David Starkey Under Fire (Two Stories)

Historians in the News

Hamish Macdonnell, The Scotsman, 20 Oct. 2004

A motion condemning the controversial historian David Starkey for his"ludicrous and misjudged" comments about Scotland has been tabled in the Scottish Parliament.

Richard Lochhead, an SNP MSP, tabled the motion after learning that Dr Starkey had dismissed Scotland as unimportant historically.

The well-known television historian had said:"Scotland matters for a single reason, which is its involvement with England from the 17th century onwards. Then it becomes important."

Mr Lochhead said:"The comments made by Dr David Starkey are typical of the anglocentric view held by English historians. To seek to undermine the enormous contributions made by many Scots to history by claiming that Scotland was unimportant historically is grossly inaccurate.

"These comments simply prove that we need a much greater emphasis on Scottish history in our schools."

He added:"I hope that Dr Starkey and his ilk will re-evaluate their prejudiced opinions on the historical importance of Scotland." ---------------------------------------

Gilliam Harris, The Times (London), 20 Oct. 2004

David Starkey, the historian and broadcaster who last weekend denounced Scotland as a tiny, unimportant country, came under attack from radio listeners north of the Border yesterday when he defended his comments.

Dr Starkey, whose television series on the history of the English monarchy is currently being broadcast on Channel 4, was taking part in a discussion programme on BBC Radio Scotland which was dominated by angry callers.

He was accused of"stupid English prejudice" after citing various Scottish failures including the disastrous attempt to create a Scottish colony in Darien, central America, in the 17th century.

After hearing Dr Starkey's view on Scotland's place in history one irate caller told him"to go and boil his heid".

When Lesley Riddoch, the programme presenter, asked Dr Starkey if his television series called Monarchy should be renamed English Monarchy, he replied:"This is pointless. You can sue me under the trades description act."

Later when a caller claimed that the late Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, was born at Glamis Castle in Scotland, Dr Starkey said:"She was born in England, you silly man."

Dr Starkey concluded:"England was a great European power. Scotland wasn't. I do not see what good will come of participating in this debate. The best thing you could do is write to Channel 4 or Scottish Television and ask them to produce a series on the Scottish monarchy. I am sure I would enjoy watching it."

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