Principal rebutes Michael Gove

Photo: University of St Andrews

The Principal of the University of St Andrews, Sally Mapstone, has challenged the comments of government minister Michael Gove during the Brexit campaign regarding experts being elitist.

Mr Gove was in fact taught by Professor Mapstone during his time at the University of Oxford, where he studied English at Lady Margaret College, receiving an upper second-class degree.

During the Brexit campaign, Mr Gove had remarked that the UK had “had enough of experts.”

At the Festival of Politics hosted in Holyrood, Professor Mapstone said, “I would really want to resist the notion that just because you know a lot about a subject that puts you into, if you like, some class-based elite.

“But I do think if you’ve got expertise you need to develop the capacity to explain it in a way that makes people feel engaged and involved and that they want to hear some of that.”

She however joked that, “I worried for some time that his distaste for experts comes from having to sit through my Chaucer lectures.”

Professor Mapstone said her former student had characterised experts as “distanced” and that they “thought they knew best”.


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