Starkey’s Riot Scandal
The BBC has openly defended David Starkey’s “offensive” views at a Newsnight debate on riots which prompted around 700 complaints. The historian, best known for his works on the Tudor period, was accused of having “inappropriate and racially offensive” opinions in relation to the riots.
The writer and broadcaster, who was a guest on the BBC2 news show on Friday which was hosted by Emily Maitlis, claimed that “What has happened is that the substantial section of the ‘chavs’ that you wrote about have become black. The whites have become black. A particular sort of violent, destructive, nihilistic gangster culture has become the fashion”. He also stated that some of the predictions of Enoch Powell’s Rivers of Blood speech had been borne out in the 2011 England riots, but rather “inter-community violence” , the “whites have become black”.
He went on to say: “Black and white, boy and girl operate in this language together. This language, which is wholly false, which is this Jamaican patois that has intruded in England. This is why so many of us have this sense of literally a foreign country.”
Following on from this, Dr Starkey said that Tottenham MP David Lammy, a man of Guyanese blood, sounded white: “If you turn the screen off, so you were listening to him on radio, you would think he was white”.
Ed Miliband, leader of the Labour party, declared Dr Starkey’s comments were “outrageous”. He went on to suggest that all political parties ought to condemn the historian’s “racist” views.
In response to the high volume of complaints from various members of the public, the BBC said: “Whilst we acknowledge that some people will have found David Starkey’s comments offensive he was robustly challenged by presenter Emily Maitlis and the other contributors who took issue with his comments”. They went on to say: “David Cameron had said this was not a race issue and that people taking part in the riots came from a range of ethnic backgrounds”.