By Chris Morrison
7th July 2020
There has been week-long outrage over the sacking by Cambridge University of Priyamvada Gopal, an academic who says she resists urges to “kneecap white men every day” and notes “White Lives Don’t Matter”. Meanwhile the distinguished historian Dr David Starkey used the word “damn” and was promptly elevated to a professorship at Cambridge University.
Almost correct – just swap the sacking and promotion outcomes.
They have been coming for David Starkey for a long time and the liberal mob finally got their man. During the course of an hour-long internet podcast, Dr Starkey noted with ironic exasperation, as if explaining to a two-year old, that slavery was not genocide and suggested that the proof was the number of “damn blacks” around. Crass, yes, insensitive, certainly, the argument could have been put better, most definitely, but racist? Not according to previous definitions of the word that refer to a belief in the superiority of a particular race. But it certainly fell foul of more recent political interpretations that fashion a stick out of any disobliging word about a racial group – “whites” excluded, needless to say.
Dr Starkey was always going to fall. He is a brilliant, provocative academic and history communicator. The subject comes alive in his books and broadcasts. He is able to turn an argument on a sixpence to lead it to an unexpected place and he has a first class mind that takes few intellectual prisoners. Woe betide any undergraduate, politician or journalist who takes him on when they are under-prepared, illogical and emotional. He is an academic of the old school, delighting those students eager to learn and expand their inquiring minds.
But such people are no longer required in common or green rooms as the elites tear up the history books and fashion a new set cultural narrative. Within days Starkey had lost everything including a Cambridge fellowship and his book publishing deals.
He is just the latest in a long line of “right wing” commentators to have been erased from mainstream discourse. Nigel Farage was booted out of advertising-funded LBC when he compared the Black Lives Matter movement to the Taliban – a sentiment that no doubt irritated Taliban listeners by linking them to a movement that seeks to destroy the traditional nuclear family. Resident fount of all wisdom James O’Brien celebrated the sacking of Farage by stating that ‘we have got our radio station back’
What is sad about the Starkey affair is that almost nobody has come to his defence. The blogs from Conservative Woman to Spiked Online have been silent. The so-called conservative newspapers barely covered the matter and mostly in a neutral fashion. A cynic might note that it is tough making a living out of journalism these days. Jobs, lecturing bunce, invites onto the glittering boards of think tanks, why even a spot on the hated Question Time? Is Starkey worth it?
Of course he isn’t. He’s getting on a bit and has upset too many people. And of course, finance comes into it. If we have to fight in this particular trench, that coffee chain that supports sex changes for children and that company that makes gut-busting, sugary iced industrial slurry wouldn’t advertise with us.
Meanwhile the young, somewhat naive, podcast interviewer Darren Grimes back-peddled as soon as the going got rough by suggesting that he should have “robustly questioned” Dr Starkey about his views. He will learn – the mob, led by the BBC, still tore him to pieces.
Take a tip from Tucker Carlson, the top rated prime-time anchor on Fox in the US. He was caught out with some disobliging comments from years back but declined to grovel and told the slavering liberal mob that he was on television every night and they could debate him any time they wished. Publish and be damned, he might have added.
But Dr Starkey was worth a fight. His comment that there would not be so many damn blacks around if slavery was genocide was ill considered but factually correct. It doesn’t suggest that black people are racially inferior. If we are tightening up our definition of racism, how does former head of the BBC Greg Dyke, who described the corporation a few years ago as “hideously white”, fare? How does Jane Garvey of Women’s Hour get away with describing a “predominately white” London theatrical audience as a “problem”?
And the charge sheets lengthen wherever you look. Newly ennobled Cambridge Professor Gopal claims “White Lives Don’t Matter” and is still in her job. Obligingly her university rushes out a pompous tweet stating it defends the right of its academics to express their own lawful opinions which others might find controversial “and deplores in the strongest terms abuse and personal attacks”.
Unless you have a white skin and your name is David Starkey, it inexplicably failed to note.
Meanwhile the white northern working class lad who flew a “White Lives Matter” slogan over a football ground was immediately fired from his gas welding apprenticeship as was his girlfriend who worked in a beauty salon. The lad, drink taken, who had a jimmy by the side of a London monument and gave himself up to the police is thrown in jail for seven days while the BLM lout who destroyed a Bristol statue is let off with a caution.
Meanwhile the tv studios are graced with any number of extraordinary people with truly extraordinary views. Afua Hirsch’s take on British history is keenly sought despite her view that necklace-prescribing Winnie Mandela would be considered a hero if she was “white”. Yasmin Alibhai Brown, still happily with us despite numerous threats to leave, has got form as long as your arm when it comes to sneering at the British white working class. – “they are noble”, she wrote in the Independent in 2009 – “what they believe – however stupid or vicious – must be awesome”.
And let’s not ignore a new lady on the broadcasting block Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu who recently told us during the BLM riots that the UK is “institutionally racist and violent thuggery of the far right is constantly weaponised to silence us”. No doubt a great career in the BBC awaits. She can, for instance, join forces with presenter Clive Myrie who described the recent American BLM riots causing 10 deaths and billions of dollars of property damage as “mere skirmishes”.
Friends of David Starkey say he hasn’t a racist bone in his body. But the elites have a reply to this phrase that most “white” people in the UK feels applies to them. According to Tom Sutcliffe on Radio 4’s Start the Week it is now “that notorious phrase”.
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