David Starkey brands Alex Salmond a 'Caledonian Hitler'
Historian courts controversy by saying Führer was 'more democratically elected' than Scottish leader
IF RULE number one in the schoolboy's guide to public debating is "never compare people to Hitler", then it seems no one told David Starkey. The Cambridge historian and renowned controversialist has done exactly that, saying Scottish first minister Alex Salmond is basically just the Führer in disguise.
"If you think about it, Alex Salmond is a democratic Caledonian Hitler," said Starkey, best known for his BBC series about Henry VIII, Mind of a Tyrant. "Although some would say Hitler was more democratically elected." He added: "[For Salmond] the English, like the Jews, are everywhere."
The academic's comments came during a debate last night on British history teaching in schools which was hosted by the think tank Bow Group, Huffington Post UK reports. Starkey is a known opponent of Scottish independence and has been labelled as 'fiercely right wing' by his critics.
It is not the first time the 67-year-old has set the blogosphere alight with his public comments. The BBC received 700 complaints last August when Starkey appeared to blame multiculturalism for the spate of riots that erupted across Britain, declaring on Newsnight that "the whites have become black".
On that occasion, Starkey said that Enoch Powell's infamous 'Rivers of Blood' speech about race relations had come true. Last night, the historian lamented that the speech's legacy had meant it was "no longer" possible to talk about nationalism rationally. He warned: "English national identity is too important to be left to the loons of the BNP and the EDL."
Starkey's comparison of Salmond with Hitler received a hostile reception online today. The historian's name was soon trending on Twitter while Alex Massie of The Spectator, despite the magazine's strong opposition to Scottish independence, blogged: "Even if one accepted the general thrust of Starkey's remarks... there are ways of making this argument that do not distract attention from the argument, or, and this is worth noting, make you seem a fool."
Massie concluded that rather than getting angry, it was "better to accept that Starkey's area of specialty these days is simply being Starkey".