The BBC should surely be praised rather than blamed for inviting David Starkey to appear on their shows. As well as being its token non-leftist, his credentials as a historian can hardly be doubted.
In response to fellow Newsnight panellist Dreda Say Mitchell, who celebrated the rise of rap as a teaching tool, Starkey might have pointed out the (corresponding) decline in the number of children taking GCSE history.
Given how shallow (and politically correct) the debate on the recent riots has been, the perspective of a premodern historian should be welcomed.
What a sad comment on the state of academe that 100 colleagues should gang up and write to the nation's leading higher education journal suggesting that the BBC "think carefully before they next invite Starkey to comment" on such matters. In their ad hominem attack, they make no attempt to contribute to a debate that is manifestly in need of deepening and broadening rather than restricting.
Edward Chaney, Faculty of Media, Arts and Society, Southampton Solent University