Tom Kelly, Daily Mail (London), November 16, 2011
David Starkey has provoked more controversy by claiming that most of Britain is a ‘mono-culture’ and that immigrants should assimilate.
The TV historian rejected claims by other academics that it is a diverse country, describing it as ‘absolutely and unmitigatingly white’ outside of London.
His outburst comes three months after he blamed ‘black culture’ for the summer riots and claimed that parts of Enoch Powell’s ‘rivers of blood’ speech had been right.
He made his latest comments during a historians conference discussing 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 meeting that the National Curriculum should involve ‘a serious focus on your own culture’.
Cambridge University historian Joya Chatterji asked him to explain what he meant, arguing that contemporary Britain was ‘rather diverse’.
But Dr Starkey cut in, telling her: ‘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 [in Cumbria], 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.’
Dr Starkey added: ‘Successful immigrants assimilate or become bi-cultural.’
Trevor Phillips, Chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said he did not believe Dr Starkey was racist but was saddened that he ‘feels that he must occasionally utter nonsense that may give comfort to racists.’
Lee Jasper, Chairman of the London Race and Criminal Justice Consortium, tweeted: ‘Starkey the racist academic strikes again.’
Former prison chaplain the Reverend Pam Smith jokingly questioned on Twitter whether Dr Starkey ‘can’t see people who aren’t white’ given the racial diversity of many towns outside the capital.
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’.
Dr Evans said school history teachers were right to reflect Britain’s multi-ethnic make up in lessons.
Dr Starkey had been accused of racism by more than 100 viewers of Newsnight in August when he claimed that ‘whites have become black’.
He added: ‘A particular sort of violent, destructive, nihilistic gangster culture has become the fashion.’
But Ofcom ruled that the Newsnight discussion had been balanced by other speakers who did not share the outspoken historian’s views.
Acid-tongued Dr Starkey has been dubbed the ‘rudest man in Britain’.
He once described the Queen as a housewife who ‘lacks a serious education’ and called Scotland, Wales and Ireland ‘feeble little countries’.