Tag Archives: David Starkey


Dear subtext,

Inspired by your piece on David Starkey’s prompt removal from Lancaster’s Honorary Degree list, I had a look at some of the other members. While I only used Google and Wikipedia, there seem to be at least two figures of note. One faces historical child sex abuse allegations and the other had endorsed a far-right political party (among other fascistic career links) within the same decade that they were honoured by the university.

I’m not suggesting that these figures be necessarily removed, however, it is likely that any potential full senate of Lancaster University figures reviewing honorary degree holders would have access to greater records (as well as the reason for their recognition) than a student with a laptop. Perhaps a proper assessment is required by the university to avoid issues in the future.

S. Dillane


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Roll of (Dis)Honour

So, vale Dr David Starkey. Barely a week after subtext 194 hit virtual newsstands, the not-so-good doctor was expounding his take on the history of slavery – a topic on which, as a monarchical historian with an emphasis on the Tudor period, he was no doubt the most pre-eminent expert that the YouTube show Reasoned could find. Cue an angry response, and hurried efforts to disown the man once called the rudest man in Britain by no less a renowned bastion of civility than the Daily Mail.

A little under a month later, on 24 July, our own institution announced in a press release that it had revoked Dr Starkey’s 2004 honorary degree. Many will be happy, but we here in the subtext warehouse remain sticklers for proper process. Surely the final decision on revoking a degree should have been taken by the full Senate, not a hurriedly-convened huddle of senior managers?

The press release states that Dr Starkey could no longer be regarded as an appropriate role model for current and future students of Lancaster. This is curious, given that the university roll of honour continues to list one Sir Cyril Smith MBE DL, awarded an LLD (Honoris Causa) in 1993, following seven years’ service as our Deputy Pro-Chancellor between 1978 and 1985. Could this be the same Cyril Smith who, after his death, was found to have been a prolific abuser of children?

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