A taxpayer-funded academic who described Winston Churchill as a ‘white supremacist’ in a debate last night was today facing questions about why he still accepts public money despite claiming modern Britain is ‘based on racism’.
Professor Kehinde Andrews, a campaigner who is regularly wheeled out on TV debates to air his divisive views, used a debate at Churchill College Cambridge to brand the British Empire ‘far worse than the Nazis’.
The professor of black studies at Birmingham City University has previously branded ‘whiteness’ a ‘psychosis’, called for the overthrow of ‘genocidal’ capitalism and repeatedly compared Sir Winston Churchill to Adolf Hitler.
Professor Andrews believes that Britain’s prosperity is ‘largely produced off the economic system that extracts wealth by exploiting Africa and the underdeveloped world’.
Nonetheless, the 38-year-old, who lives in Birmingham with his wife, Nicole, a lecturer in Health and Social Care at Newman University, accepts that as an employee of a public university his ‘primary income’ comes from the state.
Tory MP Andrew Bridgen asked today: ‘Well if he holds those views why is he living off the public purse?’
The British Empire was branded ‘far worse than the Nazis’ during a controversial debate about Sir Winston Churchill’s (pictured) legacy last night
The MP for North West Leicestershire added: ‘I’m absolutely happy for people to have a debate and people can hold whatever views they want.
‘But if they read history and hope they will consult that history books and come to their own decision that Churchill was fundamental to the defeat of the Nazis.’
In yesterday’s online discussion held by Churchill College, Cambridge, Professor Andrews called the British Empire ‘worse than the Nazis’ and suggested WWII ‘would have ended the same day’ with or without Churchill’s leadership.
Speaking of Churchill, he said: ‘It’s almost like his been beatified, he’s a saintly figure who’s beyond reproach. But Churchill wasn’t even that popular at the time, he was never elected and after the war effort where he supposedly single-handedly lead the world against the Nazis he lost the election.
‘So this is a kind of historical re-placing of him back on his pedestal and the question you have to ask is why is that. It’s because he kind of is the perfect embodiment of white supremacy if you think about his politics, his ideas and what he did.
‘Why that has a mythic status is because that white supremacy is still the politics of the day. We like to pretend that things have changed and the logic of the British Empire and empires generally has changed and shifted beyond race, but that’s nonsense.’
He also belittled the former PM’s contribution to the country, saying: ‘Was it Churchill out there fighting the war? I’m pretty sure it wasn’t. I’m pretty sure he was at home.
‘I’m pretty sure that if Churchill wasn’t in the war it would have ended the same way.’
This is despite historians crediting Churchill’s leadership with overcoming Britain’s policy of appeasement towards Hitler and helping to persuade the USA to join the war.
Last night’s debate, entitled ‘The Racial Consequences of Mr Churchill’, was held as part of Churchill College’s year-long ‘inclusivity’ review.
The comments at the debate held at the college, named in honour of Churchill, were condemned as ‘execrable’ by the former leader’s grandson, Sir Nicholas Soames. The former Tory MP said: ‘I think Sir Winston’s reputation will withstand, with some ease, this sort of rant.
‘I do think it’s terribly disappointing that views like this are advanced at Churchill College.
‘While there is every justification for historians examining the Churchill story, it’s extraordinary that it should be seen in this way by a very limited audience.
‘I’m afraid to say I have nothing but contempt for what these people have said.’
The online discussion – held by Churchill College, Cambridge (pictured) – on ‘The Racial Consequences of Mr Churchill’ looked at his ‘backward’ views on empire and race and was held as part of a year-long ‘inclusivity’ review
Frank Furedi, emeritus professor of sociology at Kent University, also criticised the comments, saying: ‘The use of the Nazi metaphor is particularly squalid because [it suggests] what is seen as a moment of human evil that was quite unique in character is not as bad as what Britain had done in the past. It is a way of demeaning Britain’s past.
‘It is almost like you’ve got to come for Churchill because if you can destroy his reputation then the whole of Britain’s past can be undermined.’
Professor Andrews made headlines in 2018 when he claimed on Good Morning Britain that Churchill was a ‘clear racist’ in a heated debate in which Piers Morgan asked him: ‘Why do you live in a country that you loathe?’
He also compared the UK’s war-time Prime Minister to Nazi leader Hitler for his treatment of Indians when the country endured a famine in 1943.
The academic has written several books over the past five years including ‘Back to Black: Retelling Black Radicalism for the 21st Century’ and ‘Resisting Racism: Race, Inequality and the Black Supplementary School Movement’.
He has also written for publications on both sides of the Atlantic including the Guardian, Washington Post and New Statesman.
He has said the decision to build tributes like the Bomber Command Memorial was like ‘justifying terrorism’.
Kehinde Andrews has branded ‘whiteness’ a ‘psychosis’, called for the overthrow of ‘genocidal’ capitalism and repeatedly compared Sir Winston Churchill to Adolf Hitler
In August 2019 he appeared on GMB to argue that author Enid Blyton was not ‘worthy’ of the honour of a commemorative coin because ‘she was racist her books were racist’.
Last year, Professor Andrews criticised the singing of Rule, Britannia! and Land of Hope and Glory at the Last Night of the Proms.
He said: ‘Some of those songs, particularly those two, are racist propaganda. They celebrate the British Empire which killed tens of millions of people.’
Writing in the New Statesman about 2018’s Black History Month, he said: ‘If schools want to genuinely engage with black history then they can embed it into their teaching.
‘For example, rather than teaching the industrial revolution as a triumph of British engineering alone, teachers should link it to the enslavement and colonisation of Africa, which was essential to British history.
‘There is also nothing wrong with teaching the history of the rest of the world, which was just as pivotal to the development of Britain.’
Kehinde Andrews earned a PhD in sociology and cultural studies from the University of Birmingham in 2011 and is now a professor of black studies in the school of social sciences at Birmingham City University.
Professor Andrews lives in Birmingham with his wife, Nicole, a lecturer in Health and Social Care at Newman University
Churchill College’s website says Churchill ‘must not be mythologised as a man without significant flaws’ as ‘on race he was backward even in his day’.
Professor Priya Gopal, a fellow at the college, was chairman at yesterday’s meeting.
She accused Britain of a ‘national silence’, saying the debate was ‘precisely to bring a long-overdue balance to a heavily skewed national story that has preferred untrammelled glorification to a balanced assessment in the round’. She added: ‘Historians and scholars who don’t think history should be treated as a comfort blanket or a warm bath with candles have to constantly negotiate weaponised fragility and, quite frankly, a degree of cowardice.’
‘White Lives Don’t Matter’: How debate was also attended by professor accused of racism
Professor Priya Gopal
Professor Priya Gopal is a fellow at Churchill College Cambridge and staunch critic of the British Empire.
Professor Gopal, who was born in India, sparked anger last summer after tweeting ‘White Lives Don’t Matter. As white lives’.
A petition titled ‘Fire Cambridge Professor for Racism’ was also launched on change.org demanding that Professor Gopal be fired by the university for the comment.
The university stood by her after she said the comments were ‘very clearly speaking to a structure and ideology, not about people’.
She said that she had been misunderstood, and that she was clearly not attacking white people.
Professor Priya Gopal
Dr Madhusree Mukerjee
Journalist Dr Madhusree Mukerjee is also due to take part in tonight’s talk on Churchill, a free online event hosted by Churchill College Cambridge.
Her books include Churchill’s Secret War: The British Empire and the Ravaging of India During World War II.
Dr Madhusree Mukerjee
Dr Onyeka Nubia
Historian Dr Onyeka Nubia will also appear.
He has been credited with developing new strands of British history – including Africans in Ancient and Medieval England.
Dr Onyeka Nubia