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