Dr. David Starkey – Uncut: Assaults on Brexit, British Identity & History I So What You're Saying Is

Dr. David Starkey – Uncut: Assaults on Brexit, British Identity & History I So What You're Saying Is



hello and welcome to so what you're saying is I'm Peter Whittle now I'm delighted today that my guest is probably Britain's best-known historian dr. David Starkey is well known to us for the numerous books that he's written about British history about the monarchy and particularly about the Tudors and to a wider audience through the various series and documentaries he's made for television he's also uh known I think it's a period of about three decades now for his various appearances on question time and any questions I'm delighted he's with us today thank you very much David for coming you're on tour at the moment aren't you that's putting it very strongly I am suffering from the fate of every B or C list celebrity as you try to monetize the ashes of your fame i troll myself around various obscure theaters talking to very agreeable audiences and earning a pittance it's it's really it's a modest modest active what I came to see you when you were doing it recently and it didn't seem like it was a packed house and I mean I wonder whether you could have a little bit about this we aren't giving you away too much of your lecture but this is a fascinating subject you're talking on which is essentially Britain's other brexit its first brexit that's one of the subjects I do so yeah I have lots of things up my sleeve including one that I think is in some ways even more Apple site to our present catastrophe than that which is on why Churchill was great and what I argue is Churchill is great because of writing and very important history book writing on his ancestor the Duke of Moore bruh and what he does he looks at the relationship between again it's very much this question of the relationship between England Britain and and Europe and he looks at the relationship between England Britain because Britain is just a formal political entity at this point from 1707 and the France of Louie the 14th and what he does he looks at lower the 14th and he's not quite sure what the modern analogy is he's writing this after the rise of Stalin but before the rise of Hitler yes a little period and what he's doing in that is saying I know why the way the 14th is wicked on the one hand he is aiming for external hegemony in dominance of Europe on the other hand he's an internal persecutor the persecution of the Hyuga No and he sees this the relation of internal persecution and the external pursuit of hegemony as the authentic mark of totalitarian tyranny now you can see it's like Pirandello six characters in search of an author he's looking for a modern analogy yes and this is why he understood Hitler in the way which nobody else did and as quickly as he did because he had already worked out the lineaments it's a jolly good lecture the other breaks it of course it's good that the only the other one that is when the boot is on the other foot and we're dealing with a quasi but it's very quiz I don't have a tear in your ruler in Britain which is Henry the eighth's and the lecture you heard is Henry the eighth's and the first brexit and what I argue there of course is that the break with the Roman Church is absolutely analogous to our separating ourselves from the EU it's even fought over the same territory is fought over the jurisdiction yes why does Henry have to break with Rome to get his divorce because England is subordinate to a European Court yes and what is the other ground of the conflict the amount of money you pay quite extraordinary and and it it goes into absolute detail the way Henry does it is by the doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty in other words the idea which is being pursued hotly by the Legion of remain as headed by Centurion Berko is that parliamentary sovereignty can be used to deny national sovereignty yes it's an assert contradiction parliamentary sovereignty only makes sense within the notion of a sovereign independent state otherwise it's meaningless verbiage and again of course it highlights the fact that the parliamentary sovereignty long predates democracy and that the great crisis in Britain is that we've never worked out what the relationship between an idea of popular sovereignty and parliamentary sovereignty is which was of course exposed with brutal effectiveness by the brexit referendum so that that really is the nub of it actually isn't it it really isn't up yeah but I think there are several knobs and again you've got to ask why the various bits of the British Isles vote in the way they do why is brexit specifically English phenomenon with Wales the answer is of course Henry the 8th from the 16th century onwards the notion of self-determination of self-government of separation from any any external form of subordination has been absolutely the central thread of English identity it's why the British English Empire is the only Empire in the world that spawns a series of self governing entities first American colonies then Canada Australia South Africa New Zealand and so on with with the immediate energy I mean it we're talking about it a different set of people entirely you'd noticed I think this is a level of sublime perception you've noticed the difference between say Henry the eighth's and tourism man yes yes yes there are some very interesting parallels actually in how badly Henry got it wrong to begin with to begin with Henry does exactly what to resume as been doing and he does it for two years he negotiates with Rome on Rome's terms he uses a principal minister Cardinal Wolsey who by the way was also fond of wearing red and had very large beads right didn't believe in the divorce hated Anne Boleyn and really wanted to keep England in hopto room so he makes exactly the same mistake except of course when the catastrophe are Wars is approached with the divorce is brought home with the papal the suspension of the papal court that had been who was sitting in England with the with the with the letter with the Cardinal Leggett campeggio when that's brought home to Henry of course he is not a 1922 committee it doesn't take him an eternity to decide that walls has got to go and then at that point this is where the stories diverge so radically Henry stops thinks Commission's research works out a series of rational grounds for what he's doing but of course in doing it in pushing the argument for the self-sufficiency of England he really reinvents England and I think that the the you know the great impetus that lay behind the lay behind the vote is is that sense of an England that is different an England that is separate that has his own powerful identity over and against I mean sometimes some of it's terribly terribly crude let me give you an example in the final culmination of all of this propaganda from my own life story I was the son of working-class parents in the north of England very unusual in one sense in that they weren't Quaker it was very unusual for working-class people normally it's very much the middle class of prayer reading the Guardian and but but my mother was a slightly different variety she was really just to northern working-class purity and when I first this was my first school trip as a newly anointed grammar school boy wearing my green blazer my vocab my first school trip was to on her face all of these visions of the horror of Rome the Whore of Babylon and the wickedness of Rome is corruption she couldn't explain that she thought she couldn't doing the leaven the royal child so I can still remember the moment what sure they've gotten before the toilet actually maybe that's that was quite unusual at the age of eleven then to be going on a school trip to Rome it was a little grad school it was I was probably 13 this second it would be the second year but I remember vividly the trip the trip across the channel wearing the plastic map because the only thing that protected yourself from the vomit of speakable and and roughly 36 hours crossing Europe by train stop it I can still remember the stop in Basel station eating for the first time black cherry jam which was really good and the journey through North Italy and the stink of the hard-boiled eggs and the packed lunches have fun have you ever written about this by the way no no no wonderful way you're describing it there it's abuse my agent constantly says you should forget the Tudors and write your autobiography we can't forget the Judas familiars no the two things I was really you mentioned have this sense of England being different Henry the eighth's certainly to me is it as a kid and now see mr. kind of doesn't eat he's part of the kind of English folklore he seems to listen somehow mythic mythical mythic yes somehow seems to absolutely be the essence of Englishness to some people what is that well my great teacher at Cambridge this is moving on to the next stage of my life maybe the next chapter but two of the year what biography my great teacher at Cambridge Geoffrey Elton and the only thing I can remember of sitting at his feet in umpteen lectures was his comment on the Great Hall by and portrait of Harry yes in which he pointed out that Henry the eighth is the only King whose shape you remember William Henry date is subliminal the Holbein portrait underneath all the frou-frou of the the velvet and the cloth of gold and the ruching and the ostrich feathers and whatever is cubillas geometry what is a trapezium leg displayed columns arms of triangles attached triangles because he's a rugby player but you know jostling being rugby on horseback the the network continuous cylinder yes and the little hat is the angle so that goes into the mind and of course what Henry the eighth did the six wives it beats Bluebeard ubi had some more with Henry the eight of them receive nor surround an also-ran in Paris so I think it really did the Tudors are the English Greek myths they're the Greek myths of the of the English world Elizabeth comes quite crazy she does she's seen this Virgin Mary yes I don't know I always say it's very important you understand she's a born-again virgin okay my clever lady friends tell me this is entirely possible do you do you ever bother with the various film adaptations in there aren't you you never I can't ask you which in Lizabeth you thought and not that I particularly disapprove but I and Nord nor even nor do I read the Hilary Mantel's of this world no but not because of disapproving but I just don't see the point yes I I just remember in indicate vanchat Elizabeth film this point is entirely made she looked she said they don't have Evert they don't have a mother anymore I will I will become a Virgin Mary hence the white makeup hence all of this well Jeff and Roy strong I mean who is brilliant on this subject and he points out that there are surviving engravings of Elizabeth the first that had been turned into votive objects yes the border didn't paper lace they're stained with with wax I mean clearly they candles have been put on the other side of them and I mean elizabeth is the moment at which the relationship with the monarch really sublimates itself into some sort of notion of submerging in a larger national identity if you look under Henry the eighth and you look at royal emblems for example the use of the two Dakota values or the tudor badges if you find those in a country house that's that's redecorated under Henry VIII a saying that the best known example of two of them one is I to moat a known class house and the other is not open to the public it's compton win yet win yets of the house democracies of North Hamilton that's built by Henry the eighth's Peter Mandelson that's built by the groom of the stool Andrews bottom today I think is exactly the role that one envisages and the Mandelson is having played if you look at both of those houses they're heavily decorated with portcullises roses and whatever because the people involved are intimate royal servants and attendants yes by the time you've got to Elizabeth everybody's house yes he's become a statement of national identity the monarchy is kind of nationalized itself before here recording this you just come from the Portrait Gallery I don't you know when I was growing up this was somehow the meant a huge amount to me simply because you know this amazing Tudor gallery with these pewter gathering which is Roy strong we were talking about it's his great achievement and and again it takes you into I think so much of the heart of being English why do we care about the Tudors well there's yet another reason because of the first people that we know what they look why you can't get too excited about the Plantagenet amazing there they are is because we don't really know what they look like where's with the Tudors you saw Henry God would you recognize it yes would you recognize it and I think that's that's a central point and it's also the dynasty which again it is this question of the definition of England and the only other medieval King will has anything like that effect is Henry the fifth and what is striking is when you look at Churchill talked about Churchill when you look at the use that he makes of history of course one of the uses is end of the fifth and Agincourt and whatever but above all it's the few it's as as it were the rerun of the myth of the Spanish Armada and very strikingly the great American historian Garrett Mattingly I was inspired by the Battle of Britain to write what I think is one of the very greatest history books of the 16th century his account of the Spanish Armada and and it's these myths music come back time when we want to talk about a summit conference it's the field of cloth of gold yes there is this it's as though the Tudors who again remember have a totally modern appetite for fame a totally modern flair for publicity are also living and using and manipulating a media revolution the bigger media revolutions and even this stuff the revolution of print yes so there are all these wonderful echoes that go across 500 years but what for a young kid right that got me interested in history as simple as that seeing the Ditchley portrait of Elizabeth and this the theatricality of it got me interested what was it for you that started you on the journey of being interested always much more prosaic you obviously had a much more romantic upbringing than I did I was I'm not really and I am NOT just teasing you I did history a second best what was for my first best was physics and chemistry I was the star in my little northern grammar school physics and chemistry I did better actually at least as well as as somebody who got an open scholarship in the Natural Sciences at the same time that I got one in history but I wasn't a natural mathematician and I had the wit to realize that here and for me history is the subject which with its use of evidence with the with the trolling of sources with the criticism of sources has something like yes the same foundations as the Natural Sciences which is why I become furious at the modern attack on the notion of truth the insistence that everything is just a matter of opinion no it's not when did that happen then when did you realize that actually you were going to go to the historical way instead of oh it was it was after doing it was it was it was literally the decision on the eve of going into the sixth form really as late as that because the thing is I mean I don't know the thing is you've sort of become in a way you're one of those voices that is so distinct that it almost actually molds the history in in a way I I know that sounds terribly kind of you know for me falling and falling I'm falling groping but I I think that this is what is often lost now I mean these things have to be brought to life and you have to convey without being condescending to people now that's a really interesting point I mean I am passionately of the belief that there is nothing so complicated that if you actually understand you cannot communicate it in straightforward language and the great problem of course with so many subjects in the arts and social sciences is that obfuscation is part of the package the most obvious example is sociology which is like medieval theology it can only be taught in Latin and at the moment you translated it becomes an absurdity and I mean I've I am so deeply opposed to that I also have the great luck I suppose in that I've always been a dissenter I was well I was Quaker parents I was the only boy in my class this was literally you were saying when you're questioning me at the age 11 I was and my first year at grammar school was the year of Suez I was the only boy in the class who supported NASA right I see and that kind of very very popular position I mean it was really popular say I was more or less the same size then that I am now so any attempt at bullying was fairly vigorously resisted I remember one of my master said you really should take up boxing but I it never really appealed very much later on I might have quite enjoyed it but but what I want what one I felt and what I became as a historian was consciously going against the consensus of the sixties when I was taught when I was taught you know it was believed that the Russian Revolution was the most important event in human history rather than you know one of the periodic spasms of horror that the Slavic people flipped on themselves roughly once every 50 years which is clearly what it is now with Putin merely being you know yet another Cesare and so I went against that and I rejected the notion that history is essentially about the mass and comes up from the bottom it seemed to me always obvious that in this sense I'm a very good Bolshevik history comes from the top history is determined by small groups the English English Reformation being an absolutely prime example I went against I've already paid tribute to my teacher Geoffrey Elton but I fought him every inch of the way here was this man who claimed that government became bureaucratized or depersonalized under Henry the eighth for God's sake yes I can still remember teasing him and he did not like being his very German real name Gottfried to hold on forever back he did not like being teased so asking him what was the moment at which he thought Thomas Cromwell his hero of course I'm Hilary Mantel's here I explained to Henry the–it that the king was now redundant I reckon it was about three hours before he was executed rusty axe and an inexperienced execution but what that led me to do this is a serious point what that led me to do was an interest in all the unfashionable subjects right monarchy yes the court aristocracy but of course doing that forces you into a very different sort of history from the usual political or social history you're inevitably driven into the history of things I'm a huge believer in two key historical devices one is the device of the narrative which was also is also deeply unfashionable in the teaching and presentation of history in other words history is story and I believe that he's actually the only way of understanding things until you know what happened how on earth can you possibly understand it and 90% of the time when you look at so-called analyses of the past they're based on false narratives so all my best books are extraordinarily dense in agents with the sauce they don't read as evidence I hope not but they are dense engagements with the sources really teasing out what happened and then in passages of what's fashionably called thick of narrative you then debate it but within the narration so there is that belief in narrative my other commitment as a historian is the belief that these are real people doing real things in real places in real time that means you need to know about architecture it means you need to know about geography it means you need to know about dress it means you need to know about people's toilet habits how they have sex how they went how they slipped how they ate beaten it it's the French of course had a word friend they call it east wattle tile total district yes and it's very demanding but I also think it was again this time fawning over myself I think it's why in some ways I was a television natural apart from the ebullience of personality and drama but also from those things is it but it's actually you've got to have a voice this is the point and I have also been very peculiar voice there was a particular point of view and the but I think it is this I call it thing goodness I mean I've just written now something I don't do very often though I'm doing more of going back to my roots as a clever research student everything a research paper on the Royal finances of Henry the seventh and I've revolutionized them because I ask the simple question what actually lies behind these accountants where was it done who was there what do these beautifully flourish pages represent and you realize I've been able to show that they represent actual specific accounts how did hem of the seventh control his finances by summoning his treasure above the treasure of the chamber to court every quarter day just like a modern business you know he's summoned there every quarter day and you go through the entire book and you know what how did the King make sure that those figures were accurate and that the treasurer walked wasn't just doing like a modern fraud producing an elegantly balanced fiction hmm because the treasurer then had to hand over the amount of cash that he said he had brilliant yes with those two devices he is the only King ever completely before modern times to control the financial machine if you you you I'm getting back dude when you said that you are you've always dissented in the academic world you you were a teacher weren't you Elysee in order I mean I would have thought that you would have certainly kicked against what I see is being like an orthodoxy there I don't just mean in the academic sense but actually even in the political sense surely I mean yes I mean I think going back then politically probably less I mean I pulled out full-time academic live 20 odd years very long time I think if again I'm honest for much of that period I was rejoicing in the newly developed gay activities of London having a jolly good time and because I am a natural extemporary lecturer I could be out enjoying myself to her in the morning and still do a lot of 10 and 11 o'clock lecture and still be absolutely I mean I wait where how did I kick against the pricks I believed passionately in teaching I taught the wrong subjects I also believed that everybody should be a serious teacher which many of my I've just been having lunch with my former director and he was describing his absolute failure to get my promotion through the academic board because they all hated me as I invariably came top of the student appreciation list and this regard as being a bad thing I'm one of the catastrophism with the universities is that we have falsely prioritized research yes now I think research is very very important but the prime purpose of a teaching University has to be to teach yes yes most academics aren't interested they regarded as an unworthy diversion of that from thinking great thoughts and getting huge fat research grants David you mentioned you know about being a dissenter and taking on subjects that weren't particularly fashionable like the monarchy I wonder we've just had a war birth what if you believe if you believe it I'm seen it yeah they've been on this page today yeah I just wondered what your as I understand it and as I've picked up you don't have that much of a high regard for the House of Windsor do you or is that one person ideas rather unfair I mean I think various sovereigns have played their cards with various degrees of effectiveness I have an enormous to high regard for the first sovereign of the House of Windsor and jaw to the fifth I think the reinvention of the monarchy in 1917 is one of the great marketing exercises of all time could actually market test the name Windsor the transformation of a German dynasty into an English family the way you turn an aristocratic institution that was held in widespread doubt into a symbol of sort of bourgeois earnestness and the best of British genius his genius on the other hand I do have and it's very unfashionable to say so I am not entirely persuaded that the present Queen is the greatest that we've ever had which is the fashionable position I think that she has tended to pursue a policy of the quiet life save in the Commonwealth about which she has been passionate and I think it's no accident that Harry and Megan have been wheeled into participating in that but I think the great problem is that the Queen has left the monarchy as merely symbolic Duke now you know the problem with that is it's rather too big an institution made it to be a symbol and I think our current political crisis illustrates the fact that the old older role of the monarchy the role for example that her grandfather when the Queen came to the throne she says quite explicitly I want to do as my father grandfather did well she hasn't they both were the ultimate especially her grandfather the ultimate political referee so when it came to the great crisis of 31 you know that long flowing crisis from the general strike and whatever the second Labour government and whatever et is george v who acts as the political referee who is directly instrumental in putting together the national government if you look across the channel now no longer saying england unique and whatever but you look at the other surviving monarchies in europe they all have the role of political arbiter and of course it's a role which is very alive in many of those countries because they also have proportional representation which means that each formation of a government is a work of negotiation and in almost all of them under their essentially 1830's constitutions the monarch is the referee and I've seen it with people like Juan Carlos absolutely you see it with Queen Margaret of Denmark and so on you see you see it with the sovereigns of the Netherlands and to have and the British monarchy is bigger than them it's the only Sako total monarchy that's left it's the only monarchy that practices full-colour the continental monarchies don't practice proper coronation they said they have oath-taking stars yes they don't have anointing I mean we are we are the last of the great medieval SACA DOTA monarchies of which a shadow survives that's too big just to be a symbol but but equally I am very aware and it's obvious why she did it because political intervention in an age when there is a lack of deference when there is an aggressive contempt for one social betters a sort of leveling levelling democracy is is difficult and dangerous yes I remember going what 22 years ago now I remember seeing you on TV after Diana had been killed I remember you being in fact I think you were on the very morning I was indeed I was the only person let me finish the story I was the only person in London with trousers appearing on television because everybody had been dragged out of their bed that time the monarchy look distinctly mortal Oh I mean collapsing I mean but in fact so general antimanic ism was actually the kind of order today things have been turning Blair's Tony Blair's patronage or putting his arm around the queers Alastair Campbell from God's sort of gently telling them how to survive yes but now I would say it appears a stronger than anything else anything else I mean where do you do you do you think it has a future you know I mean I've I can't help but feel that there is some in some some of its functions it's sort of almost actually impossibly increased in importance I you know if we're becoming more more fragmented and all the rest of it there are very few things actually basically holding the thing together I mean is it just come on aren't you aren't you being very highfalutin doesn't it just serve I provide terrific material for Twitter and and the the right-hand column of the Daily Mail which it does provide huge quantities but I think the reason that the monarchy looks stable there's nothing particular to do with the monarchy itself it's just that everything else has collapsed if you look at the division in which Parliament is held I mean firstly expenses scandal then the scandal of the deliberate reducing of the verdict of the referendum the behavior of the speaker the clownish nosov the speaker you know who looks like Ubu Gua wearing a black gown the the performance of easily the most incompetent premier we've ever had and the most undesirable leader of the Opposition and just and the again the questions over the behavior of the courts the collapse of respect for the Metropolitan Police on area after area after area yes I mean I find it so the monarchy I think the monarchy is sort of last man standing or last woman standing yes I think for me you've gone through those institutions as a civil service one rested since its integrated it seems to be it I feel now that my feelings about my country have to be held in my head as it were because of all of these things which once one did basically believe it I mean I close yeah I've also had two people when for example we had this referendum you know it despite all the hyperbole I think most people thought ultimately they will kind of like pasta too and I think people have been utterly shocked by the sheer level of betrayal actually I would say is that how you say I think it is absolutely true but I think what you've then got to do you to ask yourself how was this come about why is it that one act as it were brought the pillars of the temple tumbling down and I think my answer would be that the structure was already fundamentally rotten mmm both political parties first Blair with labor new labor and then the Conservatives under Cameron will completely hollowed out structures with minuscule memberships in which they had been taken over by a particular faction and it was a particular faction espousing a set of universal new liberal values and of course Cameron catastrophically Cameron Clegg saw Blair as the master politician I don't know whether you realize this and the Blair's book was passed around as gospel as Blair has as Blair Blair was referred to as the master and it's also very important to understand just how deliberately destructive New Labour was I mean fashionable people like Linda Khali's demolition of the notion of Britishness and that bizarre account by a poll historian of Poland of the British Isles Court and and so on would were held up within the civil service as required reading so you had a deliberate demolition of the notion of nationhood what we know about again about as it were rubbing people's noses in it either with open-ended immigration on the one hand or within the Tory party at the enforcement of gay marriage on the other these were all deliberate elite devices to say we're in command you lot don't matter you will do as you were told and you will shut up and and i think i think that what brexit has done has torn the veil from people's faces in other words I think the word absolute I think there were absolutely fundamental changes there before which we sort of didn't really notice I mean do you think how would therefore you characterize I mean I know that you there's no story you know I know you don't like maybe looking at the future and say oh this will happen that will happen but I don't at all no but this therefore it's an extraordinary time of our history it is I think it's the moment at which two things have happened I think the Constitution as it emerged from the Glorious Revolution is manifestly finished it stopped working you could argue equally that that notion of constitutional development from Magna Carta itself has also come to an end I mean you've got to ask the question how is it that broadly we've avoided revolution why have we avoided revolution because in England and we really should talk about the English Parliament and there's just got a few bells and whistles stuck on to it in England the position of those wanting a place in the some wanting admission to the political elite you know firstly the entrepreneur and the repent and the the rich outside the charm circle of the aristocracy and the gentry then the skilled worker then women and the whole thing every one of them didn't want to do what was the case in France or continental Europe you didn't want to tear down the existing structures you wanted a place in them so radicalism in England was a campaign for parliamentary representation you didn't want to destroy Parliament you wanted a place in it and I think that what's happened with the referendum is the first time that Parliament is consciously and deliberately and led by speaker and by its leading MPs consciously reversed the notion of representation and it seems to me to be an an act of unprecedented folly and you look at some of those involved there I'm supposedly quite serious people I don't think burgers and I used to think Dominic grieve was um but it's it's a sort of active institutional suicide mm-hmm and it as I said it calls it calls the home and again berkos behavior it calls the whole notion of unwritten Constitution into question but therefore I mean this and even the call for a second referendum if there is – which won't be a second reference would be a third or fourth referendum we've had – about Europe we've had one about Scotland we've had one about the electoral system at that point I'm afraid you then do have to define the status of referendum oh this isn't basically leading a central position where you know brick said maybe it's just lit a fuse you know essentially it's a much bigger deal I think it is I think a much bigger and I think that the real again the reason for the vote I mean there is there is now this extent and this is deeply unoriginal there's not an original observation at all there is clearly an enormous gulf between a particular liberal elite in which certain things are totally unsaleable but actually most people believe and much of the rest of the population not all the population but the very significant slice of it it's partly generational it's partly regional it's all sorts of things but bricks bricks eaters acted lies was a kind of acid bath or a burning lens the thing is about the liberal elite is that there is a there is a feeling still that they not only haven't learned any lessons from any of this they don't want time but they're doubling down of course of course I mean I think I think again you see one of the things that I think is extraordinary is with the loss of belief with the loss of religious belief certainly on the left political positions have become religious they're not arguments about human society there's statements about absolute values this means of course if you disagree with them you are not simply disagreeing this is not a debate in which evidence is adduced you are fundamentally with you exactly we are now treating political opinions as though they were creedal formulations which means to dissent from is heresy and the only way that you treat a heretic is the way Roger Scruton has been treated yes I mean it was extraordinary looking at the Times editorial Roger was accused anyway in one sense it made some concessions to him but then if you recall it also said he owed contrition work that's a religious war yes and what was it that he had to become right about first of all he had described the Islamic masses threatening Hungary as tribes well I think they actually are yeah if you actually looked at how their societies are organized so that's a question of fact an even more evident question of fact is the second thing he was accused of saying he was accused of saying and I have no idea whether this statement is true or not he was accused of saying that one of the reasons why social housing council housing has become contentious in Britain is because it is largely lived in by foreign asylum seekers whose social habits are radically different from those of the rest of the population now that's a statement of fact it is testable as to whether it is true or not The Times didn't say that it said merely saying that Caesar let me finish against social cohesion now I'm a believer going right back to the beginnings of this conversation on history but politics is partly about emotion but finally it has to be about evidence in fact if we do not have a politics that takes account and is based upon the actual realities of human behavior and our situation now we head for disaster we head for the world of a false fact and Plato's cave and the terrifying thing about this world of the liberal elite I think it's actually Plato's cave I think it's a false world it's a world of illusion passionately held illusion do you think as a conservative I believe in fact do you think now as opposed to maybe when you started your academic life for example do you think that the young people that you come across that you talk to whatever do they have a far more tenuous grasp of our of our story of there's no student most of them of no grasp at all unless they unless they happen to be I mean the ones that I really meet have a very good grasp because they're fans and they love the sort of things that I do but the general impression that I get is that the teaching of history as their I say the teaching of virtually every other subject now seems to be fact free it's their inculcated with opinions this received opinion isn't it this kind of experiencing I got I am a person in that sort of thing what do I feel but they any empathy empathy empathy empathy so as I was running because as opposed to infamy infinite organism I think those Williams were the teacher of the nation's history it has deteriorated teaching of history in what 30 40 but I think all the subjects have there is a shy partly it's how teachers are taught I mean the the terrible notion that you need a certificate of education the weight and I know lots and lots of people think that the way to improve education is to close all departments of Education there disasters what you want are teachers who are passionate about their subjects and can communicate them and also again there has been did in certainly in subjects like history there has been deliberate subversion what I regard as a proper way of teaching history there has been again at the influence of post-modernism the attack on fact the claim that everything is a matter of opinion no it's not again students are encouraged children really pupils are encouraged to write opinionated essays when they don't know anything isn't this happening really now with science too and I don't know it's sort of creeping in isn't it this sort of whole like it's certainly in things like climate change I mean there again it is terrifying you listen to allegedly significant scientists and they're making totally non-scientific statements because it's become a cuida belief and it's it's when you know what should be a hard science it becomes really a campaign for funding and campaign for political with specific forms of political action that contaminates it is no longer a scientific discipline it's yet another piece of political posturing do you just to finish off I mean do you now I mean do you what do you feel about but now I mean do you feel more optimistic given that we are talking about these changes that have been wrought by brexit do you think this is something that is will replenish and revive this country or do you think this is actually something that's going to final spasm you know what I don't know because I'm not a prophet I mean I think there are very different outcomes possible I think that the conscious attack on the idea of nationhood the deliberate denigration of British history which is very interesting this whole attempt at moving slavery to the center of the story what this is attempt to do is to say that British history is as corrupt as German history and of course the Holocaust has ceased to be useful now to the left as a moral reference point because they dislike Israel and there's now this very powerful flavor of pro-palestinian ISM pro is Lomb and anti-zionism so but also it's useless because it doesn't attack Britishness the Britishness is really the last uncontaminated nationalism to survive the Second World War because we didn't suffer the crisis of defeatist and therefore the great enterprise of the left is to destroy it and the attempt is using bricks and so the attempt is using slavery to say that British history is fundamentally corrupt it's of course an absurdity because a every other civilization and every other Empire practice did many of them on a much larger scale but the uniqueness of the British Empire is it destroyed it you know that and it's and it's fascinating that my own University Cambridge has jumped on this led of course by a Canadian who rejoices in the name of 2/pi say it should be stoop at bending the knee before these people the absurdity of it is of course Cambridge is the pioneer abolitionist University it's actually a vice chancellors essay that Li in the 1790s that leads to the first formulation of abolition in intellectual terms and then it's picked up by William Wilberforce of course who is a Tory but this doesn't fit the narrative no it is you want you want to sell flagellating narrative but I think this is profoundly dangerous and we are peculiarly vulnerable to it as we are to Brick's it because British identity and nationalism is a very peculiar one it's not about national dress we don't have one it's not about national music it's not about if you know burns and all that sort of boring stuff it was always about institutions yes about the sense of political continuity of the excellence of our politics of the of the quality of our law of the strength of our society and once you start attacking all of these you're actually destroying the fabric of social order it's not simply a political attack you were tearing apart the very fabric of a nation now it could be you know the best of all possible worlds bricks it if there was somebody who could lead and I don't think the fair out is the man if there was somebody who could produce a generous open welcoming as Britain always used to be it's still outstanding in its record of the absorption of minorities in the prevalence of your interracial marriage all of these things extreme London the most welcoming open society in the world and but there needs to be a formal notion I mean if the Aviva bricks it is to be addressed it happens which I think it not very unlikely if it actually happens there needs to be a politician who can do a Churchill on it yes in other words we need a politician who understands it who can formulate it in the language which touches which is comprehensible which embraces which involves and we have no body nobody at all there's a deafening silence or the stutter or the flicker of you know a shallow eyes going over an auto view on that no don't mean it's a rather depressing one but nevertheless a truthful one where can people come and see you by the way doing the tour where can they find out about oh I'm terrible I'm not even sure I've got a web page I'm a political knife thank you very very much for giving us so much time David and thank you very much for watching us so what you're saying is please do subscribe it's totally free you can just subscribe by pinging on that button there ok see you next time thank you very much

38 thoughts on “Dr. David Starkey – Uncut: Assaults on Brexit, British Identity & History I So What You're Saying Is

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  2. "…finally it has to be about evidence…"
    Something the modern western left is almost totally allergic to.
    Even with their banner cause of climate armageddon, they fail to remain within the boundaries of evidence.

  3. In my opinion the 2016 referendum effectively made Britain , for one day, and for one issue, a republic. This took Parliamentary soveriegnty and handed it to the people. Far from rubber stamping and Parliamentary policy, the referendum overturned it. The Problem now becomes Parliament attempting to reimpose its soveriegnty by ignoring the democratic will of the people.
    My question is? Is Parliament excersising absolute power instead of operating as the representative body on which has been up until now!

  4. I wonder what his thoughts are on the subjugation and subsequent attempted genocide (after the fact) of the Irish people. What are his thoughts on centuries of oppression. Time to get out of Ireland and leave us be.

  5. ok, I get what he is saying. Most of the goverment, most of the institutions and most of the media In spite of the wishes of the majority of individuals, have abadoned our cultural roots and seem to want to gamble all our futures on their ideoligical beliefs and their Utopian dreams! Let's see how that works out! It looks like The UK needs a new party who value our culture, who value the family unit, who value our communities, who value our religions and traditions and who value our nations!

  6. Liberal elites are the greatest danger not just to Britain but the World, they are entirely illiberal to any other view and are the major contributors to fake facts and news

  7. Great interview! I love listening to David Starkey, whether I agree with him or not. I always feel educated by his views and perspective and am encouraged to go away and do my own research with regards to what he says. I find him totally fascinating and respect him for speaking out about the changes that have occurred, which he has directly witnessed in this country. Recording his observations from his own perspective is exactly what an historian should do. It is only then that future historians can compare stories and glean an idea of what it was like to live in 20th and 21st century Britain.

  8. I too feel that the feelings I hold about my country have to be held in my head. All these so called libertarians and socialists have destroyed free speech. We even have the thought police these days.

  9. So lets see if I've got this right . We should leave the EU so King Henry can go off and shag Anne Bolyn and then chop her head iff when he's sick of her . How did that help the common man and what does it have to do with the fact that the EU has brought us ( ie all Europe ) peace and prosperity and that when we leave we will be worse off and a sizeable part of the UK ( Northern Ireland ) risks returning to the quasi civil war status that it suffered from for decades .

  10. He could go to Rome because the nationalised British Rail had reciprocal free travel agreements with its European counterparts.

  11. I am glad to see someone else that finds alastair cambel as obnoxious and obsequeous as I do .Well done sir.

  12. Absolutely Brilliant. Britain needs more men of this calibre. The students of history have big shoes to
    step into. Will they their feet be to small or to big for their boots?

  13. Finally – a truth teller. Every single thing Dr Starkey says is exactly right. Everything from the dumbing down of education ie: replacing facts with opinions to the eradication of religion giving way to absolute liberal ideas is so true.
    The sad thing is it's all deliberate, our country is in managed decline due to our governmemt signing us up to the New World Order.

  14. British identity went broke when the asymmetric devolution experiment began in the late 1990s. You cannot have 'British identity' when the Scots and Welsh have their own devolved institutions and are busy promoting their own identities. We need to work on a modern, inclusive English identity, get rid of the farce that is the now falsely named 'UK' Parliament, and stop the nonsense that promoting a failed 'British' identity has become. On the way, we need to jettison the Barnett Formula and West Lothian Question, which discriminate against every living soul in England.

  15. This is one historian we all need to listen to, especially on the liberal elites and their world of illusion. https://youtu.be/i8bECAHIgNQ?t=2368

  16. Interviewer sincerely struggles to articulate a complex thought, Dr Starky immediately grasps the gist and storms into consecutive brilliant monologues! Loved it when he said: "let me finish" and Peter instantly shuts up!

  17. But we are a Parliamentary democracy now, not a Monarchy David.
    Warped reality from a second rate historian.

  18. This would never be allowed on BBC or other UK MSM. Like Sir David Bellemy being booted off BBC for not agreeing with the hysteria of climate change and Carol Thatcher being removed due to an offscreen comment, yet Jo Brand and her comment is glossed over and she is allowed to continue.

  19. I am moving to the homeland – I feel called home – I am ethnically English and feel I need to be there for Brexit. We need to come back and support the motherland

  20. Very interesting. I am not used to hear the same analysis about Monarchy as my own. Should I get worried? It is anyway wonderful to hear views originating from a study of the longtime-reality and doing the equations all the way. His views may be questioned, but you have to know what you're talking about. He would be absolutely impossible in Sweden, anyone questioning the liberal-left view is labelled a right-wing populist.

  21. It's called New Culture Forum — well, didn't hear or see anything new and certainly didn't experience any culture — just two old comfortable blokes talking bollocks.

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