Saturday, 25 April 2009

David Starkey on Question Time

I wasn't going to comment on this, but as it was aired on the news last night, I might as well.

Dr Starkey, an expert on the Tudors, has managed to carve himself a niche as a celebrity historian. He has supplemented this income by being deliberately inflammatory on a number of subjects, but often about Scotland, Wales and Ireland on current affairs programmes. We should perhaps not take these comments in isolation however. He has expressed strong views on politics and politicians in much the same way that he spoke about Scotland.

The unfortunate thing for Dr Starkey, is the more he does it, the more he becomes a caricature of himself. Although many have been predictably outraged by his comments, personally, I find them rather dull. In reality, if this kind of thing, combined with his periodically subjective telling of history, is all that he has to offer, then the media should seriously consider whether he deserves the platform that he appears to enjoy so much.

It is perhaps a shame for Dr Starkey that he is forced to occupy the 21st century instead of the Tudor era that so fixates him, although if he behaved the way then, as he does now, I doubt he'd last long.

In reality, Dr Starkey is an opinionated little man with little to offer us but his condescension. His comments do nothing to diminish Scotland, or us as Scots. The dynasty that he admires so much gave little to the world. The same cannot be said of Scotland.


Scottish Unionist said...

Your last two paragraphs had me laughing out loud. Miaow! ;-)

Jim said...

Thanks SU!


The Aberdonian said...

Starkey has been on the "circuit" for a few years now. Whilst I find the Tudors interesting, I think they have been done to death along with Georgian period drama.

As you note, the Tudor dynasty for its fame did not really achieve much. Despite Hal's much vaunted break with Rome, it tends to be forgotten in these isles it is not exactly unique. The Scandanavian kingdoms were introducing the reformation at around the same time. There are of course claims about Hal helping develop the navy. But such supporters tend to ignore that Scotland had developed a not modest navy during the same period under James IV.

To be honest when comparing James and his brother-in-law (and nemisis) James had the bigger talent and the smaller of the two egos. Henry was a man of war. James left us Aberdeen University with its oldest chair of medicine in these isles/English-speaking world and the Royal College of Surgeons.

Maybe Dr Starkey should do a comparison of the two.