EU: In or Out? Faisal Islam Interview with Michael Gove, 3.06.16 8pm

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SKY NEWS – EU:IN OR OUT – MICHAEL GOVE – SKY NEWS – 8p.m. 3.06.16

PART ONE: INTERVIEW WITH MICHAEL GOVE

FAISAL ISLAM:  Mr Gove, you’re a man with a dream, exactly how many independent economic authorities share your dream of Britain outside the EU, can you name a single one?

MICHAEL GOVE: Well if you are talking about some of the independent economic authorities who have already weighed into the debate, they are people who have been wrong in the past.  They are organisations I’m afraid who didn’t predict the global crash in 2008 and they are the same organisations in many cases that also said we should be inside the single currency.

FI: That was some time ago, can you name a single one?

MICHAEL GOVE: Well my point is that I’m glad that all these organisations are not on my side, I’m glad …

FI: You’re glad that economic experts aren’t on your side?

MICHAEL GOVE: Well Margaret Thatcher said of economists, the great thing is economists are fine but you mustn’t inhale. The truth is that I prefer, I prefer to take the view of business people who are actually generating jobs and creating wealth.  The organisations that many people are citing in this debate are organisations that have been wrong in the past and I think that they are wrong now.  In any case …

FI: But not a single independent economic authority, not a single one, you must have one.

MICHAEL GOVE: There are economists and there are business people who do back us, there are 300 business people who put their names to a letter in the Daily Telegraph.

FI: Douglas Carswell’s book agent.

MICHAEL GOVE: No, I’m talking about the 300 people …

FI: There he is on my list, they’re not the businesses that generate the jobs apart from the job for Douglas Carswell’s book.

MICHAEL GOVE: Well putting aside Douglas Carswell’s book, which I’m sure is very good, the key thing is that of those 300 business people you had some real business leaders who have been making a huge difference …

FI: A minority you would admit.

MICHAEL GOVE: No …

FI: You don’t admit a minority?

MICHAEL GOVE: I think if you look at the business community, the genuine wealth creators in this country, organisations like JCB which manufacture globally, organisations like Next which are …

FI: But we haven’t heard from Mr Bamford, he’s been a bit shy, why would that be?

MICHAEL GOVE: We know that he’s in favour of our leaving, we know …

FI: Get him out to say hello to us, why not?

MICHAEL GOVE: We know that if we vote to leave the European Union and we can take control of our economic destiny, many of those organisations that have been cited so regularly as being in favour of our being in the European Union are organisations that have consistently made errors, organisations that have received money in many cases from the European Union, they are not genuinely independent, they are organisations with an agenda and an agenda that has often been wrong.

FI: An agenda?  Okay, economic authorities we’ve had none, economists, singular, how many have you got?

MICHAEL GOVE: Well one of the things about economists as I mentioned earlier…

FI: Have you got a football team’s worth?

MICHAEL GOVE: I’m sure we do.

FI: There are 600 on the Prime Minister’s side, on the Remain side, come on, give us 11 at least.  

MICHAEL GOVE: When we had a debate on whether or not we should join the single currency there were a majority of economists then who were in favour of the single currency so many of the people who are arguing that we should remain in the European Union now are the same people and the arguments that they are making are that we should cede control of our economy, our trade and our money to unelected and unaccountable individuals.   My view is that we should take back control of our economy because their argument is that we are better off if there are individuals who don’t have our best interests at heart dictating our future.  My view is that we would be better off and the majority of people in Britain I believe are on my side on this, we would be better off if we trusted the leaders of this country, accountable to people in this country, to spend money on our priorities like the NHS.  

FI: Okay, so you can’t name an economic authority, you are struggling to name more than a handful of economists, can you name a single one of our international allies, the countries we’ve gone into battle with, who support you?

MICHAEL GOVE:  Well one of the things about some of the leaders of foreign countries is that they would never accept …

FI: Can you name a single one?

MICHAEL GOVE:  They would never accept a curtailment of their sovereignty in the way that they are arguing that we should curtail our sovereignty.

FI: But can you name a single one that backs your – you know, it is a complicated thing, we look for expertise, we look for experts, we look for our allies, they’ve got our back, they’ve had our back, we’ve one into battle with these people – give me one?  You can’t name one can you?

MICHAEL GOVE: One of the problems is that … well one of the things …

FI: I’ll give you a half for Donald Trump, are you going count for Donald Trump?  [Applause]

MICHAEL GOVE:  One of the things about Donald Trump, one of the things about all of these people is that they don’t have a vote in this referendum, the people in this audience, the people watching at home have a vote and my view is that when you hear foreign leaders, when you hear politicians, don’t pay attention to what they say, pay attention to what they do and the truth is that Barack Obama would never accept a court in Mexico decreeing what the law in the United States would be, Barack Obama would never accept politicians in Latin America saying what should happen in the United States of America.

FI: He accepts being part of NAFTA and NATO but the leaders of the …

MICHAEL GOVE: That is totally different, surrendering sovereignty in that way…

FI: But let’s just look at this now, the leaders of the US, India, China, Australia, every single one of our allies, the Bank of England, the IFS, the IMF, the CBI, five former NATO Secretary-Generals, the Chief Exec of the NHS and most of the leaders of the trade unions in Britain all say that you, Boris and Nigel are wrong. Why should the public trust you over them?

MICHAEL GOVE: I’m not asking the public to trust me, I’m asking the public to trust themselves.  I’m asking the British public to take back control of our destiny from those organisations which are distant, unaccountable, elitists and don’t have their own interests at heart.

FI: Elitist?  Elitist?  The Lord High Chancellor, a conspiracy of elites?  It sounds like Wolf Hall.

MICHAEL GOVE:  Well I haven’t seen Wolf Hall but the one thing that I would say is that the people who are backing the Remain campaign are people who have done very well thank you out of the European Union and the people increasingly … [Applause] … absolutely.  The people who are arguing that we should get out are concerned to ensure that the working people of this country at last get a fair deal.  I think the people of this country have had enough of experts with organisations from acronyms saying that …

FI: The people of this country have had enough of experts, what do you mean by that?

MICHAEL GOVE:  … from organisations with acronyms saying that they know what is best and getting it consistently wrong because these people …

FI: The people of this country have had enough of experts?

MICHAEL GOVE:  Because these people are the same ones who have got consistently wrong …

FI: This is [inaudible] politics this isn’t it?  This is Oxbridge Trump.

MICHAEL GOVE:  No, it’s a faith, Faisal, in the British people to make the right decision.

FI: Blind faith.

MICHAEL GOVE:  I don’t think it is because one of the striking things about this debate is that those who are arguing that we should remain have a vested financial interest in …

FI: Ah right, so are they stupid or is there a conspiracy?  There’s a conspiracy.

MICHAEL GOVE:  No, I’m pointing out that the majority of people in this country are suffering as a result of our membership of the European Union, their wages are lower, access to public services is restricted …

FI: The majority of people?  The majority of people, 33 million people?  What’s your factual basis for that claim that 33 million people are suffering from EU membership?  [Applause] You complain about the other side’s figures, what is your factual basis to say the majority of people in this country are suffering from EU membership?  You don’t have it do you?

MICHAEL GOVE:  Well I know myself from my own background, I know that the European Union depresses employment and destroys jobs.  My father had a fishing business in Aberdeen destroyed by the European Union and the Common Fisheries Policy, the European Union …

FI: That’s one person.

MICHAEL GOVE: The European Union has hollowed out communities across this country and it has also contributed to lower salaries for working people and it has also ensured that young people in this country don’t have the opportunities to get the entry level jobs that we heard about last night.  Now you can say that their concerns don’t matter …

FI: I didn’t say that, I didn’t say that, I didn’t disagree.  I said give me an example, you claimed that your father was an example …

MICHAEL GOVE: You were dismissing my father’s example, you were dismissing the concerns of working people.  You are on the side, Faisal, of the elites, I’m on the side of the people.  [Applause]

FI: You said the majority, you the Lord High Chancellor said a majority of the British public were suffering from the EU.  You have no factual evidence for that whatsoever.  [Applause]

MICHAEL GOVE: Let me give you a fact  …

FI: You don’t have any evidence for it.  Let’s move on.

MICHAEL GOVE: Yes I do.  Every year we give billions of pounds to the European Union, billions of pounds that we should be spending here.  Tax payers are handing money over to the European Union so that it can be spent on Jean-Claude Juncker’s expense account and his private jet rather than being spent on our NHS and our priorities.  

FI: David Cameron’s got a private jet now hasn’t he, David Cameron’s got a plane, it’s your government’s policies that have directly contributed to some poorer people’s loss of income, you’ve cut their benefits so why are you not blaming that.  You are blaming all the problems of this country on Europe.  

MICHAEL GOVE: I don’t blame all the problems of this country on Europe but I do believe that it is contributing.

FI: You can’t find a factual basis for those.

MICHAEL GOVE: Well I have already pointed out to you a number of facts which you haven’t …

FI: On the side of your bus in one metre tall letters, let me quote, ‘We send £350 million to Brussels every week, let’s fund the NHS instead’.  Which week was it that we sent £350 million to Brussels?  [Applause]   Was it this week, last week, was it Christmas week, Easter week?  Which week?

MICHAEL GOVE: Every week actually we send more than £350 million to Brussels.

FI: So it comes out of a bank account in Britain and goes to Brussels, does it literally leave the country?

MICHAEL GOVE: Yes, because if you look at the Office of National Statistics report …

FI: I’ve looked at the report.

MICHAEL GOVE: They point out that we send more than £350 million there.

FI: But we don’t send it to them, it doesn’t leave the country.

MICHAEL GOVE: Yes we do and then we get some of it back, we do get some of it back …

FI: You know it doesn’t leave the country and you don’t just have to listen to me, the UK Stats Authority says the figure is misleading, the Treasury Select Committee containing Brexiteers says it is deeply problematic, one of your own back bench colleagues, a Conservative MP who is campaigning to leave, who is a respected doctor, refuses to hand out leaflets because he says you are treating the public as fools.  [Applause]

MICHAEL GOVE: The fact is that we send more than £360 million to the European Union, we send £20 billion gross a year, we get some money back but the money that we get back, the rebate, we cannot count on.  The rebate is decided at a European level, it’s not in the treaties, it’s not a guarantee and as the Chancellor of the Exchequer has pointed out, that rebate can be altered to our disadvantage.

FI: Aaron Banks, successful businessman, has poured hundreds of thousands of pounds into donations, into your side, said on social media this week about that number on your bus, it’s not smart to lie.  It’s not smart to lie is it? [Applause]

MICHAEL GOVE: Absolutely not but I’m telling the truth about …

FI: Aaron Banks says you’re lying.

MICHAEL GOVE: Well Aaron Banks can say what he likes …

FI: Aaron Banks funded UKIPs manifesto, took an assessment of this figure at the general election last year and got it independently audited and it was half what you say, it was £9 billion not £19 billion.  Would you independently audit your figure, let the CBR in?  Why don’t we do that?  Why don’t you independently audit it?  [Applause]

MICHAEL GOVE: I am perfectly happy to have …

FI: Why don’t you get the same people who audited the UKIP manifesto to audit your number.

MICHAEL GOVE: I am perfectly happy to defend the figure because it is a fact.

FI: Should we get the independent auditor in?

MICHAEL GOVE: It’s a real figure which we’ve already had the Office of National Statistics …

FI: You won’t allow an independent audit of your figure when it was done to UKIP on your own side.  Extraordinary stuff.

MICHAEL GOVE: Well firstly I’m not a representative of UKIP, secondly I am happy to have that figure independently audited and thirdly, and I think the most important point here is that we don’t have control of that money.  There are billions of pounds that we send to the European Union every year and the Institute for Fiscal Studies has pointed out that if we took that money back we could spend it on our NHS, we could use it to reduce VAT on fuel …

FI: The IFS did not back your number, the IFS said there would be a 40 billion hole in your budget.  You know that, don’t quote the IFS, you are great defender of …

MICHAEL GOVE: I’ll quote exactly who I like, Faisal.

FI: You are a great defender of Westminster democracy but you’re willing to repeat this misleading figure, you’ve imported this Trump campaign to the mother of all parliaments.  Post-truth politics, that’s what we’re seeing.  [Applause]

MICHAEL GOVE: No, because if you look at every reputable record of how much money we spend on the European Union it is £20 billion gross, just over half of that in a net sum.  So that means that there are billions of pounds, you can’t deny it Faisal and neither can anyone else, that are spent on our behalf by people who are unaccountable, unelected and whom we can’t get rid of.  I think we should take back control of that money.  [Applause]  I think that money should come back here and also I think it is wrong of you to say that people who want our democracy restored and who believe that Britain should be a self-governing nation are people following in the footsteps of Donald Trump.  It is that sort of sneering condescension towards people who believe in democracy that discredits those on the Remain side of the campaign.  [Applause]

FI: All I have said it’s your attitude to facts, it looks like to a leading figure on your own side that you were misrepresenting the cost of the EU so let’s look at the actual cost of leaving.  What would you say to someone in this audience who works in manufacturing, cars for example, who could lose their job because of your Brexit dreams?

MICHAEL GOVE: I think that the truth about the European Union is that it is a job destroying machine and anyone who is working in manufacturing here should know that they will have increased opportunities if we leave the European Union because we will have an opportunity to forge new trade deals with other countries, China, India and America.  More than that, working people in this country have lower wages as a result of our membership of the European Union.  You quoted Aaron Banks, let me quote the leader of the campaign that wants to keep us in, Stuart Rose.  He said that wages would rise if we left the European Union so more jobs, higher wages and a stronger manufacturing base if we choose to leave.

FI: Fundamentally the risk to jobs won’t affect you as Lord High Chancellor, that’s the issue, you are willing to take a risk with other people’s jobs but it’s not a risk on your job.  [Applause]

MICHAEL GOVE: If you heard earlier, Faisal, I know what it’s like to see someone lose their job as a result of the European Union.  I saw my father lose his job, I saw his business go to the wall, I saw 24 people who he employed also lose their jobs.  

FI: I have also seen my father lose his job, you are not unique in that Mr Gove,  many people will  have seen it, you have no special moral authority because of that.  You want to do an experiment with other people’s jobs, you want to …

MICHAEL GOVE: I have seen friends lose their jobs, lose their income and lose their livelihood as a result of the European Union.  Do not skate over their misery, don’t dismiss the pain that they’ve had, don’t belittle the hurt that has been caused by the job destroying machine that is the European Union.  

FI: You don’t have the facts to prove that.

MICHAEL GOVE: And also, also look at the facts of unemployment in southern Europe.  Youth unemployment in Greece is nearly 50%, in Spain it is 40%.  These are facts and these facts are also a story of human misery.  All those who argue we should stay in the European Union …

FI: We are out of the eurozone.

MICHAEL GOVE: … but there is a great consequence for us because those jobless young people in Greece and Spain who are suffering so much as a result of Europe are coming here in order to put pressure on jobs here and as we heard last night, young people in this country face a tougher future.  You can’t deny any of these facts.

FI: We are going to come on to that.  Does your dream come with a guarantee that when the UK leaves the single market, which is your idea, the biggest free trade zone in the world, that it won’t cost any jobs?  Can you guarantee that?

MICHAEL GOVE: I can’t guarantee every person currently in work in their current job will keep their job but I can say … I can say …

FI: Who’s going to lose their job?

MICHAEL GOVE: Well 73 members of the European Parliament will be losing their job.  [Applause] Our European Commissioner will be losing their job and as far as I’m concerned I wish them well in the private sector.  [Applause]

FI: Jamie Diamond in Britain Today said Brexit would mean fewer JP Morgan jobs in the UK and more jobs in Europe, the biggest American bank, why do you know more about Jamie Diamond’s job plans than he does?

MICHAEL GOVE: Jamie Diamond and JP Morgan are contributing millions to the In campaign because they do very nicely thank you out of the European Union.  Banks like JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs said that Greece could enter the euro and they knew that was wrong.  Banks like JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs spend millions lobbying the European Union in order to rig a market in their favour.

FI: Did you back blocking the EU trying to limit spending …

MICHAEL GOVE: I am not interested in defending bankers positions.

FI: You defended against Europe the bonus caps, it’s extraordinary.

MICHAEL GOVE: No, others did, I did not because I’m not interested in defending the …

FI: You are part of the government that did that.  

MICHAEL GOVE: … the position of those who already have money, power and privilege.  

FI: Did you stand up in Cabinet to that decision?

MICHAEL GOVE: I explained to my Cabinet colleagues that we should not be on the side of the undeserving rich, we should be on the side of those who strive …

FI: So you tried to block the EU bonus limitations?

MICHAEL GOVE: I’ve made it clear on every platform that I’ve been given that we have in the European Union a market rigged in favour of the rich and stacked against the poor and I think that is wrong and needs to change.  [Applause]

FI: Let’s look at the value of the pound, that matters to everybody in the United Kingdom, all 33 million you talk about.  The Bank of England says it will fall, perhaps sharply, to quote them, if we vote to leave.  The Treasury says it will fall by 12 to 15%, City economists say 20%.  What is your prediction of how much sterling will fall if we vote to leave as you want?

MICHAEL GOVE: Well there was one economics commentator I was listening to last night, you Faisal, who said that the pound rises, the pound falls but Britain is a strong country and it will see its way through.  My own view is …

FI: What I said yesterday was a matter for the Prime Minister, what I am asking you is what you think …

MICHAEL GOVE: So were you not telling the truth yesterday? [Applause]

FI: I was asking the Prime Minister a question and you are trying to avoid talking about economics, you do not have an economic plan, can you tell me how much do you think sterling is going to fall or not at all?

MICHAEL GOVE: Well Faisal, it’s very interesting.  You said that yesterday you said something which you didn’t believe and then you accuse me of Donald Trump post-truth politics, I think there is some inconsistency there.  [Applause] I thought the argument you made last night was very good, if you don’t want to stand by it then I’m very sorry about it.

FI: I was asking a question.  The pound has already fallen, the truth is you have this dream but you’ve got no credible plan, despite having years to prepare for this you still haven’t come up with a coherent idea of what comes next in terms of our trade.  

MICHAEL GOVE: Yes I do and in fact it’s perfectly clear what we would do if we voted to leave the European Union.  The day afterwards we could pass legislation or introduce legislation which would limit the power of the European Court. That would mean that this country was safer because we could keep out criminals and we could kick out terrorists.  We could also take some of the money back that multi-nations refuse to pay because they use European Union law in order to evade the British tax authorities and then we could move on to have not just a free trade and friendly co-operation arrangement with other European Union countries, we could also have trade deals …

FI: A free trade and friendly arrangement, what is that?  Does that exist, is that an organisation, does it have headquarters, have you just made it up?

MICHAEL GOVE: No, because we have a free trade zone at the moment in Europe that stretches from Iceland to Istanbul.

FI: Is it an organisation, is there a website?

MICHAEL GOVE: No, but …

FI: It doesn’t have a website so it doesn’t exist.  Let’s move on.  You are saying…

MICHAEL GOVE: You don’t need to have a website in order to exist.  [Applause] I think most of the people in this audience don’t have their own personal website, I don’t doubt that they exist.  The key thing is there is no reason why any European country would want to erect trade barriers with Britain particularly when Germany sells more to us than we sell to them.   

FI: I know those facts.  Your dream is built on the idea that we will get world beating trade deals, 52 of them in world record time.  Every expert, head of every government including our own, says it is not possible but you are asking people to risk their jobs on the promise of you, Boris and Nigel.  You must have some super-secret negotiator in your back pocket, is it Boris, your secret weapon?  He has certainly got a unique diplomatic style.  

MICHAEL GOVE: Boris is wonderful but I don’t think …

FI: When he insults the leader of the free world on the basis of …

MICHAEL GOVE: You wanted to ask me about trade, let’s talk about trade.  

FI: No, no, do you back Boris’s feelings about …

MICHAEL GOVE: China has a trade deal with Switzerland and it has a trade deal with Iceland but it doesn’t have a trade deal with the European Union.  Iceland has a population smaller than Croydon, how could Switzerland get a trade deal with China when the European Union can’t?  Because the European Union is a big, bureaucratic and unwieldy organisation that cannot forge new trade deals.  Individual countries can but more than that, the Germans aren’t going to cut off their nose to spite their face.  We heard from people in the audience last night who pointed out that German car manufacturers and washing machine manufacturers are not going to say Angela Merkel, please make it more difficult for us to sell to Britain, absolutely not and you can’t deny that it would be in the self-interest of those countries and it is really important when it comes to trade that we should take back control.  At the moment our trade deals are negotiated by one individual who is arguing on behalf of 28 countries, I think that trade in this country should be shaped by one individual whose interest is British jobs.  [Applause]

FI: Do you have good judgement Mr Gove, do you have good foresight?

MICHAEL GOVE: I don't know.  

FI: Let’s remind the audience, you described the Iraq war as that rarest of things, a proper British foreign policy success five years after the invasion.  You were keen to say other people were wrong then and wrong now, are people entitled to say the same about you?

MICHAEL GOVE: Yes they are.  They can point out that I may have called the Iraq war wrong but, but I am very happy to acknowledge my mistake then.  It’s the invincible arrogance of Europe’s elites that gets me.  These are people that have seen the euro collapse, these are people who are presiding over a migration crisis on their borders and yet do they ever acknowledge that they need to change?  No.  They say they need more integration, more of our money, more control over this country.  I think it’s time that we said to people who are incapable of acknowledging that they have ever got anything wrong, I’m sorry you’ve had your day.  Unelected, unaccountable elites, I’m afraid it’s time to say you’re fired, we’re going to take back control.

FI: Thank you, Lord High Chancellor.  [Applause]