Enoch Powell "the monster"and "Man of Integrity"

T

Tremaine

Guest
#1
Enoch Powell, born 100 years ago this week. I have no sympathies with Enoch Powell but I wonder, how would he have faired in politics today and how many of those in Westminster, or local government, have his kind of integrity and courage?

Pariah, WW2 Brigadier, Professor, and controversial politician. Described as a man of integrity, but often noted merely as a fine soldier, a right wing Tory, and for his rivers of blood speech.

But as The Telegraph writes, Powell seems more modern than most politicians. Powell bitterly opposed the European Community and in his ill considered, impromptu Birmingham speech 1968 also described terrible consequences for UK immigration. Promptly undoing contemporary race relations work, causing a wave of support for him, and (justified) alarm among immigrants.

Powell received his cards from Ted Heath's Shadow Cabinet. Private and considered opinions on immigration were one thing. Public "racism"and even perhaps incitement , quite another. "Wrong", either on moral or political grounds, it mattered not then, and it matters not today. Notionally, the subject, and challenge to immigration and its economic effects, remain taboo.

Once asked in an unguarded moment during an interview how often he went to Ireland he replied that he never went to Ireland but frequently went to Ulster. The Harrods bombing and ongoing atrocities, he blamed on 'double talk and double-dealing on the part of Britain which has kept the IRA and their fellow murderers in business these last dozen years.'

Sure, times change, laws come in and laws are abolished, Europe, the UK, and the legal system may be very different in 2012. How many of Powell's political beliefs and agendas are still valid today, in modern politics. And how should history remember him after all these years?
 

skid2

LE
Book Reviewer
#3
I would have worked for him as South Downs MP.
I would have disagreed with him though. Always thought well of him. Compared to the rest of what we have here
 
#4
Apart from the immigration thing, he held very progressive social views. He was also very pro free market. One of the first tory libertarians, as opposed to the traditional one nation conservatives like Heath. Unfortunately, history seems to view him as a racist, which is complete nonsense.
 
#5
If he's believed to be such an intellect, by the same logic he must be held accountable for his infamous speech which he must have known would be a bigot-magnet for 50 years.

So either he was a damned fool or revealing a nasty side. A shame, but of his own making.
 
#6
River of blood was a speach that went way over the heads of who it was aimed at.
Bloke was a very clever bloke and had integrity.
not sure he was actually right though.
 
#7
The Telegraph's offering by Peter Oborne yesterday (Behind Enoch Powell's monstrous image lay a man of exceptional integrity - Telegraph) seems to sum up Powell's impact succinctly, but Oborne's view on the failure of his prediction that gutters would overflow in blood as a result of immigration policies may well be misplaced - they may well not have happened YET. In fact, there may be signs that it is not far off ......
 
#8
I've always said that the spineless Tory party at the time, in a two horse race, voted in that old traitorous old poof Heath as leader instead of Powell because they hated the fact that he was a bigger man than them in every way and were scared of him and his intellect. I don't think he would have done a deal to get rid of our fishing grounds to Europe and I suspect that the country would be a finer place if they had had the guts to make him head shed.
 
#9
If he's believed to be such an intellect, by the same logic he must be held accountable for his infamous speech which he must have known would be a bigot-magnet for 50 years.

So either he was a damned fool or revealing a nasty side. A shame, but of his own making.
I'd agree but that does raise an interesting point. If he was a damned fool for speaking his mind, why are we disgusted when politicians double talk all the time?
 
#11
Powell was completely wrong?

Did some people miss the shenanigans in London last Summer? There are now parts of London that are de facto no go areas for 'civilians' and owe more to the jungle than civilzed society.
 

Grumblegrunt

LE
Book Reviewer
#12
he was right in most of what he said and was very forward thinking, sticking to his principles without spin or u turns. he was right on immigration and right on the rivers of blood except for the type of crimes we are suffering from non integrated minorities - ie.. 7/7, richard reid, drug and child prostitution rings.
 
T

Tremaine

Guest
#13
If he's believed to be such an intellect, by the same logic he must be held accountable for his infamous speech which he must have known would be a bigot-magnet for 50 years.

So either he was a damned fool or revealing a nasty side. A shame, but of his own making.
Concur. Reactions and objections to 1960's immigration and fear, an unacceptable speech in language he must have regretted. Consequences of the speech could have been much worse. But was that speech alarmed opinion, done for for political gain, or given out of racism? Should we judge the man on one speech? Or consider that he might have opposed modern interventions and British troops' deployments, and at least stood up for the national interest while tackling political hypocrites, even resigning on points of principle. Stupid speech to make, but his credentials and balls were pretty impressive.
 
#14
He should be remembered as a politician who was not out for a top job career but as a representative speaking as a voice for the people howevr uncomfortable that may seem. He was not influencing everybody but reflecting their thoughts and feelings. Oddly enough he was right in what he said, just a few decades before his time.
 
#15
I disagree with some of what he said, but I feel he was misquoted by his opponents. The BBC has had a fatwa out on him for years, and one cannot rationally debate what he meant to say in the 'rivers of blood speech' without being called a racist.
An honourable man, damned for one comment, and a lifetime of service forgotten. When you look at what others can say now against this nation, and seemingly with impunity, I feel he is the victim of a miscarriage of justice.
 
#16
A friend of mine is a keen student of history and politics and is often going on about Enoch Powell. If ever a man was a victim of propoganda it was Powell. As said above, his speech went right over the heads of those it was addressed to and the reference to "Blood in the Tiber" went thus:

"As I look ahead, I am filled with foreboding. Like the Roman, I seem to see 'the River Tiber foaming with much blood'. That tragic and intractable phenomenon which we watch with horror on the other side of the Atlantic but which there is interwoven with the history and existence of the States itself, is coming upon us here by our own volition and our own neglect. Indeed, it has all but come. In numerical terms, it will be of American proportions long before the end of the 20th century. Only resolute and urgent action will avert it even now."

Just like Churchill's speeches, the bulk of what was said is completely overlooked and just a small part is repeatedly quoted.

Quite frankly he made loads of key speeches and was quite an orator who frequently moved emotionaly other MPs in the house. Yet those speeches don't get mentioned these days. I suspect that some people actually feared him at the time and reminded them of Hitler and his oratory. To most people nowadays Powell is just someone villified in the press, and they have just blindly followed what they have been told. Yet Powell had a very long carear, and all too often was way ahead of this time. In fact many views expressed in this very forum reflect things Powell had said years ago.

As Powell has been out of circulation for some time now, I'm convinced that many members of ARRSE won't remember him properly, and I doubt that any here have read any books about him. Well, here is a summary: Enoch Powell - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Please read that at the very least before attempting to pretend any knowledge of the man.

Consider this, he went from Private soldier to Brigadier during the war.
He was a top boffin at university achieving highest grades which set a record.
He was elected MP in various seats, and was a cabinet minister;
Plus, having worked in intelligence, he was actually able to understand the reports of the day and produce accurate analysis of them. Not like other MPs!

Quite frankly, it is a shame that he was never Prime Minister.
 
#17
An Enoch factoid: on the basis of his formidable linguistic ability he was talent spotted as a possible recruit for GC&CS in the mid 30s (I don't know/can't remember if he was ever actually approached) - had he joined GC&CS in 1935ish he would probably only be known to history through the story of Bletchley/Ultra.
 
#18
Is "that speech" a great intellect expressing itself badly or is he being deliberately ambivalent?

Take the passage Troy quotes above, he's not clear what he finds so horrifying about what was happening in the US, is he decrying the Civil Rights movement, the opposition to black civil rights or the whole issue? By not making himself clear he leaves himself wide open to criticism because it's not difficult to infer (rightly or wrongly) that it's uppity black people trying to match their paler betters that he fears.
 
#19
I disagree with some of what he said, but I feel he was misquoted by his opponents. The BBC has had a fatwa out on him for years, and one cannot rationally debate what he meant to say in the 'rivers of blood speech' without being called a racist.
An honourable man, damned for one comment, and a lifetime of service forgotten. When you look at what others can say now against this nation, and seemingly with impunity, I feel he is the victim of a miscarriage of justice.
Its not whether I agree or disagree with what he said. The fact is he did say it, he was representing the feelings of people in the era he said it and most importantly he stood by his speech refusing to retract it or apologise for self gain. In the era that he made his never to be forgotten speeches there was no realistic trial by media up to that point, but given the reaction of the BBC maybe it struck a note causing the conscience examination of those who were the ideas or driving force behind his speeches because with the exception of NI there has been nothing like it since then. Whatever happened the speeches recieved no popular open support so after everyone closed their door Enoch was left to carry the can.
 
#20
A friend of mine is a keen student of history and politics and is often going on about Enoch Powell. If ever a man was a victim of propoganda it was Powell. As said above, his speech went right over the heads of those it was addressed to and the reference to "Blood in the Tiber" went thus:

"As I look ahead, I am filled with foreboding. Like the Roman, I seem to see 'the River Tiber foaming with much blood'. That tragic and intractable phenomenon which we watch with horror on the other side of the Atlantic but which there is interwoven with the history and existence of the States itself, is coming upon us here by our own volition and our own neglect. Indeed, it has all but come. In numerical terms, it will be of American proportions long before the end of the 20th century. Only resolute and urgent action will avert it even now."

Just like Churchill's speeches, the bulk of what was said is completely overlooked and just a small part is repeatedly quoted.

Quite frankly he made loads of key speeches and was quite an orator who frequently moved emotionaly other MPs in the house. Yet those speeches don't get mentioned these days. I suspect that some people actually feared him at the time and reminded them of Hitler and his oratory. To most people nowadays Powell is just someone villified in the press, and they have just blindly followed what they have been told. Yet Powell had a very long carear, and all too often was way ahead of this time. In fact many views expressed in this very forum reflect things Powell had said years ago.

As Powell has been out of circulation for some time now, I'm convinced that many members of ARRSE won't remember him properly, and I doubt that any here have read any books about him. Well, here is a summary: Enoch Powell - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Please read that at the very least before attempting to pretend any knowledge of the man.

Consider this, he went from Private soldier to Brigadier during the war.
He was a top boffin at university achieving highest grades which set a record.
He was elected MP in various seats, and was a cabinet minister;
Plus, having worked in intelligence, he was actually able to understand the reports of the day and produce accurate analysis of them. Not like other MPs!

Quite frankly, it is a shame that he was never Prime Minister.


So he speaks about blood on the Tiber and quotes history from the Roman Empire, but the Roman Empire was the first multicultural empire and people of different creeds and races lived alongside each other and also served alongside each other in the army. An empire which stretched from Scotland to Baghdad and all the citizens were Romans in spite of colour, as a professor of Ancient History did he conveniently forget that or what?
 

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