Monday, 15 June 2015


On internet forums and comments there is a thing called 'Godwin's law', which states that
as an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1
You can see this quite often in places like Comment is Free on the Guardian, especially in threads relating to Scottish politics.

Generally speaking it will take a few posts before an instance of Godwin's Law occurs.  Yesterday, however, Dr David Starkey broke the world record by making some observations about the SNP in an interview with the Sunday Times that were themselves an instance of Godwin's Law before we even got as far as the comments.

Dr Starkey is a specialist in constitutional history and is probably best known for his several TV series on the Tudors and his appearances on the BBC's Question Time.  He has a well-known dislike for Scotland and the Scots, having described it as a 'feeble little country' and Robert Burns as 'a deeply boring provincial poet'.  His remarks therefore, while offensive, were not entirely surprising.

Dr Starkey was interviewed by Sky News following publication of the interview, where he was asked whether he was asked whether he was sorry for the offence he caused.  He was not, and went on to compound the offence.

One of his more extreme remarks was
They are nothing compared with the Scottish Nationalist Party, which has seized control of a whole country and is pushing this kind of radical agenda.
Apparently getting 50% of the electorate to vote for you now constitutes 'seizing control' of a country.  Who knew?

When challenged on this he went on to say
Lots of people have voted for very unpleasant leaders, I shan't mention the word Hitler. Democracy doesn't always get it right.
Run that one past me again? 'Democracy doesn't always get it right?'  Isn't that rather an ironic thing to say, and from a constitutional historian too.  Apparently in Dr Starkey's world democracy is only democracy when it accords with his opinion on the 'correct' result.  Well, there's only one way to guarantee that, and that's a dictatorship.  Now if only I could come up with an example...

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