DAVID STARKEY: Trying to be honest in a rigid culture of unjustified certainty

Historian David Starkey

If you’re into Twitter, you’ll have noticed that it’s alive with vilification of the historian David Starkey this morning. Starkey was on Newsnight last night, talking about the effect of black street culture on poor white kids. If you search Twitter for comments on this, you’ll find not one talks about culture: about 95% of them call him a racist.

There are a number of vital observations to make about this event – and in my view, it is an important event.

First off, it isn’t covered in any of the early online editions of the quality papers this morning. Maybe it’s that they’re so struck dumb by Starkey’s comments, they just don’t know what to do with it as a story. And maybe, it’s that – because of various opposing agendas – they’re scared to talk about it. Either way, for such a contentious outburst, I find it odd bordering on creepy that not a single mainstream medium covered it…except the Beeb. As always, Auntie was neutral about the incident.

Second, what we see yet again here is a contrarian, anti-Establishment viewpoint being treated with shocked disgust, and every expected luvvie piling into the social media to condemn Mr Starkey. Nobody has addressed one of his central points: that Underclass white kids are affecting both the speech patterns and mores of the lowest common denominator of Afr-Caribbean culture, and they (a) haven’t exactly chosen the best role-model they could and (b) this habit of saying “speck” and “innit” all the time is an entirely false fad. An identification, in fact, with one of the more despairing and nihilist thought tendencies in our society.

If that’s racism, then I’m a pink banana.

Third, this is another classic example of a subject about which I’ve blogged endlessly over the last few months: the denialist rejection of empirical observation in favour of a belief system that has been, frankly, completely overwhelmed by the events of the last week. Now I’m perfectly well aware that, my having said this, a range of Numpties will fill the comment threads with ideas about everything from repatriation and euthanasia to mass murder and civil war. But as Starkey devastatingly pointed out last night, the whole point about these riots is that they are almost completely superficial: they are an excuse to steal, as part of a brainless materialism in the Underclass that resents anyone having something they don’t….and insists on the right to get such things by force.

David Starkey did himself no favours: saying “white kids turning black” and “on the radio, David Lammy sounds white” was always going to require smelling salts for the pc fluffies. But here too, my view has been very simple for three decades: it’s one thing to retain a certain syntax or lilt to one’s learned speech patterns – all of us do that. However, it’s another to use your speech and appearance to declare an intense, arrogant and violent dislike of the society which (in almost every case among that class) provides the welfare without which you would starve. If you want to get right up the indigenous population’s nose, then that’s how to do it.

Starkey’s view, while badly expressed, reminds me in many ways of Vince Cable last December: he called it right on Murdoch and the bankers – but also reflected what reasonable people were thinking. For this, he was vilified. It’ll be interesting to see what happens to Starkey, once the Progressives have climbed up onto the full height of their tall horses. The usual inability to speak at a University without students yelling at him is pretty much a certainty. So too is the very high likelihood that he’ll never be asked onto the BBC again.

But ultimately, we still face the same problem in the UK – and the week’s events haven’t changed it at all. This is the existence of a media/legislator/teacher/social worker/trade union bubble so hermetically sealed, it cannot hear anything going on in the real world. Multiculturalists (like Starkey’s fellow commenters last night) will continue to promote a concept of society that can only end in disaster. Sociologists will carry on inventing excuses – thus allowing perpetrators to evade responsibility for their actions. And real people of all classes will feel increasingly alienated, disenfanchised and angry that there is no democratic outlet for their concerns.

Related: Gove lays into Harman

92 thoughts on “DAVID STARKEY: Trying to be honest in a rigid culture of unjustified certainty

  1. It’s a shame that some people are trying to blame something they don’t like for the riots, in order to reinforce their personal preference. it does a disservice to our country, this issue and the victims. i wouldn’t call it racism. just bullshit.

  2. “Underclass white kids are affecting both the speech patterns and mores of the lowest common denominator of Afr-Caribbean culture, and they (a) haven’t exactly chosen the best role-model they could and (b) this habit of saying “speck” and “innit” all the time is an entirely false fad. ”

    Having listened to the interview, wasn’t Starkey’s arguement the other way round?

    I’m agog to see how this is handled. Does free speech pull through or does he become an unperson?

  3. But just as afro carribean lingo is not particularly ‘English’ neither is COCKNEY then. If a certain mixed sub culture wants to emerge then it is part of a mixed chav/white/working class/black/pak/teenage etc trend that, even if not particularly desirable, is valid nonetheless. Starkey is not being vilified for some of his correct references to materialism and gang culture, but it is his crude and offensive association of it with ‘blacks’. He can’t seem to make or articulate the definitive distinction between nuances in what is culture, trend, race, colour, attitude, language. For a historian and someone who should be a wise elder of this country this is particularly worrying. The Stark Starkey reality is that he is a quiet racist without (and at the least) knowing it, and this is far from political correctness, this is what it is…….

  4. Cockney is completely English in CULTURE.
    This is a complex issue as a whole, but you’re specific one is straightforward: you think multiculturalism is a good idea, and I don’t.
    I don’t care about the ‘validity’ of braindead Chav materialism and envy: I just don’t want it in Britain. This is racism?

  5. The problem I think as always JW is that the term Racism has become such a catch all and effective weapon in the wrong hands, that it now means something quite distinct from the dictionary definition.

    I came across the following quote on another forum:

    “The definition of racism cannot be confined to a dictionary, it is altered by culture and politics.”

    In other words it now means whatever the person using the term wants it to mean. Generally interpreted as ‘how dare you disagree with me’.

  6. The English who are old enough to remember England pre 1985 must be very very saddened.
    A great deal has changed over just 25 years, brought upon us purely and simply by our own government mostly in the name of economic growth, added to which, European diktat and human rights have made matters much worse too.
    Then recently we heard that multiculturism didn’t work, but there is no way back, and future generations of English folk will face grave problems.
    David Starkey is a hero, but he was always going to lose in that company. We witnessed an important and historical suicide.

  7. The remarks made by David Starkey, must be read in conjunction with the dreadful events over the last few days. It is an undeniable fact that the majority of looters/vagebonds were black and there is no justification not say so. Many youngsters who are white feel that it is necessary to imitate the black culture in order to be accepted by all but mainly the black community. Multiculturalism is a blight which pushed by those whites living in confortable surroundings never touched by the culture prevailing in say Tottenham. Confront them with the results like what we have seen over the last few days and they run a mile. To refer to Aaron’s comment I disagree with him, Starkey was villified simnply because he said it in his usual very straight talking manner.

  8. All living languages, without exception, change all the time, and the changes are likely to go ahead whether we like it or not. Those who rail about adverse changes in the language usually cite the alleged Americanisation of English as an example, but if you examine the evidence carefully, “English English”, while it has taken on board many words and expressions from “American English”, has proved to be surprisingly resilient – the great majority of us in Britain continue to use English English in writing and in speech. My guess, for what it’s worth, is that much the same will turn out to be true of borrowing from Caribbean English – the fad will come and go, as fads nearly always do.

    Cultural borrowing is another matter, but for the last fifty last years or so, young people in Britain, and elsewhere in Europe to varying degrees, have tried hard to borrow from American culture (or from what they perceive to be American culture). Some youngsters, and by no means all, are now trying to borrow from what they perceive to be Caribbean culture. As with linguistic borrowing, I don’t think we should get our knickers in a twist over this. Cultural borrowing is not necessarily a form of pollution, and it seems odd to make such a fuss about it when our existing culture is such a complicated mish-mash of various influences and when, like language, it changes all the time. Perhaps it’s the thought of borrowing from blacks that’s deeply repugnant, but if that’s the case, then it is indeed racism that’s the issue, not cultural absorption, and it would be healthier and more honest to say so.

  9. I’d like someone to tell me what’s positive about this black ‘gangsta’ culture. As far as I can work out it’s racist, sexist, homophobic, nihilistic and glamorises violence.

    And, of course there’s also the negative effect on the language of the people who subscribe to this culture; they’re unable to pronounce the letter ‘t’, always replacing it with a glottal stop…and they have difficulty with the ‘th’ phoneme too; usually pronouncing it as a ‘d’. In effect, this makes them unemployable.

  10. As you say JW, Starkey ‘expressed his views badly’ so why does the BBC need to air them?

    Culture is a moving feast as you well know.

    So what was the non-racist view Starkey trying to articulate?

    Could it be that only ‘95% of twitters’ be right in their interpretation of Starkey’s remarks?

  11. The Scots tend to speak a characteristic (not negative) form of English, which contains some of the phonetic features that Lee lists. So far as I can see, this has not made them unemployable.

  12. “As far as I can work out it’s racist, sexist, homophobic, nihilistic and glamorises violence. ” Just like Rab C. Nesbitt, perhaps?

  13. I think you are wrong about Starky being back on the BBC ! He is now one of those who can be slotted into the ‘correct’ question time audience with the baying audience on order to reinforce how wrong the ‘collective’ believes him to be. That the audience will almost as one – heckle everything he says in order to send forth the (right on) message that the rest of the world (except of course for the far right extremists) has got his measure and he is wrong, wrong, wrong !

    Meanwhile, back in the real world, the pub discussions last night had a strange atmosphere – where the ‘luvvie’ types were taking a back step in embarrassment for their views, looking horrified that people at last had the confidence to discuss the detruction of the English culture in public (and their usually very opinionated selves falling into quiet contemplation as to what has suddenly happened here). I think if nothing else, out in the real world the word racist has – thanks to the riots – lost its cutting edge ! (It will remain a while in the luvvie bubble). The darker culture has just lost its biggest advantage – the poor, oppressed, downtrodden victim status that their skin colour gave them in society, as an excuse for everything.

  14. What has been far too apparent in recent years is how it is cool to be ‘hard’ or should I say ‘ard’. Kids (usually with the token Staffy) with attitude hanging round street corners and local shops have been with us for many years. Everyone must have experienced the ‘ard’ youth just walking straight into you as you walk down the road. You do the correct thing and make your attempt to avoid him expecting him to do the same. He doesn’t though and the result is an arm to arm contact which is exactly what he wants, contact, and in a way, very low level contact which could quite easily escalate into something more.
    It is always so noticeable when I’m in Europe how different the kids are out there. This ‘ardness’ just doesn’t seem to be there and the places I visit are much better for it.
    Where does this ‘ardness’ come from? It hardly helps having role models like footballers who behave in the same manner. Neither does having a virtual life behind a Playstation where gratuitous violence is the norm and stealing cars, attacking people and looting rewards you with higher scores.
    Every so often a sickening event surrounding a youth or youths hits the news. It’s been going on for years. The only difference this time a lot of these youths have now united together and together act as a much larger group.
    The country is stuffed, both culturally and economically. Any underclass is certainly not going to go away and if anything it will just get larger. I suspect what we have just witnessed is a sign of things to come and it really is time to remove the ‘Great’ from our country’s name.

  15. Dear old Enoch … many people can correctly quote the bit about the Roman, but does anyone remember what he said just before that famous line?

    ‘For these dangerous and divisive elements the legislation proposed in the Race Relations Bill is the very pabulum they need to flourish. Here is the means of showing that the immigrant communities can organise to consolidate their members, to agitate and campaign against their fellow citizens, and to overawe and dominate the rest with the legal weapons which the ignorant and the ill-informed have provided. As I look ahead, I am filled with foreboding; like the Roman, I seem to see “the River Tiber foaming with much blood.”‘

    I, for one, still miss that diamond-hard intellect and ruthlessly analytical mind. The political pygmies who infest the Palace of Westminster today would not be fit to polish his boots.

  16. I don’t see anything wrong with what Starkey said. I don’t have a problem with how black youngsters express themselves, or anyone else for that matter. Who is to say what is right or wrong. Swearing is a public order offence but I have yet to find anyone who never has sworn. I believe in free speech no matter how unpalatable it may be to some people.

  17. ‘ And real people of all classes will feel increasingly alienated, disenfanchised and angry that there is no democratic outlet for their concerns.’
    John asked for brainstorming via replies to his blog a day or so ago.
    Come on, lets get active!

  18. We have entered into an era of sound-bites. One of my favourite books is “Great speeches of the 20th Century”. An editor would be hard pressed to write a book for the 21st Century so far. On Spotify you can also here the actual speeches as they were delivered. Compare and contrast with what we hear in parliament now. .

  19. I think you’ll find that Europe has footballers for role models too, and many Playstations, but they get by, probably because it has little to do with either of those things. It’s a combination of bad parenting (no one is ever taught how to be a good parent and there are no obstacles to becoming one), over population, a poor economy that has reduced opportunities, a culture more used to being given things than working for them, and a failing education system. All of these things can be tackled, but not by you apparently, who would prefer to label it all under ‘ardness’ and ‘underclass’ and turn your back on the country you are a part of. If you don’t think it’s ‘Great’ anymore, perhaps you should just leave and take your cynicism with you.

  20. Hi john,
    By having an opinion of not agreeing with multiculturalism, you are branded in PC terms as a racist, indeed to have strong opinions at all in these times you are seen in PC terms as a fascist.
    These cultural changes have been brought in without proper debate and consultation with the countries people.
    We have been pre-empted and brandished as such.

  21. no kergoffLouis Sallons, David Starkey was simply expressing racist views like yourself and then attempted to legitimise them. He made a complete fool of himself (expert on rap music?). There is nothing ‘Black’ about committing crimes such as looting or destroying properties. ‘It is an undeniable fact that the majority of looters/vagebonds were black’. You obviously work for YouGov. If the majority were black, so what? What has colour got to do with this? So the white, asian, mixed race and other non-black people (adults & kids) were trying to imitate ‘black’ culture in order to be accepted by the ‘black community’? This kind of argument is straight from the PR section of BNP. Do you seriously believe that? Please tell us what culture is prevailing in Tottenham?

  22. You’re right. Good parenting.
    So you deem it to be good parenting that allows children to play violent video games that anaesthetises any morals those kids have regarding right and wrong? Strange how my parents and all my friends parents didn’t need ‘training’ to bring me up and turn me into a good law abiding citizen of the country of which I used to be and still in the whole am proud.
    I don’t know where or in what sort of neighbourhood you live but you don’t seem to be very aware of this ‘ardness’ and the deep concern and worry it causes many people of all ages but particularly the old.
    If you still think Britain is ‘Great’ then you are deluded and out of touch with reality, just as it seems are our elected leaders. The very real danger is that sooner or later a political vacuum will appear and as history then shows it allows the lunatics to well and truly take over the asylum.
    Thanks for the suggestion to leave the country. If I was to follow it you may like to know that as someone who actually creates real wealth for the country by designing and creating new consumer products that you would be contributing further to lack of tax receipts and therefore even greater debt to our collective balance sheet.
    Therefore if you don’t mind I’ll quite happily stay in my own country and keep criticising when I feel the need.

  23. Some of the Greek islands – I’m thinking in particular of Zakinthos, but there are certainly others – are seriously plagued during the summer months by hordes of drunken and violent British youths, about 90 percent of them white. They drink themselves insensate, fornicate publicly in the streets, fight each other and sometimes assault passers-by, scream foul language at everyone in sight, and vomit and defecate everywhere. This type of behaviour doesn’t seem to have been copied from black culture – not so far as one can see, anyway – and it’s not an expression of poverty, judging by the number of vodka bottles that are downed every night.

    Like it or loathe it (and I personally loathe it), and admit it or not, what I’m referring to is part and parcel of contemporary British culture – in fact in some parts of the continent, this is what Britain is best known for these days. It’s a part of British culture that in my opinion owes nothing to the blacks, and its existence seems to me to suggest something much deeper than the allegedly sinister effects of “multiculturism”. Perhaps it would be better to do something about it, before the blacks start learning from the young white English visitors who every summer are doing their best to make life hell for everyone in the more popular of the holiday resorts of the Mediterranean.

  24. I don’t think it is true that the majority of the looters were black.They started the riots in Tottenham and then elsewhere in London but the later looting in the provinces was overwhelmingly the white underclass, at least according to Skynews.

    Is it really true the whites are aping the Afro Carribbeans? Are they not all really aping the black American gangster underclass with its idolitry of guns, goons and gold? Another truly evil, corrosive and undesirable import. But Starkey probably didn’t want to raise that issue since it might affect his TV sales over there. He is constitutionally incapable of criticising the US>

  25. A lot of the white boys that I dealt with in Lambeth adopt the West Indian culture to ‘fit in’ and because they consider it ‘cool’. Some even do so otherwise they’ll get beaten-up at school!

    Their own disadvantaged underclass lacks this readily identifiable cultural tag. After the culture comes the attitude, particularly in young, immature and undeveloped minds. This then is the crux of the problem, it’s not the culture per se that is the problem, it’s the attitude infected by the gang mentality that infects the culture.

  26. Poor Prof. Starkey. He compounds his error of going against the prevailing fluffy orthodoxy by being (unpardonably!) nuanced and correct in what he says. How very dare an eminent historian ask that these people question their own unexamined biases!

    Was it Thomas More who asked something along the lines “I pray the king ask himself, could he be in error” when found in opposition to the prevailing orthodoxy of his era? Famously, it didn’t avail him anything either.

  27. Why would we ‘discuss’ ? The subject matter is at the top of the page. If you want your own blog – try working on it !

  28. Spot on John. Since Old/New Labour came into power in 1997, there are unofficial rules among politicians, members of the Establishment and nowadays throughout society that the prickly truth must never be spoken. Witness the new laws they passed to shut us up.
    Starkey made the mistake of doing it…so he’ll be villified by the PC crowd and spineless political cowards who have access to MSM, every one of whom will spew out endless excuses for the riots but never the truth.
    Yet when you look at the video footage, it was overwhelmingly young blacks and feral white kids causing the trouble (the self-inflicted underclass) and wasn’t about politics or spending cuts directly – just an excuse to loot and create damage for personal pleasure and gain:
    “To steal things that they don’t earn the money to buy”.

  29. I’ve also seen footage of exactly the same problems by young white Brits in several of the Spanish Islands resorts.

  30. I was trying to make the point that multiculturalism is lauded and encouraged whilst apartheid was condemned and deplored; said ‘philosophies’ reflecting both sides of the same coin.

  31. Couldn’t agree more – and if that makes me a racist – or any other kind of “-ist”, then so be it.

  32. “Cultural borrowing is not necessarily a form of pollution…”

    No not always – but in some cases it definitely is.

  33. New York had a similar problem in 1980 to 1988 with crime and teenagers getting out of hand. It was Rudy Giuliani working with the Commissioner of the NYPD, working on research called The Broken Windows by James Q Wilson which said you start at the bottom I.E graffiti pickpockets etc. hit them hard with aggressive policing,and aggressive judiciary,and let all of the young criminals know,you break the law,you will go down. The message got across and crime came down rapidly across the board. This is what London,Birmingham,and other crime scenes need.Notice I said judiciary,they are key. Arrest them, give them 21 days, and they will laugh their cotton socks off, and do it again and again.The Met. are already complaining about the soft sentences. Lets back them up fight for tougher sentences and give them what they deserve. Hell.

  34. Seems you didn’t actually read what I wrote. My point is exactly that there isn’t a lot of good parenting out there, hence why children are allowed to play violent video games and run amuck on the streets of London. Just because you and I had good parenting means nothing. Many of these kids clearly didn’t and don’t. Combined with some of the other factors that I mentioned, plus those that JW has blogged about before (particularly The political class, August 10) there is a unquestionably a lot wrong with our society, but none of it comes down to a simple answer like ‘Footballers and Playstation’. I know many children who play football and Playstation who have been brought up well and are perfectly good kids.

    I am very pleased that you contribute to society with your consumer products and taxes. But while I agree the country is in trouble in a number of areas and there is much work to be done, I would prefer people try and retain some sense of optimism about it all, as cynicism helps exactly no-one. So let’s try and keep the ‘Great’ and use it as a goal to live up to again, eh?

  35. I’m amazed anyone actually watches Newsnight; it is merely an organ of propaganda for the “fluffies” as the Slog calls them.
    The best idea is not to watch it so the ratings collapse and it is axed. The real medium of political debate is now the internet-general broadcast TV is dead but it hasn’t quite worked that out yet. The sooner the BBC is funded by subscription and not compulsion the better.

  36. Mike
    It’s funny, but to your and other comments above, I say “This is surely obvious”. But when the education system requires only the jerking knee, we are in big trouble.
    If we support him, Starkey’s bravery need not be a suicide.
    And yet, if you asked me to fall in behind Nick Griffin, I’d be insulted.
    Why? Because Griffin is a muscle-head hiding in a suit, and Starkey is a good, old-fashioned empirical historian.
    The difference between the two is beyond chalk and cheese.
    Go to the comment threads #DavidStarkey. It is profoundly depressing, and makes me want to chuck in the towel: jerking knees where working brains should be.

  37. Amen to 90% of that…not in answer to OAH, but the previous.
    God but this WordPress commenting system is a crock.

  38. Yes indeed. Let’s put them all in jail, where they will learn all about professional criminal techniques from the old lags.

  39. OAH
    It’s all v complicated as always, mate: but give me Starkey over Harperson any day – because he is a Rule of Law democrat, and she is a correct fascist.
    When I wrote the infamous (but accurate) Brown-on-pills piece in September 2009, Starkey stood up for me on Question Time against Ben Cocksure and his fellow-liars….so I owe him bigtime.
    But if he was wrong about this issue, I wouldn’t support him.

  40. Triestino
    Neat piece of Establishment debating entrapment, there. The short answer, as always with any culture, is some good, some bad. Ska, Caribbean art & Steel bands = good. Mysoginist gangsta foulmouthed material envy = bad.

  41. Triestino
    This is all such apples v pears bullshit. Where to start on the contribution made by Scottish engineers, poets, writers, reformers, philanthropists?
    Dear oh dear oh dear.

  42. Tr’ino
    That much I agree with. Prison and zero tolerance are a Bandaid, not a cure.
    The cure starts with building the idea of the family as an important self-supporting unit in the AfroCab community.

  43. “Yes indeed. Let’s put them all in jail, where they will learn all about professional criminal techniques from the old lags.”

    Or even better leave them on the outside where they will learn the really professional criminal skills from those who haven’t been caught.

    No I don’t say that seriously, I say it to show that any ‘saying’ can be spouted out as if it is wisdom as many often are, spouted that is.

    No disrespect intended just trying to point out what I see as a flaw.

    It is like saying ‘prison doesn’t work’. Of course it works, it prevents an offender from committing further offences whilst imprisoned. But the ‘working’ is only temporary, until release. So prison works, but it doesn’t cure or solve all the problems.

    It could be made to work better, but that takes resources, apparently which have never been available. I’ll bet a conversation with a contributor here whom I shouldn’t name without permission, would come up with some suggestions for improvements and I for one suspect they’d work too.

    Perhaps what is needed is less ‘sayings’, and more conviction, money and effort.

    I’m now too old to contribute anything other than thoughts so forgive me if I leave it to those who are younger to actually fight for it to happen. But it has been like this for as many years as I can remember, too little investment and too many platitudes, ideologies etc.

  44. John you have more faith than I,and what do you do while you are building? watch London burning? I lived in kingston Jamaica and Mombasa and witnessed the lawlessness in these places.When the police shoot first and ask questions afterwards you know its bad,and I repeat its worked in New York. Its still working now,23 years later and a friend of mine living there, said he is sure it would work in London or anywhere else.

  45. Yes absolutely, couldn’t agree more. But nor does it help to focus on only one wrong without acknowledging that other, comparable wrongs exist. Oh and on my remarks about the Scots (I can’t reply in the right place because God in charge of the blog has removed the reply button) I think you might need to refresh your sense of irony. On my points about linguistic and cultural relativity, I do wish I could so easily distinguish between right and wrong in these matters, but complicated non-tabloid considerations – not bullshit or bollocks – somehow keep preventing me from doing so.

  46. There’s another kind of ‘ardness’ where the other person will walk “straight into you as you walk down the road” imported from Saudi Arabia into UK madrassas and other Islamic faith-schools , for example this textbook mentioned in the Daily Telegraph in 2004:-

    Al-Tawhid [Divine Unity] – 1st Grade High School
    ‘To be distributed for free – not to be sold’
    Author: None Listed
    Publisher: The Ministry of Education, Learning and Educational Advancement
    The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
    Published: 2004
    Language: Arabic

    … One of the great requirements for hating the unbelievers and showing enmity towards them is to stay away from their ceremonies and celebrations … As for participating with them in their lawful celebrations, or in their tragedies, or in offering them sympathy and condolences during calamities, the right way is the impermissibility of congratulating them or offering them condolences, as many of the scholars have conclusively ruled. The reason for this is that closeness to them will result, and then love towards them will become firm because of treating them with esteem. It is forbidden because of these dangers. It is also forbidden to greet them before they greet you, or to give way to them on the street.

  47. The hysterical outrage from some colleagues on the left to what David Starkey said are as depressing as they are predictable.I consider myself to be broadly on the left and agree with DS completely. Too many people on the left immediately scream ‘racist’at anyone who rails against this awful, misogynistic, homophobic ganster culture (or do we have to say ‘gangsta’?) The fact is that millions of us really wonder what our country has now become.We are called racists for saying we think elements of black culture (now being taken on by many whites)is disgusting and that the adoption of this nihilistic fashion is damaging our nation hugely. I frankly despair of many on the left. As the poster above says, any discussion of ethnic issues is called racist. All that will do is drive many British people to be ever more alienated from the country we no longer recognise.

  48. @Jwoo: There are plenty of things which need changing for the better in Britain, many of which would improve the lives of young people and also older folks. Sorting out the political chaos and introducing a proper written constitution owned by the people would be high on my list.

    Insofar as dealing with the riff-raff that were involved in looting, I’d shove most of them in Happy Camps and give them a life absent of all those boring freedoms they hate so much and can’t cope with. If/when they can demonstrate personal responsibility and a willingness to participate in society, let them rejoin the civilised majority. I’m sure many would never achieve that status and would be quite happy to live their lives inside a housing camp.
    A huge reduction in crime and street disorder would quickly be apparent, the cost of policing would go down plus costs of repairs to all the street furniture that gets smashed. A win-win.

  49. Or you could always repair to the Golf Club bar – the true home of The Slog, I often think – and enjoy the company of retired, puce faced colonels who no longer have anything useful to do with their lives. “Bah, Sir, the country’s going to pot!” (Oops, what have I just said? Pot? Yet another unspeakably foul black influence raises its ugly head. So sorry, do forgive me…..)

  50. What a hullaballoo you’ve started JW! Sorry I’m so late to the party, but it’s a great debate.
    Personally, I like and admire David Starkey very much and think one of his main failings is his presentation of himself. If he remained calmer and less flustered his views would appear to be more measured. Unfortunately, we must question the producers of the programmes, who are ultimately aiming for controversy and ratings and to hell with the content.
    This brings me to my main point, I think that the bean counters and back-room production teams of all television channels should have a lot on their consciences for their contribution to the dumbing-down of society in UK , with their negative influence on contemporary British culture
    When my son was a teenager, having sat down and watched a few episodes with him, I banned him from watching Grange Hill. I wasn’t very popular, but popularity doesn’t always coincide with good parenting. I thought that the teenagers were portrayed as belligerent and anarchic and therefore didn’t set a good example for what some impressionable young people would inevitably follow.
    To take us up to the present day, the programme that David Starkey took part in, Jamie Oliver’s “Dream School Experiment”, was excrutiatingly toe-curling. To observe intelligent, altruistic, professional people being treated like s**t. Now Jamie (everyman) Oliver, is no doubt very well meaning but his tactics and behaviour in the programmes that he makes now have changed beyond all recognition. For example, in his much earlier Fifteen show, he was very strict and laid sets of rules that they had to adhere to, and it worked, he got results. And it’s all down to the programme makers. Children and young people need rules and discipline, it represents loving and caring, no matter how much they may bat against it. The Children’s Act of 1989 did none of us any favours, but moreso the disaffected children.
    Last week, while reporting on the riots the Beeb definitely had an agenda in the first few days, namely ‘cop bashing’. There was a particular reporter Clive Myrie, who was practically putting the words into people’s mouths about how much the police let them down. I know that in lots of situations the police only have themselves to blame for the negative opinions the country has of them, but in most instances we have to question the hierarchy and government. The guys in the frontline can’t do right for doing wrong.
    I was so happy to read the interview with Sir Hugh Orde today, where he made it quite clear about the demarcation lines he was drawing up between himself and the government. His open criticism of Camerloon and May were very welcome and I think bodes well for the future of the Met.
    I hope that David Starkey gets the opportunity to redress the balance on television, I for one will watch, but mainly listen.

  51. the whole thing was predictable political theatre. Staged.

    Maitliss knew what he was going to say – had her Enoch Powell notes to refer to etc.

    A safety valve SOP to the right that they let him say what we’re all thinking.

    And that’ll be the end of it.

  52. oldasiahand::

    “I don’t think it is true that the majority of the looters were black.They started the riots in Tottenham and then elsewhere in London but the later looting in the provinces was overwhelmingly the white underclass, at least according to Skynews.”

    Easily influenced by a good looking female eh? Watch this Skynews vid:

    Was she there? was she reporting what she actually saw for herself?
    Were and are you? Or are you just another Leftie?Or are you both just keeping to the narrative?

    There was more – that clip finished with him replying “I didn’t see any”. He doesn’t look like a BNP man to me.

    Mad Morgan

  53. Listen shall I tell you how stupid this is? How can you blame the word innit on Jamaican patois if it’s not Jamaican patois but English slang Just because Ali G said it doesn’t make it real. He was an actor. David Starkey you really are a bomboclawt!

  54. I wouldn’t even call it borrowing it’s a normal influence. Those people are just racist simple. It’s ok when we use French or Italian expressions for the but if we use Jamaican then that’s bad is it…no it’s cool. Innit isn’t Jamaican it’s English slang sorry but Ali was just and actor….I don’t like rap I love reggae dancehall. Rap is american how can you confuse the two? That’s a racist mind he just see black. They just need to get over it, so many people are not racist and can see this for what this is. We are one people, The planet is one. In Britain we love curry and most kid know what I mean when I say that David Sarkey is just a bomboclawt. Or if I say poonarni. So what??? That text he read out was even not at all in Jamaican, but no one challanged that fact, it was some British street slang. It’s home made! In France the are trying to regulate the influence of English words in Italy they say they haven’t got a problem with it. Racism is racism. We can’t reverse history…I am so proud to be British… and very proud to be of Jamaican descent, after such a horrible traumatic and horrible history Jamaicans have become some of the most desired men and women on the planet in just a few generations they have been able to pick up the pieces of their complete destroyed human rights and with the vicious scars of the atrocities of the past have still gone on incredible gone on to create wonderful family’s with beautiful children and excelled in every possible area in life, from politicians to doctors, teachers, super models. Jamaican culture has created reggae music and this music filled the world with the most fun and sunny vibrations ever. But Jamaican men- the children of Jamaicans still have problems to resolve the age old problem of dealing with totally ignorant, stupid, blatant jaw dropping racism of Historian David Starkey recently. We still have to deal with this on every level. But we are Jamaican. Only the fitness of Africans survived that horrendous journey for many months so many generations ago. Only these Africans went on to become Jamaicans. It was the survival of the fitness We are true survivors. We’ve come to far and stood it out too long to be made a cheap scapegoat of the most racist deluded unfounded verbal diarrhoea. Africans have always been exploited in the worst way to make this western world a better place and to add insult to injury when things go wrong ‘they’ want to blames us. Well they can JUST BACK OFF! WE ARE PROUD…. VERY PROUD TO BE JAMAICAN ORIGIN! In the words of the great legend Bob Marley Don’t let them fool yah or even try to school yah! Everyone from black to white worked so very hard to get to this point in history where blacks and whites giving up the notion of ‘race’ and start to understand the only hope for humanity is understanding that we are one. Giving up this futile notion of separateness when trying to understand our problems that we all are responsible of creating. Don’t sabotaged our society further with more destructive philosophy’s of racism. That’s the very thing that holds us back!!!! SAY NO TO RACISM!

  55. I hate rap… well actually I like some of it but so much of it is unregulated. Who’s fault is it… It’s the white peole buying it and loving it. I’m black…I met a white man who is now my boyfriend. I was a little put off that he was into rap as I can’t listen to to much before I feeel like hanging myself. I said do you listen to the lyrics? Anway to cut a long story short he know only plays fun stuff and understand my point of view. He also agree it is the white market that is demanding this stuff , You guys love it. Regulate it and do me a favour! I used to like the Fars sides and rappers like that now it change Lil wayne God I can’t stand it. Stop blaming black people, don’t blame white people. It’s time to just blame people.

  56. OMG that’s such a good point!!! I’m black British my boyfriend is white Italian… The whole of Europe is always ALWAYS slagging of us Brits for what you menation above. I’m always arguing with my boyfriend about this point I say you guys just don’t know how to have a laugh but you know if you know I see it more and more everywhere. People hate British people for this just go on to any holiday site review and look what they say. But hey often they say it in their own language. I speak French and Italian and some Spanish. But it’s always the same, a warning about English people. Some hotels have banned English people. Yep I forgot about all this!!!! Good point …very good point!

  57. @shazza: I can see why some people might see apartheid and multiculturalism as two sides of the same coin, but they’re actually different in a number of important respects.
    Apartheid in RSA was based simply on colour and didn’t reflect a person’s religion/culture or that his homeland was invariably RSA. In RSA it was the whites who were immigrants, the blacks were indigenous.

    Multiculturalism in the UK is the other way round: it’s based upon race/ethnicity/religion and invariably involves immigrants (albeit often several generations past), and in this country it is the whites who are indigenous, not the immigrants. It is this latter issue that angers so many white Brits (notably the BNP)…having to share equality with immigrants in their own country.

    Thus, IMHO being against multiculturalism in the UK has far more justification than apartheid in RSA.

  58. I think it is time for the silent majority to have their say registered, however, there is no platform for such an event to take place in the near future. I have resigned myself to be a ‘racist’ if this is the label bestowed upon me by lesser mortals then so be it, however, As it sits comfortable with me, it is quite plain others are finding it a bit harder to take. I have been predicting a civil war in this country and for those who choose not to see it will do so at their peril. It has nothing to do with poverty, it is a cultural issue. And DS did hit a nerve. The riots were seen as lawlessness and that was exactly what it was, rampant lawlessess. The silent majority will take over, but it will be by a more sinister route as we only have the ballot box ( this is being rigged) I predict a massive swing towards Nazi type politics. The writing is on the wall!

    In one of my essays I has to state: what was one of Hitlers other crimes in his days in power, apart from the obvious. My long winded reply is shortened here: Hitler robbed the people of Germany of their social conscience, they accepted change because of fear. A brilliant tactic and look how well it worked for him! ( this was me being sarcastic, but honest, as his cruelty got him results). That is what made Hitler so powerful. Alas, and thankfully, some people stood up and said ” call us names, we don’t care, we hate what you’re doing so stop it now. OK HE TOOK SOME CONVINCING BUT.. it all worked out in the end… or did it (EU backwords is UE United Europe?)

    Anyway, I had a lot of belief in what Enoch Powel had to say ( some of his adjectives could have been ommited). He was mocked and ridiculed, and demonised as is DS. I denounce multiculturalism, and all it entails. My comminity has changed for the worst because of it, there is nothing positive about it. One culture- many peoples! Majority (not minorities) decide on policies and removal from the EU WILL be the right moves forward. Does that make me a racist? GOOD! I do not live in fear of the pc Brigade. I never handed my concience over to them, like many other millions of UK citizens!

  59. Culture as referred to here is a coded reference to race – see the 1980s Salisbury Review with Scruton et al banging on about dominant white culture’s intrinsic superiority to other cultures. They used the same trick as Starkey. Culture = race in this narrative and anyone who tries to argue that culture is different to race is a racist.
    Dr Peach

  60. I hate golf. But if that’s where you think the Slog belongs – and you’re here – presumably you like golf. Hard to grasp how you’d understand who plays golf without, um, being a regular yourself.

  61. A marvelous example of the self-contained, blinkered Guardian view: “we have no case on the basis of culture – so let’s assert that it’s the same as race and then we can condemn it”.
    ‘anyone who tries to argue that culture is different to race is a racist.’
    What utter bollocks….worthy of Goebbels* at his worst and most malign.
    Culture is a collective multidimensional expression of a tribe, area or country, defined as the key features of legal systems, mores, gender relationships, punishment forms, the arts, the built environment, civics, medicine, attitudes to education and interpersonal behaviour.
    Race is a simplistic term to do with genes, evolution, physical features and skin pigment. It has 0% to do with culture…beyond being the excuse used by fascists like you to accuse those with whom you don’t agree.
    Dr Goebbels defined German Nazism as the hatred of Jews and Communists; so the line he used over and over again before 1933 during elections was ‘All Jews are Communists’.
    I’m sorry Dr Peach, but your comment is a length of rope with which you hanged yourself.

  62. Blimey, John, didn’t you do any basic philosophy when you studied politics at Liverpool all those years ago? These days, any half-decent politics degree course includes a compulsory first-year philosophy unit, in which syllogisms and logic are explained. Looks to me as though you badly need some basic refreshment in what constitutes logical thought. Without the distraction of young Chinese ladies, of course.

  63. I have enjoyed Curry Sundays for as long as I can remember, I listen to jazz and enjoyed Rock, and the blues and plantain chips and marvelled at the experiences of travel and living overseas that my parents provided for us when I was a child.

    The richness of other peoples cultures and lifestyles and the kindness of strangers is so enervating interesting.

    Is this country so darned introverted and inward looking that it has forgotten what gifts of language and music and culinary delights this country of ours has benefited from, that our supposed superiority above other people from other cultures is regarded as Blimpish

  64. But those in Britain of a right wing and xenophobic disposition do indeed tend to see “culture” as synonymous with “white culture”, and tend to proceed on the assumption that “white culture” is intrinsically superior to all other cultures. Perhaps that’s the point that Dr Peach is trying to make, and if that’s the case, it’s a fair point, I think. To be sure, the good Dr doesn’t make his point with sufficient clarity, but shouting “utter bollocks” at him is hardly the best way of advancing the discussion – or so I should have thought.

  65. No, alas, there doesn’t seem to be, and you will also find that the “reply” button tends to disappear just when things are getting interesting.

  66. I enjoyed Starkey’s piece on Newsnight, and thought it was a valuable contribution to the debate. My wife had already commented with disbelief on how the Jamaican patois had spread to white youths.

    I am not entirely sure that I agree that his view was badly expressed – it was clear to me what he was saying.

    Thank for your thoughts on the subject.


  67. @Triestino: Are you saying that “right wing” people (not sure what you mean by that) and those with a “xenophobic disposition” are one and the same?

  68. and I am pretty sure the greeks will welcome everyone of them to spend spend spend to try and repay their european counterparties who have bailed them out, am I being racist calling them greeks?

  69. ‘Multiculturalism is a blight which pushed by those whites living in confortable surroundings never touched by the culture prevailing in say Tottenham.’

    Exactly. But let’s not confine it to multiculturalism. The blight extends much further than that. Much of the BS with which many of us have to live stems from the idiocies of nice, well-meaning middle class people who make a living out of feeling the pain of nasty little skanks whilst making quite certain that the resulting mess never touches their own kids, thanks very much. The breathtaking hypocrisy of it all never seems to penetrate their skulls in even the smallest way. At a council meeting a few years back I was astonished to find that we were all contributing to the salaries of a Head of Inclusion, a Deputy Head of Inclusion and a Wellbeing Officer as well as assorted other luvvies. None of them lived anywhere near the poorer parts of town.

    Back to Starkey. I’m glad he’s been brave enough to stir things up. I hope it isn’t the last we hear of him. Respek. Innit.

  70. John Ward,
    I have spent several days thinking how to respond to this. I have spent half my life in England and half overseas, and I grew up in Thailand where my father was a visiting professor. You probably know all that by now if you have read any of my previous posts, especially with OAH.

    Now this is a personal view, so if I am offensive, it is not implied.

    I am essentially middle aged, upper-middle class, well educated, English, and speak three languages fluently, several more with competence.

    Speaking another language is to grasp the essence of another culture. Anybody who can say anything about culture without that is talking without personal experience. What is more, in opening yourself up to other people, you do not make yourself less English or less anything else, but more so. For you will have a contrast and a context in which to place your own cultural experiences. I love Germany for its Germanness and the smell from the bakeries. I love Thailand for the heat but more for its incredibly friendly and accepting people. I love Holland for the gentleness of the lifestyle and the sheer generosity of the people who live there. I love England for the country lanes, the church bells on a Sunday, the changeable weather, and the bus drivers who call everybody “love” or “pet”. I could tell you about the downsides, but there is no point, I don’t go there to enjoy that!

    I do not travel to another country just to say “I want to go home” – I go to find out what it is that has kept that country’s culture alive for so long, what the spirits is and what it is in the locals that keeps them all together. Cultures are formed by the conditions of their geography (plus a bundle of other stuff, but I am not writing a thesis here) which means that Indians eat hot food and the English make beer not wine (okay, so they do but you get my point? French cidre does not taste like scrumpy, okay?). I love to feel and experience the different ways people have of getting on because it shows me parts of my self and my Englishness that I would not see otherwise. I often get people saying “you’re English aren’t you, I can tell from your accent” – and that is me trying my damndest to speak Dutch with a *Dutch* accent … in short culture does not scrub off in the bath. Every culture you meet will re-inforce that, not diminish it. I often meet English ex-pats who live in a country but live in a little British bubble because they are scared to lose their cultural identity. They appear distant and unfriendly, and few of them have mastered the local language beyond the needs of hailing a taxi. On the one hand you have the fun of jumping into a culture head first and on the other, someone who doesn’t even want to dip a toe because the water is too cold.

    I want to turn this on its head now, for I met an Indian who was proud of himself. I have met only a few Indians who are truly proud of their culture, and this guy beamed it. (This by the way, was my DSK moment! but I digress). He spoke English perfectly and beautifully with that Indian twist that adds curry flavour. Had he wanted to have anything more than a quickie I would have married him – he really was that nice a guy. The fact that he lives in Hong Kong did not bode well for learning about the ins and outs of a relationship with him, and I do not do jet-lag. Now: there was another Indian who in like manner spoke and understood English better than I do myself, but presented himelf in the English manner, and trying the English courtesies. If felt it was strained, unnatural, and when India and Indian culture has wealth beyond measure, it was sad to see.

    There, that is *more* than enough. I would appreciate your thoughts.

  71. No, not at all. I said “those of a right wing AND xenophobic disposition” – in other words I meant individuals who possess both of these characteristics. I’m sorry you don’t know what “right wing” means, but a quick trip to Wikipedia should fix that, I think. Best wishes, T.

  72. I don’t know what JW thought of your contribution, Gem, but I enjoyed it a lot. That said, I suspect that The Slog may not be your kind of blog – especially in the light of Saint David’s utterances, non-British cultures are not held in high esteem in places such as this just at the moment…..

  73. Triestino,
    whilst the Slog may not be my kind of politics, it is well written and thought provoking. There is all too little of that in the mainstream, and whatever JW’s personal opinion, it is well presented. Frankly, I would prefer that to a blog that agreed with all my thoughts but bored me to tears.

    I don’t know where you live, but if you enjoyed that piece then it is likely that you understand the point I was wanting to make. My feelings are that cultures should be tolerant and accepting of one another, and so can co-exist in peace with a little disharmony to wake you up on a Friday morning when they have a call to prayer. Having lived with a mosque down the road, this was my Friday reality, and frankly I did not mind because it meant that their needs were being met along with mine. What I do *not* like is when countries like Pakistan will not allow free worship, and even those dedicated moslems from the UK are seen as under-cover Christian missionaries despite their inward and outwardly held beliefs. That, quite simply, is not healthy. It is certainly not fair.

  74. Charming. I posted a comment to this article this morning.
    It then appeared in the list but with the words at the top: “your comments are awaiting moderation”. This evening it’s completely disappeared.

    Are you now moderating comments John? or is it WordPress?

  75. Black and white weren’t fight each other sorry about that, is that what you wanted? Ohhh BTW if you didn’t want black people in your country you should have keep your evil white looting fingers out of African shouldn’t you? The bottomeline is you can’t have your cake and eat love now can you? Now try and help instead of being ridiculus and deluded.

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