Tuesday, 15 November 2011
Dr Starkey was accused after a conference in London of needlessly politicising a debate on history teaching in schools, the Times reported.

He has previously come under fire for blaming the summer riots in English cities on the import of a "violent, destructive, nihilistic" black "gangsta" culture.

The TV historian's latest comments came in the context of Education Secretary Michael Gove's announcement that he wanted to put "our island story" at the heart of Britain's national curriculum.

Dr Starkey told the conference that the national curriculum should involve "a serious focus on your own culture".

Richard Evans, Regius Professor of Modern History at Cambridge, criticised Mr Gove and Dr Starkey for advocating "myth and memory rote learning" to feed children "self-congratulatory narrow myths of history", the Times reported.

Joya Chatterji, of Trinity College Cambridge, questioned what Dr Starkey meant by Britain's "own culture", saying contemporary Britain was "rather diverse".

But he interrupted her, saying: "No it's not. Most of Britain is a mono-culture. You think London is Britain. It isn't.

"Where I've come from in Yorkshire, where I've come from in Westmorland, where I largely live in Kent, where I holiday much in the south west, it is absolutely and unmitigatingly white.

"You have such a series of assumptions. It is a kind of Ken Livingstone-esque view of rainbow Britain.

"Bits of Britain are rainbow and jolly interesting but to read out from those to everything else is profoundly misleading."

Afterwards one of the organisers of the conference, Alex Lee of Warwick University, said Dr Starkey "was seen as unnecessarily politicising an abstract issue, an easy danger to fall into".
Source: Daily Telegraph

Dr Chatterji said it was Dr Starkey who was being misleading, and again found herself under attack as he called it “infinite cultural arrogance” to see history as an explanation of contemporary culture.

Afterwards one of the organisers of the conference at the Society of Antiquaries, Alex Lee, an associate fellow at Warwick and a research fellow at the University of Luxembourg, said: “He [Starkey] tried to argue against the idea that it was valuable for British students to study the history of different cultures by eliding that with a debate about multiculturalism.

“That was seen as unnecessarily politicising an abstract issue, an easy danger to fall into.”
Source: The Times (£)


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