Gove questioned over Hen Harriers – and spectacularly doesn’t answer!

In a bit of a coup, Rob Yorke got an exclusive interview with Michael Gove – I’m almost jealous.

There are some interesting things in the interview – all words dropping out of the mouths of senior politicians are somewhat interesting, as much in what they don’t say as what they do.

But Rob Yorke asked a good question on Hen Harriers and got the most spectacular of non-answers – even for a politician, as follows:


RY: The Hen Harrier Action Plan has recently involved Natural England issuing a trial licence for brood management. It’s a complex subject for many people. Could the Government help frame this contentious issue?



MG:  Yes. I think that there is a role for Government but also more broadly the DEFRA family. We’re very lucky in this department to have people who have chosen to work here because the issues the department deals with are issues that they deeply care about. So one of the things I want to be able to do is to provide them with a platform to make a difference.




More on brood meddling tomorrow morning…

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14 Replies to “Gove questioned over Hen Harriers – and spectacularly doesn’t answer!”

  1. For goodness sake he is a Tory they will always look after themselves and the establishment. Your confidence in anything other is commendable but ultimately naive. Politicians ( and labour are just as culpable ) are failing this country spectacularly, and Gove was one of the driving forces that got us into this mind numbing mess. No positive change ,environmental or otherwise will happen while the party of power and privilege are continually elected.

  2. He likes to talk vaguely about the environment and how important it is but doesn’t seem to have a clue about what this entails. Does he have any understanding about ecology? Is he even interested in anything more than a sound bite?

  3. So, let's all come in behind this opportunity and follow up his evasion? To my mind evasion shows lack of commitment to open transparent business? It further risks his credibility which is rapidly diminishing? We gave him chance, this is the outcome (sure similar examples will follow)?

    Given recent welcome reminders we might also ask if he sees a future for Natural England given their stance over upland moorland management practices and plans?

    We can predict the cut & paste replies but they say politicians take notice of full post bags ....

  4. Did he understand the question? It sounds very much like an answer from someone who hasn't the slightest clue what the plan is. His words are just woolly nonsense.

  5. Having read the point that @Aquila made about whether Gove understood the question, I have to agree that there is the distinct possibility that Gove wasn't actually being evasive, and he simply didn't understood what he was being asked. His response is the sort of meaningless waffle politicians use when they don't understand an issue, but they want to be seen to be saying something meaningful.

    In fact Gove's whole conversion to the environmental cause may simply be because he has little knowledge about the subject. One thing that struck me at the time was whether Gove understood the sort of resistance he would face from within the Conservative Party, and from Conservative supporting vested interests, if he tried to put the vague sentiment he was expressing into practise.

    This was what I was really questioning when Gove started apparently talking sensibly about the environment. Would Gove really be prepared to take on Conservative supporting vested interests, who prevent and oppose sensible environmental solutions?

    1. SteB, reading the whole interview, I agree. He gave more nuanced and less traditional answers to other questions and even admitted he'd been (a bit) wrong about agrochemicals. I think he simply didn't understand the question - so I sense an opportunity, not a criticism.

      Time for some letters?

  6. Putting the Hen Harrier question to one side (where as Mark alludes it's what he didn't say that was interesting), I can't say I found any of his answers to be particularly concerning, quite the contrary. This is just the type of anodyne interview I would expect any Minister to give to this type of publication, but in general is say the overall content is streets and miles ahead of what I would have expected from any of his recent predecessors. And although I'm loath to use the term expect in any comment about Michael Gove for obvious reasons, I'd simply make the point that expert knowledge is not essential for a Minister in any Department.

    1. Strip out the verbiage and you have an answer

      Q: Could the Government help frame this contentious issue?
      A: Yes

      MG: Yes.

  7. I prefer the image of Gove used in the Countryfile article to the one in this blog - more thug and less Alfred E Neumann

  8. His comments made me recall job interviews when a question had me floundering. however being the position he holds and the responsibility he has |I would expect better fgrm him


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