The controversial historian, David Starkey, has managed to unite Scotland’s political parties in outrage after he compared SNP leader and Scottish first minister Alex Salmond to Hitler.
According to the Huffington Post, Starkey provoked gasps at an event hosted by the Bow Group in a House of Commons committee room on Wednesday when he declared:
“If you think about it, Alex Salmond is a democratic Caledonian Hitler, although some would say Hitler was more democratically elected.
“[For him] the English, like the Jews, are everywhere.”
Confirming the comparison was made, Nic Conner, a member of the Bow Group Council who was at the event, said:
“Dr Starkey began by questioning the myth that Alex Salmond is one of the greatest political leaders of our time when what he has done is a trick, tapping into the idea of a common enemy, in this case the English.
“He compared this, somewhat unfortunately, to Hitler.”
It’s not the first time Starkey has courted controversy in this way, having used an appearance in 2009 on Question Time to dub Scotland “a feeble little nation”.
In a country in which unity between the political parties is a rare occurrence, Starkey’s comments have had the effect of uniting Scotland’s main political parties in a way not seen for some time.
For the first minister, a spokesman responded:
“This offensive nonsense is actually an insult to Scotland and to the people of Scotland.
“David Starkey is getting dafter and crankier with every passing day. His litany of offensive comments are designed only to provoke outrage and thankfully England is blessed with far better historians than him.”
Meanwhile, Scottish Labour’s business manager at Holyrood, Paul Martin, argued:
“These comments are uncalled for and have no place in any political discourse.
“These are just the latest in a series of wayward ramblings from David Starkey about politics and wider public life which smack of attention-seeking and have left him thoroughly discredited.
“To be honest, I would no sooner ask his advice on matters of state than I would my cat on matters of dentistry.”
Jackson Carlow, deputy leader of the Scottish Conservatives, continued by declaring:
“This is a man who makes his living by making insults and building up his own notoriety. Every time he opens his mouth he causes offence to someone.”
With the leader of the Scottish Lib Dems Willie Rennie warning:
“If this is the sort of trash he is going to serve up, then broadcasters in particular should make sure they don’t put him on any TV programmes from now on. He can’t be taken seriously as any sort of academic.”
Scottish Green Party co-convenor Patrick Harvie went on to conclude:
“Starkey’s latest infantile comments are among the most absurd I’ve ever heard – and I’ve sat through his Question Time performances.
“Most people know that I’m no great pal of Alex Salmond, but Scotland’s national identity has always been inclusive and multicultural, and I believe that the first minister is proud of that, just as we all should be.”
It is not the first time, however, that Salmond has been compared unfavourably to some pretty vile leader leaders.
In January, the BBC received several hundred complaints after Jeremy Paxman compared the SNP leader to Robert Mugabe whilst in the same month, Glasgow South MP, Labour’s Tom Harris, was forced to stand down as the party’s “Twitter Czar” after he also posted a video on the internet making a comparison between Salmond and Hitler.