National Trust accused of re-writing history to make it more politically correct | UK | News


He said: “The danger is to pretend that women had a role they didn’t or to pretend that the country was half black or something like this.

“What we’re doing now is to sort of make the past look like the present to legitimise it.

“That’s very dangerous. And it’s, generally speaking, bad history, bad scholarship.

“And I think it deprives the past of its excitement.

“The excitement of the past is not that it’s the same but that it’s different.”

The National Trust was criticised by visitors last year for covering up paintings and sculptures of men at a Northumberland home as part of a celebration of the role of women.

And in 2017, it reversed a decision banning volunteers from public facing duties if they refused to wear a gay pride badge at a Norfolk stately home, following an outcry.

Tudor historian Dr Starkey, famous for his Monarchy series on Channel 4, described it as “profoundly patronising” and “woke” to rewrite history as some might like it to have been.

The adjective, which means “alert to injustice in society, especially racism” was added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2017.

He said: “The real problem is that the fashion from the early 21st century has got absolutely nothing to do with the different values of the past.

“The great challenge of history isn’t to impose your own ‘woke’ values on the past. It’s to recognise that they had different values.

“That’s the only possible reason for studying history – that you engage in a kind of time tourism.

“And in just the same way now, because we’re woke, we recognise that other cultures have got their own values.

“You need to recognise that our own past has its own values.

“It seems to be profoundly patronising and ‘woke’ to try to impose your values on the past.”

His comments come as universities continue to face claims that they are inhibiting free speech in order to please politically correct students.

Last year, student leader Emily Dawes resigned after saying a mural dedicated to soldiers in the First World War should be painted over.

The Union president at Southampton University caused a furore after pledging to remove the “mural of white men”, which captured an unknown student receiving a degree.

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