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Controversial Historian Neil Oliver Steps Down From NTS Role

The controversial historian Neil Oliver is to step down from his role at the National Trust for Scotland in September after becoming embroiled in a row on Twitter.

The spat came about as he praised David Starkey, who made racist comments. Starkey told the rightwing commentator Darren Grimes that “slavery was not genocide, otherwise there wouldn’t be so many damn blacks in Africa or in Britain would there? You know, an awful lot of them survived.”

The horrific comments saw Starkey dropped by his publisher HarperCollins and Universities that he worked for sought to distance themselves as well. He also received condemnation from Sajid Javid, the former Chancellor of the Exchequer described the comments as “racist” and “a reminder of the appalling views that still exist” in Britain. 

Mr Oliver had tweeted to Darren Grimes of David Starkey: “Tell him I love him, by all means.” He also went on to like a Twitter post about refusing to take the knee in support of Black Lives Matters.

Neil Oliver has proven to be a controversial appointment as President of NTS with his extremely outspoken anti-independence views which included describing former First Minister Alex Salmond as a “round, wrecking ball of a man, shaped only to do damage” and claiming that the prospect of a second independence referendum referendum was a “cancerous presence”.

He has also been criticised previously for his perceived airbrushing of the Highland Clearances, claiming Scots left for new adventure in New Zealand and also saying previously that “In New Zealand I have finally put enough distance between myself and the SNP.”

The National Trust for Scotland is a charity that relies on public donations and it is increasingly clear that alienating over half of the Scottish population in this way is not a good look. It is to be hoped that their next President will be a less divisive character.

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