Starkey. Freedom of speech’s Kristallnacht.

The shocking thing about David Starkey’s public shaming, and silencing, for being ‘a racist’ is that it comes as no surprise. For any white person who refuses to kowtow to the BLM doctrine of white privilege and black victimhood is by definition ‘a racist’ – and must be denounced as such. One only wonders who will be next.

For a historian of Starkey’s calibre, deeply immersed in the lifeblood of our nation’s past, the notion that history should be rewritten according to fashionable political nostrums of diversity, inclusivity and multiculturalism evokes nothing short of disgust. Disgust that anyone should seek to judge or interpret the acts and thoughts of previous generations according to modern-day values and standards; disgust that history should be doctored so that it does not cause ‘offence’; disgust that historical facts should be lied about, or invented, to fit fashionable opinion; disgust that mobs should be allowed to tear down statues; disgust that free speech should be silenced; and disgust that none of our political leaders dare question any of this for fear of being branded ‘a racist’.

The lies are grotesque. That slavery was an atrocity exclusively committed by whites against blacks, a sin for which whites must atone in perpetuity, when we know full well that slavery was endemic in African and Asian society (and in European society prior to the Enlightenment); that the Arab slave trade in black Africans, which so disgusted David Livingstone in its barbarity that he determined to stamp it out, was on a scale that matched the Atlantic slave trade; that the Barbary pirates were still carrying away Mediterranean villagers until well into the nineteenth-century; that there is still slavery in Africa today; and that during the Industrial Revolution, conditions for women and children working down the mines – English women and children – were so dreadful that they were known as ‘white slaves’. There are memorials to this day to the victims – as there are to the millions of victims of the Irish famine. No race or ethnicity has the exclusive concession on historic victimhood.

Then there is the lie that because some individuals and institutions grew rich on slavery, the West itself was ‘built on slavery’. Captive colonial markets and cheap goods certainly oiled international trade and speeded up economic development. Far more important was the growth of capitalism, with roots in the medieval separation of Church and State, the Protestant work ethic, the scientific Enlightenment, and the technological innovations of the Industrial Revolution.

In The Origins of English Individualism, Alan Macfarlane traces the social, cultural, and economic changes that underpinned the early growth of capitalism in England to the late medieval period – i.e. before even John Cabot had sailed to North America or Vasco de Gama to the Cape. If an invisible force field had separated Europe from the rest of the world, the likelihood is that Europe would be exactly where it is today; and sub-Saharan Africa would still be a tribal society ravaged by Arab slave traders.

Then there is the lie that our society is founded on ‘white privilege’, when we know full well that the most successful ethnic groups in Britain today are non-white, i.e. ‘BAME’; and the least successful group the white working class. Which suggests that the underlying explanatory factors have little to do with race or ethnicity, but a lot to do with culture.

Starkey’s points about the history of slavery – that until it was abolished, by us, slavery was the accepted norm, including in pre-colonial Africa – are self-evident historical truths. It is equally self-evident that in this context, his incendiary remark about ‘so many damn blacks’ surviving that slavery cannot have been genocide was intended ironically (if white privilege exists, and all blacks are victims, why should whites change anything?) and was provoked by anger at the anti-historical BLM movement.    

Of course, many blacks will be offended by Starkey’s intemperate language. But then, many whites are offended at being continually denounced as ‘racist’, at seeing everything they value in their culture and history targeted for deconstruction and destruction. Many self-respecting ‘non-whites’, especially those who are successfully integrated into our society, like the Chinese and the Sikhs (of whom Churchill spoke so highly), and who enjoy strong feelings of loyalty towards this country, will be offended at being categorised as ‘BAME’ victims – the implication being that if they do not self-identify as ‘BAME’, they are akin to collaborators. And, so, the historian David Starkey, is offended that English history and free speech, his great passions, are being destroyed in the name of anti-racism.

For many of us, David Starkey was, and remains, a national treasure precisely because, outspoken and irascible by nature, he dares to say what he thinks and does not care whom he offends. He is, or was, a gifted communicator, a public intellectual par excellence. In recent years, he has brought his deep knowledge of our constitutional history to bear on the Brexit debate. Controversial and unpredictable, Starkey was always worth listening to. And now, he too has been silenced.   

Many years ago, before he became notorious, Starkey pronounced himself broadly in favour of the diverse multicultural society. Being gay, he rather approved of a diversity of lifestyles and values, the freedom to live the life of one’s choice. Multiculturalism meant diversity. But he added that it was not all gain, that it was a lie to suggest that nothing was being lost. He had just been in Ludlow – the quintessential English town, secure in its traditions, its shared memories, its very lack of cultural diversity – and had experienced what was at stake. Well, the loss is greater than he could ever have imagined, and he is the latest sacrificial victim.

Now, we must witness the grotesque spectacle of politicians, publishers, academics, media commentators piling in to express their outrage. No doubt the bishops will follow. Will any public figure come forward to defend David Starkey? Will any fellow historian or academic risk their reputation, career, and publishing contracts, to do the honourable thing – and in so doing defend their own precious freedom?

I am reminded of Jan Masaryk’s words to Lord Halifax in 1938, when he was informed of the final details of the Munich agreement, which would dismember his country. Masaryk, then Czech ambassador in London, remarked that Halifax might be right. The sacrifice of his country might be necessary to preserve the peace of the world. But if so, ‘God help us all’.

(Image Lyndsey Dearnley)

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26 Comments on Starkey. Freedom of speech’s Kristallnacht.

  1. Glad to see that someone appreciates Starkey as a scholar. If the Universities won’t give him a platform, why can’t the Conservative party rent a hall and sell tickets? Ticket only event, personal i.d required on entry, decent security against disruption. Simples.

  2. Professor Starkey my heart beats fast for your return. I am a university student and I sit quietly in lectures and seminars and listen to the indoctrination put forward to myself and my peers. I cannot wait to buy a ticket to hear this wonderful man teaching me the history of my country.

  3. So what are we going to do – not only for that old curmudgeon Starkey but also get a campaign against the hotheads going?

  4. Poor old Starkey has already apologised. He was in an impossible situation. He said just enough to make even people on his own side uncomfortable and give the hard left its excuse. Notably, nobody has stepped forward on his behalf. Even Grimes has shuttled off into the undergrowth. But for persons in public life who chance upon these threads, here is your script: One – it should be a free country in which even blatantly mistaken or malicious remarks do NOT attract penalties, least of all from academic bodies. Two – he was clearly exasperated and there is no evidence that his remark bespeaks a systematic prejudice in any case. Three – Gopal has been defended and rewarded for bigoted remarks which DO indicated systematic hatred. A really principled and courageous figure on the right should have stepped to Starkey’s side at once. But everyone is too scared. And whilst the right skulks on the threads, bemoaning the takeover of public space but never venturing into that space, the left will go on winning. Starkey, had he made these points himself, might have been the first martyr in the good cause of defying the new totalitarians – but he was doubtless terrified. Sadly, his sackcloth will earn him no reprieve.

  5. I personally would not place Starkey in the National Treasure category. I find his over-emphasised vocal delivery and convoluted vocabulary somewhat off-putting. That being said, he was perfectly right a few years ago about White Youths swallowing the infantile Black American Rap “culture” in its entirety without any thought or reflection as to the consequences of living out such fantasies, which we are now seeing and hearing on a daily basis. He was right then and is right now. Shamefully adults now grovel to what are no more than thugs and morons, despite their claim to be poets.

    • Vocabulary cannot be convoluted. Do you mean sentences? I think Starkey always expressed himself with great clarity. Perhaps we are so used now to slogans and platitudes that allowing the thought to choose the word and the logic the sentence structure leaves us in a state of shock.

      • Tomas “The Proof-Reader” Dusek.
        You appear to have made a token effort to read what I have actually written but I wold suggest only in order to satisfy your deeply-held need to be prim and proper and bask in the warmth of the imaginary applause which would then ensue . It has not escaped my attention that you are a serial corrector of other people’s posts, has it never occurred to you that people may be aware of their own errors but that the format does not allow for revision? You make an entirely different and hypothetical point, therefore, besides admonishing myself, what is the point of asking me the question? As for your last sentence, I happen to take an interest in what David Starkey has to say and find him a little precious which is a shame really and off-putting. When making these sweeping statements it might be wise to remember you are speaking only for yourself and not to a captive audience of like-minded souls. Never mind, it is all grist to the mill.

  6. Unfortunately, we are all commenting in an ‘echo chamber’ and bringing in David Starkey – someone I admire greatly – to massage our convictions in the Salisbury Review will simply enhance the echo. It is being banished from main-steam media – as with Nigel Farage – to silence any opposing voice to the cultural Marxists that is the crime now shamelessly employed by the intolerant U.K. media commissariat to which we should address our anger but public demonstrations and confronting the police is not the conservative way of protest and so we will fade into oblivion as our ‘Conservative’ government will not carry the fight for us. Oxford University got away with refusing Margaret Thatcher an honouree doctorate and now the whole higher education establishment – awash with Chinese money – is now emboldened to ‘cancel’ anyone who doesn’t toe the party line.

  7. Articles in the Salisbury Review and on e.g. Spiked show clearly that conservative thinkers have a sound grasp of the ideology of their opponents (let’s be polite, I didn’t say ‘dammed White English middle class adolescents of all ages) and their methods of work. Can someone now explain why those who have more sympathy for Starkey are not as well organised?

    • We were given the opportunity to vote against Blairism and insufficient numbers of us turned out to stop it. Hindsight and regret never walk too far away from each other.

  8. An excellent article. I watched that interview before the cowards, the hypocrites and the professionally outraged got onto it. I knew that a Communist style show trial would soon kick in so I quickly ordered all the books by Starkey I could find. Before the snivelling collaborators and book burners took him off the shelves. I shall proudly read them all word for word, imbibe them and treasure them. I am sickened and disgusted beyond words by the way the establishment in this country has gutlessly sold out this country to the totalitarian Orcs of BLM. How they have to their undying shame aided and abetted in the systematic attempt to smear, slander and discriminate against the indigenous population, their history and culture.

  9. A wonderful response to a travesty of totalitarian intolerance accepted by spineless politicians. God help us indeed!

  10. An excellent specimen of cogent argument about a subject that, at the most fundamental level, is about ethics. I did not hear the interview in which Dr. Starkey referred to “damn blacks”; and I’m sure that, had I heard him, I should have cringed. That would have been not because of what he said, but because he was offering would-be persecutors a bait to which they could not fail to rise, and which could only ensure the success of their nefarious purposes. We live in such times.

    The greatest strength of Mr Miller’s article is that it succeeds so well in hitting its two targets, using overlapping, two-pronged arguments; and both prongs are based on evidence as hard as it is incontrovertible. It shows the current arguments about slavery to be both historically erroneous and intellectually duplicitous; and it shows the charges against Dr Starkey to be ill-founded and rooted in the accusers’ sense of self-righteousness.

    I am not at all surprised that Dr Starkey has resigned or been pushed from his university positions. All my life I worked in universities in England and Ireland; and among the most unwelcome developments (of which there were many) during those 40 years was the gradual loss of intellectual integrity, because lecturers and administrators alike (especially administrators) came to regard service to politics as a higher virtue than service to critical thought. I am more surprised that so many intelligent commentators and politicians who should know better make the fundamental mistake of taking a literalistic reading of words as an expression of “views”.

    I am going to search out David Starkey’s interview with Darren Grimes. But let me hazard a guess, even though, given the way the Salisbury Review’s comments work, I shall be unable to edit my guess if I’m wrong. David Starkey’s “damn blacks” was one of his expostulations born out of frustration — in this case frustration at the Lilliputian levels of intellect shown in public discussions of this subject. He probably just spat it out in the same way he would have spat out “the damn English” were he discussing the seventeenth century Cromwellian campaigns in that country.

    I so, so hope that some public forums will have the testicular fortitude to keep having him on as a guest, a presenter, or an antagonist in discussions. But I am not hopeful that any branch of mainstream media will. I shall so miss the delights of his documentaries (will they be banned?), his forthright expression of unpopular realities, and his knack of skewering idiots like that odiously self-righteous flea-brain, Laurie Penny. That particular skewering was not in fact Starkey’s finest hour — but it was one of the most enjoyable five minutes of internet broadcasting I have had over the last ten years or so.

  11. The liberal wealthy are using ‘race’ which they have reduced to mean nothing more than black and Muslim, to halt the (small c) conservative movements including our vote for Brexit, and the USA’s election of Donald Trump.
    It is of note that folk from ‘minorities’ that the globalists liberals feel should align with their cause, but don’t, are particularly disliked.
    Thus David Starkey for being an intelligent, educated homosexual is a particular target, as is Priti Patel disliked for being Indian, Hindu and Conservative, and Lawrence Fox for being a well brought up actor who refuses to give in.
    Of courses Hindus, much like the Jewish are rather resistant to the liberal left, and we Christian Britons should treasure them for that.
    If one realigns the country as follows, white (small c) conservative, Christian, Hindu, Sikh, Jewish, and Ghurkha on the pro-British side, and wealthy liberal globalist, disgruntled black and Islamist on the other. This battle is in reality not about ‘race’ but about culture and the future of our Kingdom, and indeed ‘The West’ itself.

  12. What Starkey said in that interview was obviously a statement of exasperation at having to labour on such a point, and only a disingenuous person could possibly see it as racist.

    Starkey is famous for his forthrightness and bluntness, but also that every time he talks interestingly on a subject he makes you look at it in a different way and forces you to ask questions about your previously conceived ideas.

    This is the kind of public intellectual we need more of, on both sides, so ideas can be discussed clearly and openly.

    But let’s be honest…the mob has been out for him for a long time, and were just waiting for their moment to pounce.

    Let’s also not forget that in the same interview he was rather scathing (and with good reason in my view) about his alma mater Cambridge and its takeover by woke academics and useless subjects – thereby giving his enemies there the perfect reason to get rid of him and virtue signal in the process. Their empty blatherings about free speech are merely hot air, as a few days previously they had promoted that professor who said quite clearly that “white lives don’t matter”. Defense for her, damnation for Starkey.

    If anyone needed a clearer statement about the sad rotten state of Western university and intellectual life, then they won’t find a better one than that.

    The saddest part of it all is the number of people who are willing to come out and condemn Prof Starkey in order to save their own skin (including the interviewer himself). I understand that many have livelihoods and careers that they are unwilling to sacrifice, but surely silence would even be better than parroting the slogans of the mob – they will eventually come for you because they hate you… you can’t appease them.

    We are now at a stage where it is genuinely dangerous to be a conservative with conservative opinions.

      • Courage. They will be replaced by establishment toadies – yes-men and women who will produce exactly what they’re told to. The world will be a happier place and Big Brother will watch over us all.

    • We mustn’t forget that the petty princlings who run Cambridge University have got form: they provided a home for Communist traitors and for Daniel Cohn-Bendit. No wonder they’ve chucked Starkey out.

      • Cambridge University? Well on its way to becoming a fenland educational maoist Disneyworld. The parades where a few statues will be ritually demolished and humiliated will be a compulsory feature of the syllabus.

  13. The interviewer Grimes has much to answer for in all this, note that he has now heavily and crudely edited the video in question this depriving any audience of the context.

  14. It was a silly thing to say, produced no doubt out of exasperation with the malice, ignorance and stupidity of those bending the knee to BLM. He should have pulled it back, but we’re all wise after the event.

    The main point of this article still holds, that the benign treatment of the two ‘academics’, the ‘white lives don’t matter’ babe and the ‘got to smile at the PM’s going into hospital’ self-confessed lawyer contrasts with what has happened to Starkey.

    UK/USA are the least racist countries in the whole wide world. If black lives matter, let’s recolonise Africa and Asia. They never had it so good as when our ancestors ruled them.

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