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David Starkey And The Dark Side Of English Nationalism

Well, we’ve seen the SNP leader and Scotland’s First Minster, Alex Salmond, compared to the dictator Robert Mugabe by the “respected” BBC journalist Jeremy Paxman (recent convert to the cause of the Apologia Pax Britannica), so should it come as any surprise that he is now being compared to the dictator “Adolf Hilter”? This latest jibe comes from the right-wing British TV historian and English nationalist David Starkey. An unapologetic defender of Greater England, the controversy-seeking academic made his claim at a conservative think-tank meeting in Britain (quelle surprise!).

The Huffington Post carries the details:

“Historian Dr David Starkey has compared Scottish first minister Alex Salmond to Nazi German leader Adolf Hitler.

“If you think about it, Alex Salmond is a democratic Caledonian Hitler, although some would say Hitler was more democratically elected,” he said.

“[For him] the English, like the Jews, are everywhere” he added to gasps from the audience.

Starkey was speaking at a debate, hosted by the Bow Group think tank, on the teaching of British history in UK schools.

“England has shaped the world and now the world has shaped England” he said, “every other country focuses on its own history and it’s absurd that we don’t.”

Teaching should, he said, “unashamedly focus on political history. Social history is… mere sentiment”.

The British needed positive teaching of their history, Starkey argued, to preserve national identity.

Starkey lamented that in the wake of Enoch Powell’s controversial Rivers of Blood speech, it was “no longer” possible to speak about nationalism.“

Starkey, of course, rose to particular infamy last year with his “…the whites are becoming blacks” declaration on British television following several days of rioting in a number of English cities. However he has repeatedly expressed his distaste for all things “Celtic”, dismissing Scotland, Wales and Ireland in a previous TV performance as “feeble little countries”, to the delight of the extreme right in Britain. In his warped worldview the natural supremacy of the English race and its dominance over its neighbours is the only matter of worth in the history of the island of Britain and nearby nations – including Ireland.

Will this latest outburst finally put paid to his inglorious career? Probably not. The more likely scenario is yet more academic respectability-by-association for the extreme right of English nationalism as it slowly creeps towards the centre-place of British politics and the media.

Incidentally David Starkey is a patron of NOGOE (No to Greenwich Olympic Equestrian Events) a local pressure group in Britain opposed to aspects of the London Olympic Games. Amongst its more recent pronouncements have been these particular gems, along the lines of: No Olympics Here, And No Irish Too!

6 comments on “David Starkey And The Dark Side Of English Nationalism

  1. comparethemuckrakers

    “If you think about it, Alex Salmond is a democratic Caledonian Hitler, although some would say Hitler was more democratically elected,” [David Starkey] said.

    I’ve thought about it and the £6billion allocated to roads in the Infrastructure plan is just like the autobahnen programme and the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow will be just like the 1936 Berlin Olympics. I reckon Berwick-on-Tweed will be annexed soon. Time to stock up on dried egg and condensed milk. 🙂

  2. I think you yourself are a bit confused as to the distinction and overlap between ‘English’ and ‘British’ – unless the confusion is all Starkey’s. If Starkey is an advocate of Britain-as-Greater-England, then he’s no English nationalist: he’s an English British nationalist – altogether a different animal.

    • Fair point, David. I have several friends who would identify themselves in broad terms as English Nationalists, and they are intensely proud of a form of English nationalism and identity that they believe has been wrongfully abandoned over the last forty years (Anglo-Saxon culture and identity, the tradition of a “commons”, Edric the Wild, Hereward the Wake, Robin Hood, the Levellers, the Roundheads – sort of – centre-left radicalism, the Fabians, etc.).

      • U know the roundheads are the armies of the genocidal maniac ‘Cromwell’ and the levellers his political henchmen so i’d do some research before you lump everything as English and proud

        • The general view of the Leveller movement and its more progressive leaders is somewhat favourable and though they had their problems I would tend to agree with those who see them as being in the tradition of the English Left – albeit of their time. I did qualify the inclusion of the Roundheads with a “sort of”. Again many would tease out the Dissenter adherence to parliamentary values and opposition to kingship as part of an embryonic English democratic tradition. One must judge people by the values of the age they lived in and how some at least were more advanced in thought and practice than the times into which they were born.

          One could easily decry the position of Classical Athens as one of the birthplaces of modern European democracy yet there is no denying it played a role – however distant and limited.

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