Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Sunday 26 April 2009

On the courting of controversy - or how David Starkey operates, most amusingly

Many of my fellow Scottish bloggers have been rather exercised in the past couple of days by some, ahem, 'undiplomatic' (but, as usual, accurate if over-dramatic) utterances by historian and TV personality David Starkey in relation to Scotland. I did not watch Question Time on Thursday, as I had guests staying with me last week, but his appearance on the show seems to have enlivened the proceedings considerably. My own attitude is that at least some Scots need to calm down - he is after all entitled to his views, however grandiloquently he chooses to express them and I don't get the impression that too many in the audience were cheering him on, rather there was some slightly embarrassed tittering. For context, do please remember that the broadcast went out on Thursday, which happened this week to be 23rd April, which is St George's Day in England, so some hyperbole from an Englishman is perhaps to be expected on this of all days. Mind you Saint George has about as much connection with England as Saint Andrew has with Scotland.

For myself I think a far more interesting segment of Thursday's show was the one below where Starkey dismisses John Denholm (who he? - well, he's a Minister in our sorry excuse at present for a Government) and his efforts to justify Labour's latest sound-bite policy, supposedly in an effort to dig the country out of the hole they have dug for us, but in reality a crude device to appeal to the worst instincts of 'old' Labour ahead of the European and local elections (in England) and next's year's General Election. Even though he is eventually told to 'shut up' by David Dimbleby, what Starkey is saying is [again] absolutely correct:

(I have replaced the link to the video-clip, as the earlier one has been removed by YouTube)

It's to be expected that some of the wilder elements of the SNP's supporters have latched onto Starkey's remarks, but that someone speaking on behalf of the Scottish Executive (aka 'Government') chooses to join in somewhat defensively, even whilst attempting to retain some balance, is in itself a reflection that David Starkey's reflections, whilst expressed in somewhat offensive terms, do have some merit. No doubt this has only added to the fury of some SNP supporters (and of a few supporters of 'unionist' parties who really should know better).


  1. Having seen Dr Starkey in his programmes on Henry Tudor, he seems to have prospered from his career as a controverionalist to the point of being a little fat perhaps. Your take that he said the words to get an predictable reaction seems spot on to me. And didn't he do well?

  2. Yes, I have noticed that the good Dr seems to have become somewhat rotund of late - but then who am I to talk?! - lol


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