David Starkey n.
1. A figure of hate for all serious historians who makes the profession seem populated by pompous, border-line-racist, white, upper-class fools.
2. A role model for all historians who would love to make as much money as him with as little academic work as possible.
Interestingly, Starkey’s comments on Newsnight were perhaps in the purest sense academic. This is exactly the sort of polemic statement one could throw at a bunch of students and watch them pick it apart (or even agree with it); but it would only work because:
- They would have read or been aware of the context of Enoch Powell’s Rivers of Blood speech
- They would have read or been aware of literature on poverty, sociology, race, colonialism, consumerism, and the history of those subjects
So: if you come across Starkey while flicking through the channels, remember two things. One: he definitely is not representative of the profession. And two: assume he’s just trying to start an argument. The ensuing fist fight will at least make you question the bigotry with which you have been presented.