Tuesday 26 October 2010


Once again David Starkey, the shock historian, has upset Scots with his comments on Glasgow.

Starkey said in a camp and petty little rant on BBC Radio 4’s Andrew Marr Show during a discussion on the work of painter Alasdair Gray, that Glasgow had declined from a world city to a provincial city dependent on state funding.

Professor Tom Devine, an historian who clearly knows a great deal more about Glasgow than arch Little Englander Dr Starkey, has replied to his accusations. [He pointed out that he wouldn’t normally bother to comment on anything Starkey said (a brilliant put down) but on this occasion, because of the popularity of the programme on which he said it, and the number of people who are likely to have heard it, he felt obliged to answer the accusation.]

Professor Devine pointed out what most Scots would know. That Glasgow is a “tale of two cities”. There is of course the poverty, the deprivation and all the ills that attend poor and neglected people in a post-industrial Scotland. But there is another city of regeneration, of galleries and museums, music venues, of shopping malls, of smart housing. Indeed Dr Starkey may be a little outside the loop on this one buried as he usually is in the history of Tudor England’s monarchs, but Glasgow has been described as the ‘European Capital of Cool’.

Nicola Sturgeon, Deputy First Minister and a Glasgow MSP herself said that it was the kind of ill-informed comment that we’ve come to expect from him and Pauline McNeill, MSP for Glasgow Kelvin, said accused him of ignorance knowing no bounds and pointed out that his comments only showed how little he knew Glasgow. I agree with them both.

David Starkey used to be amusing in very small dozes, and no one would doubt his expertise on English history, particularly the Tudor period, but the man must have some dreadful chip on his shoulder about almost everything else. God knows why. Clever though he may be, his rantings seem to me to be becoming incredibly immature and his lack of manners lamentable.

As he heads for old age he has become a parody of himself. He opens his mouth and trots out the most offensive, ill considered rubbish in his superior metropolitan style. (Strange for a man born in Cumbria.)

Rants against Scotland, particularly with reference to dependency on the state, seem to be getting more and more on the London based BBC.

We know they don’t like us much, but I wish they would remember that we pay a licence fee the same as their English viewers and listeners.


  1. Your country needs you please vote.


    Starkey is a narky little ....... suits the beeb to a tee.

  2. Hey there Conan. Not seen you for a while. Hope you're keeping well.

    Yes, indeed!

  3. Well, as I understand it, that's probably the best thing to be snowed under with... (erm, brilliant English, huh?)

    Enjoy them while they're little. They'll soon be big!

  4. Tris....This caught my eye, since I just spent $55 US on a DVD box set of Dr. Starkey's documentary series on the Monarchy of England/Great Britain.

    Interesting that he seems to have a low opinion of Scotland....or at least Glasgow. But it seems that he also has a low opinion of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. He was apparently unimpressed with the level of her conversation as he showed her around an historical exhibition on Queen Elizabeth I. He was quoted in a 2007 article in the Daily Mail.

    Starkey says (she) reminded him of a housewife who had been left some wonderful possessions.

    "She'd looked after them, she'd put in place much better arrangements for their care, but again - I suppose it's this absence of any kind of, to be blunt, serious education."

    So he has a very low opinion of QEII vs QEI. QEII very poorly educated, and a bit of a philistine don't you know...LOL.


  5. He's such a snob Danny.

    He is of course, very clever, and to be fair he has made a long journey from a council house, having suffered polio and with 2 club feet, to the exhaulted heights of Cambridge and on to an academic career and then a second career in broadcasting.

    Thanks for the article. He actually sounds like he's showing off a bit. It's no secret that the Queen isn't an intellectual and of course she could never have had the benefits of the kind of education that Starkey got. Like many on the right wing of the Tory Party, he seems to forget that not everyone is able to avail themselves of all the facilities in the country, nor to use develop their intellect to the extent that he did.

    He might want to consider that the Queen was bored witless by him twittering on in his didactic fashion about the collection that he had curated.

    If I had to spend a lot of time with him I'd be looking for my gin and Dubonnet too :)

    Now...there you go, a spirited defence of the Queen by a republican and a nationalist too!!!