David Starkey: Gunpowder Plot was England's 9/11

Roundup: Historians' Take

Nick Britten, in the London Daily Telegraph (4-22-05):

FOUR hundred years after the Gunpowder Plot, the broadcaster David Starkey warned yesterday that the lessons of terrorism had not been learnt and history was repeating itself.

Dr Starkey said Islamic fundamentalists had the same incentive and were acting in "precisely the same way" as those behind the conspiracy to blow up James I and spark a Catholic uprising.

The historian and constitutional expert said: "The parallels between the actions of the plotters and modern-day terrorists are terrifying and the motivation is the same -- that religion is the only important thing and that if the Government does not subscribe to the idea that your religion is absolute it must be removed. "Islamic terrorism has brought home the significance of the Gunpowder Plot: same ideals, same method of trying to make your point. "Look at what the plotters did. They put one ton of gunpowder in a room underneath the Houses of Parliament. Had it gone off, it would have killed the king, the chancellor, all the important bishops and judges. It was their Twin Towers and the effect would have been immense."

Dr Starkey, a Bye Fellow at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, who presented the acclaimed television documentaries on Elizabeth I and Henry VIII, yesterday opened an exhibition at Coughton Court, near Alcester, Warwicks, to mark the Gunpowder Plot's 400th anniversary. "There was a great wave of anti-Catholicism after the plot was foiled but the only way I can see to rid ourselves of terrorism these days is to make every country as rich as Britain," he said. "There is nothing like economic prosperity to erode religious conviction. Just look at what's happened in Ireland, where religious fundamentalism has waned as the country has become richer." ...

comments powered by Disqus