David Starkey: Rochdale sex ring is Pakistani 'cultural norm'
Historian courts yet more controversy calling for ethnic minorities to be made 'English citizens'
TV HISTORIAN David Starkey yesterday described the largely Pakistani gang jailed on Tuesday for sexually exploiting young girls as "acting within their cultural norms". The Daily Telegraph reports that Starkey said "nobody ever explained" to the men that women could not be treated in this way.
Speaking at a conference for over 100 private school headteachers in Brighton, the historian said the gang's actions were evidence of "what happens when [a country like Britain] has no sense of common identity".
He called on schools to teach English history to ethnic minorities so that "they are ... first and foremost English citizens and English men." Starkey suggested that schools teach pupils the origins of modern feminism and the emancipation of women as part of English history.
"If you want to look at what happens when you have no sense of common identity, look at Rochdale and events in Rochdale, where you have groups that are absolutely and mutually uncomprehending.
"Those men were acting within their own cultural norms. Nobody ever explained to them that the history of women in Britain was once rather similar to that in Pakistan and it had changed."
In the past year, Starkey has made a number of controversial interventions regarding race and nationality. Last summer, he responded to a question about the cause of the English rioting by saying: "What has happened is that a substantial section of the chavs... have become black. The whites have become black. A particular sort of violent, destructive, nihilistic gangster culture has become the fashion."
Last month the historian came under fire for comparing Scottish National Party leader Alex Salmon to Hitler. "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."