If David Starkey Is Racist Then So Is Everybody

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Driving back from my holiday in Wales, yesterday, I realised what a lucky escape I’d had. As I exited the hills and finally got my mobile phone reception back, there was an old message from Friday inviting me to appear on that evening’s Newsnight to talk about the riots. So it could have been me that fell into the BBC’s “raaaacist” trap instead of poor old David Starkey.

And make no mistake it was a trap. Starkey’s debating opponent was Owen Jones, the BBC’s new pet angry young socialist whose default position is perpetual umbrage and righteous rage on behalf of the poor, working class, oppressed and – since Friday, apparently – black people. It’s a cheap trick but one that goes down very well at the BBC, which is why they have Jones back so often. What it achieves, while cleverly avoiding the need for debate on facts (never the liberal-Left’s strong point), is to imply that anyone on the right is evil, selfish, bullying, wrong or – that ne plus ultra of Lefty insults – raaaacist.

In his brilliant analysis of the episode, Toby Young mentioned one of Jones’s weaselly, disingenuous interventions:

He then went on to make an almost equally controversial observation about the Labour MP for Tottenham. “Listen to David Lammy, an archetypical successful black man,” he said. “If you turned the screen off so you were listening to him on radio you’d think he was white.”

Owen Jones leapt on this: “You said David Lammy when you heard him sounded white and what you meant by that is that white people equals respectable.”

This is classic Owen Jones, classic BBC. Note that what Starkey is saying here is actually pretty reasonabble. If you listened to David Lammy on the radio you could indeed very easily think that his educated, non-ethnically identifiable (and mildly effete) speaking voice belonged to a white person rather than a black person. But in Jones’s world – and that of his puppetmaster the BBC – the truth in these matters is no defence.

Oh the sanctimoniousness with which the Twitterati piled in!

Here’s the BBC’s Robert Peston:

David Starkey’s nasty ignorance is best ignored, not worthy of comment or debate – though I fear there will be a media feeding frenzy

Here’s that model of probity Piers Morgan:

RIP David Starkey’s TV career. And good riddance. Racist idiot. #Newsnight

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