Gove goes for brevity

Politicians are often accused of talking too much and avoiding questions so it is refreshing to see and hear a politician give very short and direct responses to questions during an interview.

This was the case with Michael Gove (MG), the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, on Sunday when he was interviewed on the Andrew Marr (AM) show. Towards the end of the interview he gave three very short and succinct ‘yes’ answers to rather lengthy questions which somewhat disarmed the interviewer.


AM: are you absolutely clear
    that our environmental and food standards
    will not be loosened in any way
    as a result of leaving the EU
    and doing free trade deals with other countries
    including America
AM: well that’s very very (.)
    okay let’s move hhh ((laughs))
    in that case let’s move on
    the [other f-
MG:     [I think it’s always a good idea
    to have the answers much shorter
    than the questions Andrew
AM: that was a very very long question
    can I ask you another (.) relatively long question
    which is (.) erm
    up up until the end of this parliament
    farmers have been guaranteed
    that subsidies aren’t gonna come down
    after that it’s a it’s a moot point
    you have suggested that very very wealthy farmers
    who get HUGE amounts of money
    from the EU at the moment
    like sir James Dyson (.) and others
    will get less money (.) under (.) the new regime
    is that true
MG: ↘yes
AM: another fantastic que-
    let me move on let- okay
    is no deal better than a bad deal
MG: yes
         (AM=Andrew Marr; MG=Michael Gove;  ↘ falling intonation)

External link to clip

Gove’s brevity in answering the questions somewhat disarmed the interviewer who could be heard hesitating slightly after the first two answers. After the first ‘yes’ some laughter and facial smiles indicated the oddity of the situation of the interviewer’s questions being longer than the politician’s answer, a situation which Gove commented on: “I think it’s always a good idea to have the answers much shorter than the questions Andrew”.


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  1. Pingback: Quote of the Week

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