they interview Mr Rees-Mogg – among others.

      • Edward2
        Posted August 26, 2018 at 7:43 am | Permalink

        Bit of a difference between elected politicians giving their views and experts who one assumes are unbiased and purely academic giving us their opinions.

        When you see some experts are not unbiased in the type of organisations they work for and then discover who funds their work, then broadcasters should tell us that information.

  57. margaret
    Posted August 25, 2018 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    Unfortunately some experts agree simply because their colleagues are experts.I myself have argued in my profession that things are so. against experts and have been eventually proved right and policies made by my actions , but of course turned around. I have many times been right about medical problems where the experts have disagreed, but that is experience in that is is seeing similar before and watching a similar analytic process follow on down the line.
    Sometimes it is heartbreaking to be right when consequences are fatal and I wish I was wrong.
    Other times it is better just to give in and let them get it wrong.

  58. agricola
    Posted August 25, 2018 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

    Now back from a superb week of sailplane flying in northern Spain, only to discover continued speculation.
    In terms of legislation for the past considerable number of years MPs have been on a free ride. Legislation has flowed from the EU with almost automatic incorporation into UK law and little if any involvement from MPs, Ironic when you consider the number of lawyers in the HoC. Post Brexit these same MPs are going to have to start thinking in terms of the legislation required to run an entirely different UK. Question is can a bunch of spoon fed , largely remain MPs start thinking in an entirely new way. Can the Board of thirty years past come back and start running UK ltd. I personally have grave doubts

    • Manesh
      Posted August 25, 2018 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

      Then we need to find some MPs with the appropriate skills, knowledge and experience.

  59. Remington Norman
    Posted August 25, 2018 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

    Two questions:

    1. If the fallibility of experts is so evident (which it is), why do not MPs recognise this and question expert judgements? Climate Change and Brexit are obvious examples.

    2. The public ‘tells us to get on with it’. Indeed, so why don’t you??

  60. English Pensioner
    Posted August 25, 2018 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

    There’s a big difference between ‘experts’ and ‘impartial experts’. The big problem is in politics where most so-called experts are biased in favour of a particular viewpoint. Thus at present I have little belief in experts in climate change or economics. The latter, in particular seems to have as many different views as there are experts!

  61. The Prangwizard
    Posted August 25, 2018 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

    All so true, and if only the lazy would think so clearly. Those who rely on experts are simply lazy, can’t be bothered to think for themselves.

  62. fedupsoutherner
    Posted August 25, 2018 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

    Reading all your posts and replies this week John I can’t help thinking we are in a ridiculous situation where we, as a country cannot actually leave the EU. Why is it so impossible for a country to decide it is going to be sovereign again but not be able to trade freely and friendly with neighbouring countries? Is the only way to be sovereign to go to war to achieve it? We have had to do it in the past but it would see that we cannot do it in a friendly manner now. We are not allowed to leave in good faith without having Brussels still telling us what we can and cannot do. Who the hell got us into this mess, a mess we cannot get our of or we are being told that. Just leave and sort out the mess later. If the EU don’t play ball then it wont be a mess for just us but for other counties too and it might make people get around the table and realise how pathetic they are being. If Canada can be a free country and trade with the EU then why not us? It is a classic case of bullying and we should lead the way and let others follow. It is surely wrong when a bunch of unelected, largely unknown people can tie us into something that the people want out of. And before someone says it was only an advisory referendum, weren’t you listening when Cameron told us this vote would be a legitimate vote and if we voted out then we would leave the next day? If it weren’t a serious referendum then there would have been no need for high court judges and the likes of Gina Miller. She definitely knew it was a real referendum. We have had two years of mucking around and politicians have managed to completely balls it up. No surprises there then!

  63. Pat
    Posted August 25, 2018 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

    After the disaster of the ERM how many of the treasury ‘s experts were moved to other duties?
    It now being apparent that treasury forecasts for the immediate aftermath of a leave vote were wildly wrong. How many are still being paid at public expense, and credited with the term expert?
    There are many other instances.
    If people payed for their expertise continue to suffer no consequences for being spectacularly wrong, then they will continue to offer advice based on their preferences rather than their professional judgement, assuming them to have any.

  64. libertarian
    Posted August 25, 2018 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

    Definition of an Expert

    An EX is a has been and a spurt is a drip under pressure

  65. Iain Gill
    Posted August 25, 2018 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

    In my own line of work, eherm profession if you like, most of the practitioners don’t bother joining the supposed professional body, one of my old bosses has been the head of that body although long since retired, and amongst proper good practitioners those that put themselves up as experts in trials and in the press are regarded as a laughing stock. The real genuine experts are unlikely to be visible or called upon by politicians.

  66. Original Richard
    Posted August 25, 2018 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

    It is puzzling to hear EU supporting experts advising us that the organisation of which they say we should be a member will be treating us so badly after we leave.

    The unfriendly threats of grounding flights, making the shipment to the UK of goods, including food and essential medicines, more time consuming and difficult, and either cancelling orders for UK goods or deliberately slowing their entry into the EU etc. are surely not the actions of club of which we want to be a member.

  67. Simon Coleman
    Posted August 25, 2018 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

    So why didn’t you become a forecaster then, if you’ve got such a talent for it? In my experience, people who believe they’ve never been wrong have never learnt anything. I’m not sure why you keep bringing up the ancient history of the ERM. It didn’t create a boom or bust, as we already had a recession caused by runaway (double digit) inflation – the work of your Brexit mate, Nigel Lawson. We went into the ERM at the wrong rate and it just made things worse, but the economy was already in stag-flation. And as for the post-referendum predictions, you have to revisit these every week. In fact the high inflation after the vote was predicted and it’s helped to push personal debt to record levels. And what about the export boom you predicted ? – it’s fizzled out, despite the pound’s devaluation.

    Reply I do provide forecasts. Shadowing the DM preparatory to joining the ERM set up the boom bust it caused.

    • Edward2
      Posted August 26, 2018 at 10:23 am | Permalink

      Exports…in the last two years up from £43 bn to over £52 bn
      Good growth and the opposite to your prediction of a recession Simon.
      Trend is still rising.

      Rising “debt” is due to greatly increased use of cards to pay for everything and over 75% of cars now bought on cheap monthly leasing deals.
      Sign of confidence in the future of the UK.

  68. Snitchella Studruff
    Posted August 26, 2018 at 12:13 am | Permalink

    Vince Cable plans to resign and leave someone outside the British Parliament in charge. No change in LibDem EU policy then.

  69. Jasg
    Posted August 29, 2018 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    More a ‘tyranny of consensus’ than ‘experts’. When I find an economist who predicted the financial crash and the oil price slump then I’ll consider that person to be an expert. The rest are just parroting each others guesses with an abject lack of humility at having been wrong so often in the past.

    In all fields there are a lot of well-qualified journeymen who remain ‘in with the in-crowd’ but very few real experts who bother to properly diagnose issues and predict outcomes with fact-based analysis rather than just quoting the currently fashionable, fact-free opinion.

  70. a-tracy
    Posted August 30, 2018 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    Talking of experts, today I read that schools in very expensive areas to live and those most disadvantaged schools are struggling to hire physics, maths, chemistry and language teachers.

    “For example, at GCSE-level, outside London, just over a third of maths teachers (37%) and 45% of chemistry teachers at the poorest schools have a relevant degree, compared with 51% of maths teachers and 68% of chemistry teachers working at more affluent schools outside the capital.”

    Perhaps it is time to look at creating dedicated teaching degrees to take students up to GCSE A* grade standard or A level A* grade in these subjects. i.e specific degrees subsidised by the state if the recruit takes a job in a British state school for five years after their degree ends in Maths, Chemistry and Physics, or STEM teaching degrees. You don’t need to be a physicist with three years intensive university degree to teach up to 16 or 18 but you do need more physics, chemistry and maths knowledge than someone with an A level in those subjects that studied a none related degree.

    You also need to think about ending this nationwide same pay where someone teaching in the North East or Wales earns the same as someone in a very expensive to live area. Has anyone checked if teachers in the North East or Wales stays in the job much longer than those elsewhere in the Country because their pay differential with the local workforce and housing is so much greater to give them better buying power. When you hike pay it could then be more proportional to living costs in each region.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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