If ever a man has been demonised for simply telling the truth, that man was the late Rt Hon Enoch Powell MP. His famous speech to a Birmingham Conservative Political Centre meeting in April 1968 still resonates across the country like a death knell that haunted him until his dying day. It cost him his ministerial position and any future in Edward Heath’s Tory party.
Everyone has heard of Powell speaking of “Rivers of Blood”; few know why he chose those words, or in what context. Even fewer have actually read his whole speech. If you do, you will see that he was not encouraging racial violence or intercommunal strife, he was warning of its dangers, predicting it could happen and seeking ways to avoid it. In his first few words, he spoke of statesmanship being “to provide against preventable evils”.
So what were his well remembered, fatal words, referring to? Being a professor of the ancient classics (from 25 years of age) he literally quoted Virgil’s epic poem The Aeneid, repeating the Sybil’s prophecy concerning Ancient Rome’s fate, which stated “I see the river Tiber foaming with much blood”. Like the original prophecy for Rome, his words were a warning for Britain’s people of all races and cultures, not a wish. What we now call “the liberal elite” (yes, they existed even then) ignored the warning and pounced on those few words. It was the beginning of what we now know as “political correctness”. The death of truth, in favour of “not giving offence”.
When he used words such as “blacks” (moving into certain areas), he only did so when quoting directly what constituents were saying TO HIM, when they described living in culturally and racially mixed communities as “feeling like strangers in their own country”. He saw how such sentiments represent the seeds of potential conflict and was horrified. He foresaw segregation, not integration. Whether we like it or not, those sentiments resonate even louder in large parts of Britain today.
His answer was to stop all immigration and encourage as much voluntary “maximum outflow” as possible. Now we can argue over whether his remedies were practical or right, but we cannot deny he identified a long term problem that no mainstream politician has been willing to address ever since he was vilified for doing so.
In 1968, immigration levels were in their infancy, concentrated in certain areas, with indigenous Britons moving out and foreign immigrants moving in. Migration Watch UK tell us that in the year ending 2016, net migration into Britain was a staggering 248,000 in one year. Britain has seen the biggest increase in population ever (and rising), thanks to Blair’s “open door” immigration policy and births to parents of foreign origin jointly accounting for 85 per cent of UK population growth since 2000.
If UK governments had encouraged integration, instead of “multiculturalism”, we wouldn’t face the clash of cultures Powell foresaw. Governments didn’t cure the problem, they ran from it. If we’d controlled immigration, banned forced marriages, banned female genital mutilation, banned Sharia courts and stopped “honour killings”, whilst insisting on the primacy of UK law, which protects the rights of ALL, we wouldn’t be where we are now. We would be a diverse but united country, not a culturally divided one. If only we’d acted on Powell's warnings. If only ... if only.
The all too recent terror attacks carried out by UK nationals (or residents) of foreign origin and the resultant revenge attacks on Muslims have merely evidenced the accuracy of Powell’s nightmare vision, beyond anything he could have imagined. Fear and anger stalk large areas of Britain’s cities, for the innocents in both the indigenous communities and those of largely foreign origin. It is that climate of fear on which extremism in both communities feeds. It is exactly what Powell warned of and tried to avoid. So much for the “caring logic” of the “liberal elite” who condemned him.
Powell said, “It is like watching a nation busily engaged in heaping up its own funeral pyre.” How true that has turned out to be? He also warned that “people are disposed to mistake predicting troubles for causing troubles”. They were and he was crucified for pointing it out. Isn’t it about time the memory of this man was redeemed? All he did wrong was tell an unpalatable truth for those of a more squeamish disposition. The man should be honoured, not condemned. HE WAS RIGHT.
Taken for a hell of a ride
It is normally customary for politicians to at least wait until they are actually IN POWER before breaking any election promises. That is, unless your name happens to be Jeremy Corbyn. With just eight weeks gone since the General Election, he’s just broken a biggie.
Those of you who are in the political equivalent of the train spotting class will join me in remembering that his string of promises (read bribes?) to Britain’s students appears to have had a massive impact on their voting intentions. So much so, that social media revealed that many of them admitted voting more than once (illegal, but hey, what the hell!).
Not surprising really. Any student thinking a potential prime minister is going to write off their existing student loan debt is liable to give him a vote (or two), now aren’t they? Jeremy now claims he made no such promise, because he wasn’t aware how much it would cost. Really? (If true, it’s a pity he didn't mention that BEFORE the election).
I’ll enlighten him. The estimated cost is over £100 billion. The UK currently spends £29 billion on transport, £46 billion on defence and £86 billion on education, which puts the staggering cost in perspective. He actually promised to “deal with it” (the existing student debt). Now what does that say to you?
If a potential prime minister doesn’t know the cost of something he is promising “to deal with” then he is unfit for office. If he does know, but also believes he can’t afford it, that makes him even more unfit for office. The students were taken for a hell of a ride.
A DAY IN THIS LIFE
The new film about the Second World War Dunkirk evacuation has won high critical acclaim, apart from one American critic who observed the film did not have “enough women or actors of colour in it”. Pardon? In my recollection, neither did the actual evacuation of defeated British and French troops. He might also have noticed there were no Yanks in it either. What a plonker!
Every week this paper seems to reveal another village where water supply is nil, or limited, for days (and in some cases weeks) on end. Is it my imagination, or is it that since water was brilliantly piped from Turkey, in practice, there is less of it? If so, where the hell is it going?
Another knee jerk?
The ban on laptops and other electronic devices being carried into aircraft cabins on flights from Turkey to the UK reportedly might be lifted. Imposed by UK authorities in March, the USA has just lifted their similar ban. A spokesman for the UK Minister responsible declined to comment on “leaks or reports”. If it is lifted, what a disruptive fuss about nothing. What was it all about? Another case of the UK lamely following the USA’s every knee jerk?
Well said Hulya Hasan (last week’s letters) in defence of a local TRNC farmer, facing complaints from neighbouring residents about “farm smells”. Why move near a farm and then complain? Good point. It reminds me of when I was an MP. The flight path to Manchester airport crossed the north of my constituency. Folk would move to a property right under it and then turn up at my advice centre complaining about aircraft noise! I never cease to be amazed.
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