On migration, my adversary Simon Schama doesn’t even have an argument

Sooner or later, in this trade, one runs out of television historians to antagonise. I am doggedly working my way through the pack — and I don’t think any of the really big ones are left. I began by annoying Mary Beard and then swiftly moved on to David Starkey. Some time passed but eventually I found an opportunity to irritate Simon Schama, on BBC’s Question Time last week. He got very angry and his hands started waving all over the place. Someone on a social media site said he looked like a Thunder-birds puppet controlled by a person with Parkinson’s disease, which is a little cruel, I suppose. Simon ended a splenetic diatribe by calling me ‘suburban’, which raised a few eyebrows and indeed the accusation of snobbery. I do not mind being called suburban, even if I have never lived in the suburbs and I am being called it by someone who actually does (Westchester, in New York State, since you asked).

There are many worse things you can call a chap.