Remembrance Sunday is now a 'crazy religious ritual' dominated by 'poppy fascism', says David Starkey

Christopher Hope
David Starkey - © Eddie Mulholland

Remembrance Sunday has become a "crazy religious ritual" which wrongly turns soldiers into either "victims or heroes", television historian David Starkey has said.

Speaking to Chopper's Election Podcast, Mr Starkey attacked what he described as "poppy fascism" which requires people to demonstrate that they are remembering Britain's war dead.

He said that acts of remembrance had "become a crazy religious ritual. It's become abstracted from reality. There is what we call poppy fascism, we're both suffering from it. The absolute requirement to do it.

"It's also associated again with something else: we’re turning soldiers into either victims or heroes, and the two sort of uneasily shift around each other. They’re neither. 

"Say if you have mass war and conscription, today's soldiers are volunteers. They are doing it usually because they like it, and they get tremendously excited about it. And many of them just enjoy killing and that’s very useful."

Mr Starkey, a constitutional expert, also took aim at today's politicians saying that many were not good enough to run the country and said MPs should no longer be paid to stop them getting "above their station" and defying the Government over Brexit.

Chris Hope and David Starkey  Credit: Eddie Mulholland 

He attacked the Left for using offence at inadvertent racist comments to shut down online debate like "the Grand Inquisitor" and said adults were "fools" for taking seriously the environmental warnings from the Swedish teenage activist Greta Thunberg.

Mr Starkey said it was "frankly mad" that politicians like former Environment secretary Michael Gove prostrated themselves before Miss Thunberg when she warned about threats to the environment.

He said: "The Middle Ages is filled with child saints and intelligent adult people like Michael Gove, prostrating themselves before them ... God speaks through the mouths of babes and sucklings ... and it is frankly mad."

Adults were "fools for treating her seriously. But you see, it also goes along with the sentimentality, it goes along with Diana-fication, it goes along with putting little teddy bears on war memorials. But again, you see, this is also mediaeval: offering up gifts at the shrine."

Mr Starkey said he despaired of modern politicians and pointed to "the 'on the whole' very poor quality of people standing for parliament. "It means that our executive, the Cabinet is generally speaking, spectacularly weak at administrative and intellectual skills - look [at] both front benches frankly. 

"The Labour frontbench is indescribable. I mean, the idea of [Liberal Democrat leader] Jo Swinson as Prime Minister for Heaven's sake, you could imagine her running a rather preachy primary school."

Mr Starkey attacked Remain-supporting MPs for obstructing the work of the Government in the last Parliament, saying that they "stand on a party manifesto and they are not elected as individuals".

Mr Starkey was scornful of Theresa May, the former Prime Minister, describing her as being "like a dose of ice cold water poured over enthusiasm, she is a kind of permanent vacuum - an utter emptiness".  Credit: Reuters 

He said: "You cannot have an MP parading 'I am a free thinking representative and have democracy'. I'm sorry. It doesn't work like that... "They are the rules of Parliament itself, that give the Government with a clear parliamentary majority control over the parliamentary agenda. 

"They've got above their station, and I blame paying MPs. I absolutely blame paying MPs, because this gives them the notion they've got a job. MPs don’t have a job.

"The backbench MP is the stooge. Traditionally you were in the Bar, you were employed in business, you were a trade union activist or whatever. And you turned up and you voted as your party tells them to." Mr Starkey warned Tory leader Boris Johnson against trying to modernise his party. He said: "The whole preposterous notion of Tory modernisation was to make the Tory party the party of preference for readers of The Guardian. 

"This is an idea so stupid that I'm afraid you have to use a very strong word and say it is ****ing stupid. And it doesn't work, and also it's unhistorical."

Mr Starkey said it was  "by no means clear that Brexit will happen. So I'm afraid history may well record this as, a triumphant beginning, an abortion, an accident. We don't know, until it's done".

Mr Starkey was scornful of Theresa May, the former Prime Minister, describing her as being "like a dose of ice cold water poured over enthusiasm, she is a kind of permanent vacuum - an utter emptiness".

Mr Starkey also criticised the Left for using "racism" as "the absolute test of moral failure". He said: "Racism now becomes the equivalent of original sin, and also the way that the Left pursues language. It behaves, you know, like a Grand Inquisitor.  "

If you use minutely the wrong word you are burned alive on Twitter. And  that is a form of religious passion."

You can listen to the full interview with David Starkey on Chopper's Election Podcast for free at https://art19.com/shows/ chopper/

---Watch the latest videos from Yahoo UK---