Hurrah for Enoch Powell

The leading voice in Britain denouncing the savage treatment of the Kenyan prisoners at the time was Enoch Powell, the supposed racist.

57 thoughts on “Hurrah for Enoch Powell”

  1. He’s still a racist because PaulB says he is. And Luis agrees, and he is a second generation immigrant so he must be right.

  2. The obvious answer being that he wasn’t a racist, but has just been outrageously smeared by juvenile lefties for 40 years.

    A clue would have been learning Urdu so he could communicate with his new constituents. One thing racists and multiculturalists certainly have in common is a stupendous ignorance of other languages and cultures.

  3. Sectarian maybe? I seem to remember reading the speech and thinking it was concerned with people from other religions not integrating. I think the rascists and PC crowd jumped on it out of context. Was born years after so don’t have a clue

  4. Rob,
    “A clue would have been learning Urdu so he could communicate with his new constituents.”

    According to Wikipedia, he learnt Urdu to further his then ambition of becoming Viceroy of India. He also learnt Latin and ancient Greek – so I’m not sure he necessarily learnt languages to communicate.

    About the only thing he seems to have been consistent about is suspicion/dislike of America.

  5. @ Luke
    If I had wanted in 1930 to become Viceroy of India I should have studied Hindi rather than Urdu and should not have regarded Professorship of Greek in Sydney as a stepping-stone. I should have entered politics or the Foreign Office rather than staying at Cambridge.
    Simon Heffer’s claims lack plausibility

  6. Urdu was the Lingua Franca of the British Indian Army, largely because we recruited from the so-called ‘martial races’ to be found largely in the north west of the sub-continent. In that context learning Urdu makes more sense than learning Hindustani, though I believe Powell was fluent in both. He could speak 14 languages. He also was the only man to rise from Private to Brigadier in the Second World War.

    Apart from that, he was right, wasn’t he? The 7/7 bombings seem to be primary evidence in favour of his comment “like the Roman, I see the Tiber foaming with blood”

  7. It all depends what definition of “racist” you’re using, which is why we ought to track backwards and examine the concepts it is based on until agreement is reached (as advised e.g. by David Hume’s philosophy), but since that would lead to clarity and understanding, it is something we never do.

  8. Apart from that, he was right, wasn’t he? The 7/7 bombings seem to be primary evidence in favour of his comment “like the Roman, I see the Tiber foaming with blood”

    Really? If anything, the Oldham riots seems much more apposite.

  9. Kevin: I suggest you speak for yourself.

    In many ways I admire Powell. I disagree profoundly with his imperialist perspective, but as an analyst of international politics he was usually spot on. I recall listening to him on Desert Island Discs and being moved by his answer to a question about how he’d like to be remembered “I should like to have been killed in the war”.

    It’s not true that Powell was the leading voice against the Hola massacre, but he did make an outstanding speech against it in the commons, in opposition to apologists from his own party, in a debate initiated by Dingle Foot (Michael Foot’s elder brother). (The speech was reprinted not long ago in the New Statesman.)

    However, his Rivers of Blood speech was certainly racist – Heseltine, Heath, and newspapers including The Times all said so. I can believe that it might not have occurred to him that few of his listeners would understand the nuances of his reference to Aeneid, but he must have realised that the speech would appeal to the sort of racist he opposed in his Hola speech.

    As to whether he was himself a racist himself, reluctantly I would say yes. It’s clear that he thought Negro immigrants (I use his word) fundamentally different to the white population – he was concerned as much about immigrant descendants as the immigrants themselves. Since he thought Britain should rule the world, it’s hard to interpret this other than as a belief in the superiority of white Britons, including the descendants of white immigrants, to non-white Britons.

    There’s no reason of course why a racist should not believe in treating black people decently. There are many unambiguous examples from the USA.

    Encouragingly, Powell has been proved completely wrong in his prediction of a fundamental racial incompatibility. For most people, once cultural differences become unimportant, race doesn’t matter.

  10. I have no view on Powell because I don’t know the facts but:

    1. it would really not be surprising that somebody from Powell’s generation would be racist, in the “believing whites are superior” sense of the word
    2. but being racist in that sense is quite compatible with denouncing mistreatment of Kenyans etc. A gentlemen should treat his inferiors with consideration and look out for the welfare, sort of thing.

  11. I thought exactly this whilst reading the idiot Monbiot this morning on the train. Well done Tim.

    People are complex, they can be racist and not at the same time. Peopel are queer.

    Oh and I think I’m right in saying Powell though India far superior to Britain and he rather wanted Britain to rule as opposed to America.

  12. Weetabix>

    “Apart from that, he was right, wasn’t he? The 7/7 bombings seem to be primary evidence in favour of his comment “like the Roman, I see the Tiber foaming with blood””

    Bizarre. If he were still with us today Powell would be delighted to have been proven wrong. There’s no question that his theory has simply been shown by the passage of time to be untrue, just like, say, Malthus. Of course that doesn’t stop idiots trotting out the same arguments again and again despite their self-evident fallacy.

    If you think the Rivers of Blood speech referred to an isolated incident of terrorism rather than the clearly predicted race-based civil war, then you’re either classically-illiterate or wilfully blind.

  13. @ Sebastian Weetabix
    Yes, but not of the political class, most of whom seem to have been the Indian equivalent of Guardianistas – rich, educated left-wingers who spoke in the name of the poor while living in luxury.
    To claim that he learnt the lingua franca of the Indian Army in order to become Viceroy would suggest that he was planning a Gaddafi-style coup (he knew Julius Caesar had to fight a civil war) in India while remaining nominally loyal to King George.

  14. “According to Wikipedia, he learnt Urdu to further his then ambition of becoming Viceroy of India.” That proposition is so implausible that I wouldn’t be surprised if it started as a joke and then became a leftie factoid.

  15. It’s rather tiresome, this insistence of some commentators here of imputing everything they disapprove of to the left. I’ve no idea whether the wikipedia claim is true or not, but the citation there is to the very right-wing Simon Heffer’s biography of Powell.

  16. @ PaulB
    I know Heffer is right-wing. That does not make his claim plausible.
    I am accustomed to being accused of thinking things that I do not but that, also becomes tiresome.

  17. He was a stiff and awkward and fierce man. Seriously clever. Racist in the way his generation was. Principled. Had lunch with him once (showing off now). He thought dual nationality was really wrong, so “nationalist” in a particular way. He was comfortable talking about tribes. Read his book on the EEC, Tim? You’d agree with a lot of it. Hell, i do.

    I remember that desert island discs too. Desperately sad.

    On black immigration, he was wrong, but for honorable reasons. The prudential principle, maybe?

  18. By the standards of today Powell was probably a racist, but at the time he was speaking he probably reflected and expressed the views of a large majority of his countrymen.

    I would guess that this most transparently decent man would indeed be glad that so many immigrants and their families, especially West Indians, have integrated very well indeed, and his rivers of blood speech as it would seem proved wrong, as he would be disgusted by the race relations industry’s continuing battle to make things worse. He would undoubtedly warn against multiculturalism , and also against the growth of asian ghettoes where barely a word of English is spoken and sharia law applies.

    At the risk of sounding racist, by no integrating successfully these people are denied the full benefits of living here and we are denied the full benefits of having them here and that risks leading to strife (in my view he has not yet been proven wrong although I hope he is). The blame for not integrating needs to be shared as well but a very large share belongs to those who do not insist on children being educated principally in English in state schools, and in areas with large immigrant populations we should not be afraid to teach the same English history as for the white kids – romans, normans, the civil war henry the 8th, the abolishment of slavery, the enclosures and for all kids I’d like to see more Magna Carta and more Bill of Rights

  19. “That proposition [the Viceroy of India thing] is so implausible that I wouldn’t be surprised if it started as a joke and then became a leftie factoid.”

    I assume “leftie”is used here in the sense “someone I disagree with”.

    Powell never made a secret of his fascination with India, and the impression it made on him. In a pamphlet he wrote of his arrival in India :
    “The sensation was not unlike that of falling in love.” (sources below)

    He made no secret of his desire that it remain part of the British Empire. He told one biographer:

    “I was determined [while in India] to do something to stop the disintegration of the Empire which seemed imminent.

    “I thought of how Burke had said 160 years earlier that the keys of India were not in Calcutta, not in Delhi, they were in that box – the Despatch Box at the House of Commons. I decided at that time that I must go there.”

    So the Viceroy thing may be going too far, but there’s not much doubt that for a while Powell fell for the whole Raj thing (though he changed his mind). He started the rumour as much as anyone.

    The two pieces below are interesting on him and Empire/India. Nothing do do with him being or not being racist – I appreciate that on this blog it’s politically incorrect to say Enoch Powell was racist..

    http://www.martinfrost.ws/htmlfiles/mar2008/river_story_01.pdf

    http://www.paradigme.com/sources/SOURCES-PDF/Pages%20de%20Sources04-2-2.pdf

  20. Sebastian Weetabix

    @Dave

    How many people have to die, in riots/civil unrest/”isolated terrorist incidents” etc, do you think, before lefties will realise that having a large unintegrated (and apparently unwilling to integrate) Muslim population that actively hates our society is not a good thing?

    Since plenty of Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Bahai, Buddhists and all sorts are happily settled in this country and don’t cause trouble it is worth pointing out this is not a matter of race or ethnicity – it is specifically one of religion and culture.

  21. So Much For Subtlety

    PaulB – “However, his Rivers of Blood speech was certainly racist – Heseltine, Heath, and newspapers including The Times all said so.”

    That does not make it so. What is racist about it exactly? It rests on a proposition that White people cannot live in peace with non-White people. That is not inherently racist in itself. It is either true, or it is not true. I think the jury is still out for Britain, but there is evidence on both sides.

    “he must have realised that the speech would appeal to the sort of racist he opposed in his Hola speech.”

    Except neither speech is really about race or racism. He opposed torture and mistreatment. Not because he opposed racism but because that is the sort of thing a great country is not supposed to do.

    “Since he thought Britain should rule the world, it’s hard to interpret this other than as a belief in the superiority of white Britons, including the descendants of white immigrants, to non-white Britons.”

    It is perfectly possible to believe that White people and Black people cannot live together peacefully without believing Whites are superior. Steve Biko did for instance and he was not White.

    “Encouragingly, Powell has been proved completely wrong in his prediction of a fundamental racial incompatibility. For most people, once cultural differences become unimportant, race doesn’t matter.”

    Except he has not. The Left has a strong and on going interest, even an obsession with race. So do racial minorities in Britain. White people may have given up racism, but there is no evidence anyone else has.

    Apart from Europe, let me suggest a simple rule – Blacks will not live with Whites if they have the numbers to make it so. Ian Fleming may have loved Jamaica. He could not live there now except behind high barbed wire fences. He would be raped and murdered in weeks. Whites have been driven out of virtually all of Africa and there will be few left in Zimbabwe soon. South Africa is following down the same path – the fact that “Kill the Boer” is still such a politically popular song proves that.

    The one exception has been Latin America. But even there racial minorities (or indeed majorities) are beginning to assert themselves. Race is becoming important in places like Peru and Bolivia. Even in Brazil. White-origin communities probably don’t have much of a future there.

    Even in the US, African American majority cities tend to drive out, often deliberately, Whites. Detriot is a good example.

    We have not seen much of this because our minorities are not yet in a position to do so. But in areas where British people of Asian origin have the numbers, life for Whites is often very uncomfortable so we see a lot more residential segregation than we used to.

    So why do you think race is no longer important? What is the evidence?

  22. Even in the US, African American majority cities tend to drive out, often deliberately, Whites. Detriot is a good example.

    Bullshit.

    Where do you get this rubbish?

  23. So Much For Subtlety

    ukliberty – “Bullshit. Where do you get this rubbish?”

    What is bullsh!t about it? Two seconds googling with Detroit and Curley Effect produced a wealth of evidence including papers from Harvard, Time magazine, and Econlib. It is hardly a fringe theory.

    Just because *you* don’t want to listen doesn’t mean *I* am wrong.

    I think the main paper is here but I haven’t checked it to make sure:

    http://www.economics.harvard.edu/faculty/shleifer/files/curley_effect.pdf

    We call this strategy–increasing the relative size of one’s political base through distortionary, wealth-reducing policies–the Curley effect. But it is hardly unique to Curley. Other American mayors, but also politicians around the world, pursued policies that encouraged emigration of their political enemies, raising poverty but gaining political advantage. In his 24 years as mayor, Detroit’s Coleman Young drove white residents and businesses out of the city. “Under Young, Detroit has become not merely an American city that happens to have a black majority, but a black metropolis, the first major Third World city in the United States. The trappings are all there–showcase projects, black-fisted symbols, an external enemy, and the cult of personality” (Chafets 1990, p. 177). Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe abused the white farmers after his country’s independence, openly encouraging their emigration even at a huge cost to the economy.

    So have British non-Whites given up race? Can you think of a BME politician who is not utterly obsessed with race? Lee Jaspers per chance? People like Yasmin Alibhai Brown have built their career on hatred (or mild disdain in her case) of White people. When someone like Diane Abbott says she can send her son to a private school because Afro-Caribbean mothers care for their children, she means White mothers don’t. Which may well be true actually, but the point is she did not even notice the inherent racism in that comment. Nor did the Labour Party discipline her.

    So when PaulB et al say Britain has given up on racism, what he means is that White people aren’t allowed to use it. BMEs can and do. Loudly. Which does not bode well for when Whites are a minority in this country. See Zimbabwe. Or Kenya. Or anywhere else really.

  24. It is strange reading the earnest comments. Are things really ok!
    When in the UK – you can lose your job , go to prison or get hounded by authority- if you say ,out loud, the wrong things about certain kinds of people.

  25. Sebastian>

    “How many people have to die, in riots/civil unrest/”isolated terrorist incidents” etc, do you think, before lefties will realise that having a large unintegrated (and apparently unwilling to integrate) Muslim population that actively hates our society is not a good thing?”

    Why is it that your lot continually go on about how terribly violent all Muslims are, despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary? If all the Muslims and dark-skinned types in the places you seem to complain about most – the Bradfords, Lutons, and so-on – can’t be bothered to get in their cars and drive twenty minutes down the road to one of the large and obvious nearby Jewish communities to have a bit of a race war, evidently the call to Jihad isn’t being in the least bit effective.

  26. When in the UK – you can lose your job , go to prison or get hounded by authority- if you say ,out loud, the wrong things about certain kinds of people.

    I’m not sure that airports, Olympic divers or murdered kids are particularly relevant to Mr Powell’s thesis, however.

  27. Well-meaning people worry too much about racism, and thereby allow the mischievous and wicked to manipulate them. I’ve only ever met one truly vile racist (and yes, he was from Barking), but then he would have been vile no matter what his views. I’ve known other racists who were either utterly charming or mostly harmless. Mostly they were non-white. But then I’ve known charming and mostly harmless statists and collectivists.

    What matters is not a chap’s views, it’s what he does with them.

  28. “Well-meaning people worry too much about racism”

    This is true in as much as a certain amount of xenophobia is natural in any community – from the villagers who distrust the next village to whole continents – and nice people worry about it because they know at some level that it’s irrational. What has changed over the last few years, I would suggest, is that there is a group of people who want to make their apparent lack of this into a stick with which to beat others, or want to exploit those feelings to make others feel guilty and manipulate them (‘apparent’ lack because all too often you find them in special pleading for groups in a way so patronising that were you a member of their favoured minority you would be insulted to the quick). The chosen credo of the generation may change, but what never seems to change is the staggering number of f****** fools who want to tell everyone else what to think and how to behave.

    “I’ve known other racists who were either utterly charming or mostly harmless. Mostly they were non-white.”

    Oh dear. Can, worms, all over floor.

  29. Emma West has been arrested, held in a maximum security prison for months, seperated from her kids for her public remarks. There are several Youtube videos of various UK black racists ranting in public against whites. How many of them have been arrested and are being held in maximum security jail to soften them up and try to ensure craven penitence before their trial?.

  30. to change is the staggering number of f****** fools who want to tell everyone else what to think and how to behave.

    Oh, be careful. They aren’t fools. Nasty but some of them, at least, are actually quite bright.

  31. SMFS, the Curley effect is about the mayor reshaping the electorate for his benefit, not the ethnic majority population chasing out ethnic minorities.

    White flight from Detroit started long before Coleman Young became mayor – he may have exacerbated it. But it wasn’t just whites who left.

  32. My mistake completely as to her being held. I misread my source material. Does not answer my main point though. How many black rascist ranters have been arrested, given national publicity and are awaiting trial?.

  33. Further to @35, I’d be interested if Glaeser and Shleifer replaced “black” or “Irish” with “poor”, and “white” or “not Irish” with “rich”, and reached similar conclusions.

  34. “How many black rascist ranters have been arrested &c”

    I can honestly say I don’t care, although I don’t think the non-black ones should have been either. To be quite honest, I think the idea of arresting people for saying racist things, as opposed to inciting actual crimes, is pretty indefensible. There was a cracking letter in to the Telegraph (or was it in one of Iain Hollingshead’s books of letters that *didn’t* get published but should have been? One or the other) from a German chap which said something like “Sir, after fifty years living in your country I can confirm I get on much better with peopel who call me a kraut b*st*rd to my face than those who think it behind my back.” True dat.

  35. I agree with you –free speech means exactly that–not” free unless it upsets somebody”. My point was in support of “So Much etc” at 26 above–that white people are treated as if racial hatred is something only whites are guilty of.

  36. For that matter “incitment to crime” is a bogus attack on free speech. Just because some nutter says people should go and commit some violent deed, that does not rob people of their own free will and choice. Abu Hamza, unpleasant tho’ he is, should not have been arrested or deported merely for speaking his mind not matter how vile the contents of said mind.

    UK Liberty:”Try looking it up instead of jumping to conclusions”

    Like your expert knowledge of conditions in Detroit?

  37. “For that matter “incitment to crime” is a bogus attack on free speech. ”

    as we seem to be in agreement about the larger issue, I almost feel pedantic picking this one apart, but I think it has to be done; I’m not sure I agree. We have laws against slander and libel for a good reason – and I don’t think that a ‘free speech’ defence should cover them. “Incitement” therefore has a place when things are somewhat, erm, fast-tracked. If you accuse someone falsely of something and it harms their reputation or business, and they can prove it’s not true, it is right that they should be able to get redress. So if you accuse someone of something and a mob attacks them *partly because of your accusation* before they can have a chance to disprove it (eg shouting “that’s him! That’s the child molester!”) should not some form of responsibility be borne? It’s a bit like the whole shouting-‘fire’-in-a-crowded-theatre thing.

    (although I did read a nice theory of getting round this, namely that part of buying a theatre ticket should include not misleadingly shouting “fire!”. Thus anyone who does, causing the theoretical stampede in which people die, is guilty of breach of contract and can be subject to retribution with their freedom of speech unimpaired…)

    Abu Hamza should not have been arrested and deported for airing his opinions, vile though they be. I’m fairly sure that wasn’t why he was deported though. And we sure as hell shouldn’t have been paying for him to do it.

  38. UK Liberty:”Try looking it up instead of jumping to conclusions”

    Like your expert knowledge of conditions in Detroit?

    Oh I already knew whites had moved from Detroit before Coleman Young became mayor. Try again.

  39. sam,

    (although I did read a nice theory of getting round this, namely that part of buying a theatre ticket should include not misleadingly shouting “fire!”. Thus anyone who does, causing the theoretical stampede in which people die, is guilty of breach of contract and can be subject to retribution with their freedom of speech unimpaired…)

    Possibly Murray Rothbard, who says rights should be expressed as property rights. E.g.
    there is no such thing as a separate “right to free speech”; there is only a man’s property right: the right to do as he wills with his own or to make voluntary agreements with other property owners …
    logically, the shouter [of “fire”] is either a patron or the theater owner. If he is the theater owner, he is violating the property rights of the patrons in quiet enjoyment of the performance, for which he took their money in the first place. If he is another patron, then he is violating both the property right of the patrons to watching the performance and the property right of the owner, for he is violating the terms of his being there. For those terms surely include not violating the owner’s property by disrupting the performance he is putting on. In either case, he may be prosecuted as a violator of property rights; therefore, when we concentrate on the property rights involved, we see that the Holmes case implies no need for the law to weaken the absolute nature of rights.

  40. Mr Ecks,

    Abu Hamza, unpleasant tho’ he is, should not have been arrested or deported merely for speaking his mind not matter how vile the contents of said mind.

    He wasn’t…

  41. Re Hamza, depends on how you define “to speak one’s mind”.

    “I think you should all go and kill infidels” is sorta speaking one’s mind, but also sorta incitement to kill infidels.

    By the way, from the introduction of incitement to racial hatred in the Race Relations Act 1976 onwards, convictions of non-white individuals have always far exceeded convictions of white individuals.

  42. Hamza was found guilty of eleven charges in the UK, one of them “possessing a document containing information likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism”. Sure, if speaking one’s mind includes soliciting murder, he was also convicted of speaking one’s mind.

    He’s being extradited to the USA for, among other things, being tried for hostage taking in Yemen, which I don’t think counts as speaking one’s mind, bicbw.

  43. possessing a document containing information likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism

    Pretty sure I’ve got one of those; pretty sure you’ve got one of those. The definition isn’t narrow. We’ll be safe, unless we’re also busted for inciting infidels to go riot, in which case it’ll doubtless be added to the charge sheet.

    (admittedly I’ve never taken hostages in Yemen, but I’m still baffled as to why that might be even the slightest bit ours or the Yanks’ business. Like the poor sods arrested in LHR today for fighting in Syria…)

  44. Pretty sure I’ve got one of those; pretty sure you’ve got one of those.

    I’ve got loads, luckily I’ve also got:

    a defence for a person charged with an offence under this section to prove that he had a reasonable excuse for his action or possession.

  45. So Much For Subtlety

    ukliberty – “SMFS, the Curley effect is about the mayor reshaping the electorate for his benefit, not the ethnic majority population chasing out ethnic minorities.”

    Sorry but what is the relevance of this? I did not say it was either the mayor or the majority population. I said, I regret to say, it was the city as a whole. But the mayor is elected. The people of the city think his views reflect their views, I assume, or they would not vote for him. This is angels-dancing-on-a-pin quibbling.

    “White flight from Detroit started long before Coleman Young became mayor – he may have exacerbated it. But it wasn’t just whites who left.”

    So it was not just the mayor then. Fine. You seem to be agreeing with me.

    The fact is no where in the world do White communities survive in the face of politically powerful Black communities. I would love it if they did, but they don’t. They leave. They have to leave. By all means, we can agree White racism is a nasty thing, but the fact is Whites cannot live with Blacks. No matter how much they apologise for past wrongs they had nothing to do with.

    Enoch Powell has not been proven wrong. He just assumed a more robust response from the White community. Our government took heed of his words and has worked to make sure Whites are either too enlightened or too browbeaten (depending on how you want to look at it) to do so. But that does not mean non-Whites have rejected racism or are remotely too browbeaten to do something about it.

  46. SMFS,

    The people of the city think his views reflect their views, I assume, or they would not vote for him. This is angels-dancing-on-a-pin quibbling.

    His views about what? Race? Or redistribution?

    The paper says, “We cannot be sure that Young’s actions were strategically designed to drive the whites out. Suburbanization, the decline of the automobile industry, and racist hostility to Young were also important factors.”

    Later, “A 1982 referendum tripled the commuter tax from 0.5% to 1.5%, and raised the residents’ income tax rate from 2% to 3%. This tax, which had no impact on Young’s poorer black supporters, strengthened the incentive for the better off to leave Detroit.”

    Do you suppose if there were no blacks but just “poorer supporters”, it would make any difference to that incentive?

  47. Really puzzled by the idea SMFS’s idea that Detroit’s history has nothing to do with Coleman Young or indeed Detroit today. As if history is a series of discrete events.

  48. sackcloth and ashes

    ‘The 7/7 bombings seem to be primary evidence in favour of his comment “like the Roman, I see the Tiber foaming with blood”’

    That’s right. Because we never had any terrorist attacks in the UK before the immigrants turned up …

    As for Powell himself, the fact that the man who condemned the Hola Camp atrocity also opposed immigration should not be seen as an anomaly. Powell was an imperialist, and he attacked abuses in Kenya because they undermined his idealistic vision of what the British empire should be like.

    His views on imperialism also explain his dislike for the USA, as in later years he stated that he developed his loathing for America during the war, particularly with reference to Roosevelt’s official opposition to colonialism.

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