Sunday, April 20, 2008

Enoch Powell’s ‘Rivers of Blood’ - 40 years on

Today is the 40th anniversary of what has become, rightly or wrongly, one of the most famous speeches ever made by a politician in British history. It has been misquoted, misrepresented, parodied, paraphrased and condemned to the extent that very few now ever bother to read it either in its entirety or consider it in context. They are content, instead, to somehow 'feel' what it was about, and more often than not that indirect sensing is filtered through so many lenses that it bears little resemblance to the message of the original.

Cranmer would like today to reproduce Mr Powell’s entire speech, simply in order that his readers and communicants may make up their own mind:

The supreme function of statesmanship is to provide against preventable evils. In seeking to do so, it encounters obstacles which are deeply rooted in human nature.

One is that by the very order of things such evils are not demonstrable until they have occurred: at each stage in their onset there is room for doubt and for dispute whether they be real or imaginary. By the same token, they attract little attention in comparison with current troubles, which are both indisputable and pressing: whence the besetting temptation of all politics to concern itself with the immediate present at the expense of the future.

Above all, people are disposed to mistake predicting troubles for causing troubles and even for desiring troubles: "If only," they love to think, "if only people wouldn't talk about it, it probably wouldn't happen."

Perhaps this habit goes back to the primitive belief that the word and the thing, the name and the object, are identical.

At all events, the discussion of future grave but, with effort now, avoidable evils is the most unpopular and at the same time the most necessary occupation for the politician. Those who knowingly shirk it deserve, and not infrequently receive, the curses of those who come after.

A week or two ago I fell into conversation with a constituent, a middle-aged, quite ordinary working man employed in one of our nationalised industries.

After a sentence or two about the weather, he suddenly said: "If I had the money to go, I wouldn't stay in this country." I made some deprecatory reply to the effect that even this government wouldn't last for ever; but he took no notice, and continued: "I have three children, all of them been through grammar school and two of them married now, with family. I shan't be satisfied till I have seen them all settled overseas. In this country in 15 or 20 years' time the black man will have the whip hand over the white man."

I can already hear the chorus of execration. How dare I say such a horrible thing? How dare I stir up trouble and inflame feelings by repeating such a conversation?

The answer is that I do not have the right not to do so. Here is a decent, ordinary fellow Englishman, who in broad daylight in my own town says to me, his Member of Parliament, that his country will not be worth living in for his children.

I simply do not have the right to shrug my shoulders and think about something else. What he is saying, thousands and hundreds of thousands are saying and thinking - not throughout Great Britain, perhaps, but in the areas that are already undergoing the total transformation to which there is no parallel in a thousand years of English history.

In 15 or 20 years, on present trends, there will be in this country three and a half million Commonwealth immigrants and their descendants. That is not my figure. That is the official figure given to parliament by the spokesman of the Registrar General's Office.

There is no comparable official figure for the year 2000, but it must be in the region of five to seven million, approximately one-tenth of the whole population, and approaching that of Greater London. Of course, it will not be evenly distributed from Margate to Aberystwyth and from Penzance to Aberdeen. Whole areas, towns and parts of towns across England will be occupied by sections of the immigrant and immigrant-descended population.

As time goes on, the proportion of this total who are immigrant descendants, those born in England, who arrived here by exactly the same route as the rest of us, will rapidly increase. Already by 1985 the native-born would constitute the majority. It is this fact which creates the extreme urgency of action now, of just that kind of action which is hardest for politicians to take, action where the difficulties lie in the present but the evils to be prevented or minimised lie several parliaments ahead.

The natural and rational first question with a nation confronted by such a prospect is to ask: "How can its dimensions be reduced?" Granted it be not wholly preventable, can it be limited, bearing in mind that numbers are of the essence: the significance and consequences of an alien element introduced into a country or population are profoundly different according to whether that element is 1 per cent or 10 per cent.

The answers to the simple and rational question are equally simple and rational: by stopping, or virtually stopping, further inflow, and by promoting the maximum outflow. Both answers are part of the official policy of the Conservative Party.

It almost passes belief that at this moment 20 or 30 additional immigrant children are arriving from overseas in Wolverhampton alone every week - and that means 15 or 20 additional families a decade or two hence. Those whom the gods wish to destroy, they first make mad. We must be mad, literally mad, as a nation to be permitting the annual inflow of some 50,000 dependants, who are for the most part the material of the future growth of the immigrant-descended population. It is like watching a nation busily engaged in heaping up its own funeral pyre. So insane are we that we actually permit unmarried persons to immigrate for the purpose of founding a family with spouses and fiancés whom they have never seen.

Let no one suppose that the flow of dependants will automatically tail off. On the contrary, even at the present admission rate of only 5,000 a year by voucher, there is sufficient for a further 25,000 dependants per annum ad infinitum, without taking into account the huge reservoir of existing relations in this country - and I am making no allowance at all for fraudulent entry. In these circumstances nothing will suffice but that the total inflow for settlement should be reduced at once to negligible proportions, and that the necessary legislative and administrative measures be taken without delay.

I stress the words "for settlement." This has nothing to do with the entry of Commonwealth citizens, any more than of aliens, into this country, for the purposes of study or of improving their qualifications, like (for instance) the Commonwealth doctors who, to the advantage of their own countries, have enabled our hospital service to be expanded faster than would otherwise have been possible. They are not, and never have been, immigrants.

I turn to re-emigration. If all immigration ended tomorrow, the rate of growth of the immigrant and immigrant-descended population would be substantially reduced, but the prospective size of this element in the population would still leave the basic character of the national danger unaffected. This can only be tackled while a considerable proportion of the total still comprises persons who entered this country during the last ten years or so.

Hence the urgency of implementing now the second element of the Conservative Party's policy: the encouragement of re-emigration.

Nobody can make an estimate of the numbers which, with generous assistance, would choose either to return to their countries of origin or to go to other countries anxious to receive the manpower and the skills they represent.

Nobody knows, because no such policy has yet been attempted. I can only say that, even at present, immigrants in my own constituency from time to time come to me, asking if I can find them assistance to return home. If such a policy were adopted and pursued with the determination which the gravity of the alternative justifies, the resultant outflow could appreciably alter the prospects.

The third element of the Conservative Party's policy is that all who are in this country as citizens should be equal before the law and that there shall be no discrimination or difference made between them by public authority. As Mr Heath has put it we will have no "first-class citizens" and "second-class citizens." This does not mean that the immigrant and his descendent should be elevated into a privileged or special class or that the citizen should be denied his right to discriminate in the management of his own affairs between one fellow-citizen and another or that he should be subjected to imposition as to his reasons and motive for behaving in one lawful manner rather than another.

There could be no grosser misconception of the realities than is entertained by those who vociferously demand legislation as they call it "against discrimination", whether they be leader-writers of the same kidney and sometimes on the same newspapers which year after year in the 1930s tried to blind this country to the rising peril which confronted it, or archbishops who live in palaces, faring delicately with the bedclothes pulled right up over their heads. They have got it exactly and diametrically wrong.

The discrimination and the deprivation, the sense of alarm and of resentment, lies not with the immigrant population but with those among whom they have come and are still coming.

This is why to enact legislation of the kind before parliament at this moment is to risk throwing a match on to gunpowder. The kindest thing that can be said about those who propose and support it is that they know not what they do.

Nothing is more misleading than comparison between the Commonwealth immigrant in Britain and the American Negro. The Negro population of the United States, which was already in existence before the United States became a nation, started literally as slaves and were later given the franchise and other rights of citizenship, to the exercise of which they have only gradually and still incompletely come. The Commonwealth immigrant came to Britain as a full citizen, to a country which knew no discrimination between one citizen and another, and he entered instantly into the possession of the rights of every citizen, from the vote to free treatment under the National Health Service.

Whatever drawbacks attended the immigrants arose not from the law or from public policy or from administration, but from those personal circumstances and accidents which cause, and always will cause, the fortunes and experience of one man to be different from another's.

But while, to the immigrant, entry to this country was admission to privileges and opportunities eagerly sought, the impact upon the existing population was very different. For reasons which they could not comprehend, and in pursuance of a decision by default, on which they were never consulted, they found themselves made strangers in their own country.

They found their wives unable to obtain hospital beds in childbirth, their children unable to obtain school places, their homes and neighbourhoods changed beyond recognition, their plans and prospects for the future defeated; at work they found that employers hesitated to apply to the immigrant worker the standards of discipline and competence required of the native-born worker; they began to hear, as time went by, more and more voices which told them that they were now the unwanted. They now learn that a one-way privilege is to be established by act of parliament; a law which cannot, and is not intended to, operate to protect them or redress their grievances is to be enacted to give the stranger, the disgruntled and the agent-provocateur the power to pillory them for their private actions.

In the hundreds upon hundreds of letters I received when I last spoke on this subject two or three months ago, there was one striking feature which was largely new and which I find ominous. All Members of Parliament are used to the typical anonymous correspondent; but what surprised and alarmed me was the high proportion of ordinary, decent, sensible people, writing a rational and often well-educated letter, who believed that they had to omit their address because it was dangerous to have committed themselves to paper to a Member of Parliament agreeing with the views I had expressed, and that they would risk penalties or reprisals if they were known to have done so. The sense of being a persecuted minority which is growing among ordinary English people in the areas of the country which are affected is something that those without direct experience can hardly imagine.

I am going to allow just one of those hundreds of people to speak for me:

“Eight years ago in a respectable street in Wolverhampton a house was sold to a Negro. Now only one white (a woman old-age pensioner) lives there. This is her story. She lost her husband and both her sons in the war. So she turned her seven-roomed house, her only asset, into a boarding house. She worked hard and did well, paid off her mortgage and began to put something by for her old age. Then the immigrants moved in. With growing fear, she saw one house after another taken over. The quiet street became a place of noise and confusion. Regretfully, her white tenants moved out.

“The day after the last one left, she was awakened at 7am by two Negroes who wanted to use her 'phone to contact their employer. When she refused, as she would have refused any stranger at such an hour, she was abused and feared she would have been attacked but for the chain on her door. Immigrant families have tried to rent rooms in her house, but she always refused. Her little store of money went, and after paying rates, she has less than £2 per week. “She went to apply for a rate reduction and was seen by a young girl, who on hearing she had a seven-roomed house, suggested she should let part of it. When she said the only people she could get were Negroes, the girl said, "Racial prejudice won't get you anywhere in this country." So she went home.

“The telephone is her lifeline. Her family pay the bill, and help her out as best they can. Immigrants have offered to buy her house - at a price which the prospective landlord would be able to recover from his tenants in weeks, or at most a few months. She is becoming afraid to go out. Windows are broken. She finds excreta pushed through her letter box. When she goes to the shops, she is followed by children, charming, wide-grinning piccaninnies. They cannot speak English, but one word they know. "Racialist," they chant. When the new Race Relations Bill is passed, this woman is convinced she will go to prison. And is she so wrong? I begin to wonder.”

The other dangerous delusion from which those who are wilfully or otherwise blind to realities suffer, is summed up in the word "integration." To be integrated into a population means to become for all practical purposes indistinguishable from its other members.

Now, at all times, where there are marked physical differences, especially of colour, integration is difficult though, over a period, not impossible. There are among the Commonwealth immigrants who have come to live here in the last fifteen years or so, many thousands whose wish and purpose is to be integrated and whose every thought and endeavour is bent in that direction.

But to imagine that such a thing enters the heads of a great and growing majority of immigrants and their descendants is a ludicrous misconception, and a dangerous one.
We are on the verge here of a change. Hitherto it has been force of circumstance and of background which has rendered the very idea of integration inaccessible to the greater part of the immigrant population - that they never conceived or intended such a thing, and that their numbers and physical concentration meant the pressures towards integration which normally bear upon any small minority did not operate.

Now we are seeing the growth of positive forces acting against integration, of vested interests in the preservation and sharpening of racial and religious differences, with a view to the exercise of actual domination, first over fellow-immigrants and then over the rest of the population. The cloud no bigger than a man's hand, that can so rapidly overcast the sky, has been visible recently in Wolverhampton and has shown signs of spreading quickly. The words I am about to use, verbatim as they appeared in the local press on 17 February, are not mine, but those of a Labour Member of Parliament who is a minister in the present government:

'The Sikh communities' campaign to maintain customs inappropriate in Britain is much to be regretted. Working in Britain, particularly in the public services, they should be prepared to accept the terms and conditions of their employment. To claim special communal rights (or should one say rites?) leads to a dangerous fragmentation within society. This communalism is a canker; whether practised by one colour or another it is to be strongly condemned.'

All credit to John Stonehouse for having had the insight to perceive that, and the courage to say it.

For these dangerous and divisive elements the legislation proposed in the Race Relations Bill is the very pabulum they need to flourish. Here is the means of showing that the immigrant communities can organise to consolidate their members, to agitate and campaign against their fellow citizens, and to overawe and dominate the rest with the legal weapons which the ignorant and the ill-informed have provided. 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 century.

Only resolute and urgent action will avert it even now. Whether there will be the public will to demand and obtain that action, I do not know. All I know is that to see, and not to speak, would be the great betrayal.

It is manifestly a speech from another era: its scholarship would be lost and its rhetoric would be wasted on most MPs these days, let alone on local political gatherings. It is far too virile and potent for today’s limp-wristed, nicey-nicey politics, and those who object to it simply because of the use of now un-PC words like ‘negro’ have no understanding of history, society, literature, culture or politics. What is considered ‘racist’ now was certainly not considered so in 1968, and the same phrases and allusions may be found throughout English literature.

Modern politicians are not only ignorant of Virgil, but they scarcely have acquaintance with Disraeli or Hardie, or with Bevin or Churchill, and they even bend over backwards to repudiate the achievements of Thatcher and Blair. There is so little understanding of history and the philosophical roots of their own political traditions that history is doomed to repeat itself. And one looks in vain for the eloquence and rhetoric that typifies a classical education.

The ‘immigration debate’ may still bubbling beneath the surface 40 years on - even if it is a 'cold war' - but the language has changed because the make-up of Britain has changed. It is too crude to state either that Enoch Powell was right or that he was wrong, not least because the goalposts have moved from uncontrolled immigration from the Commonwealth to uncontrolled immigration from the EU, ironically to the detriment of those who now wish to immigrate from the Commonwealth. And it is also too crude to sum the man up in a word like ‘racist’, for how many racists choose to live in India for years and love the land, and then are sufficiently concerned about inculturation to learn two local languages?

No, Enoch Powell was a classicist, and not only a classicist, but a philosopher. And Cranmer is mindful of Plato on this matter, who said that philosophers never make good politicians, for they really know what they are talking about, while the politicians merely think they do. The philosopher understands the problems and discerns the solutions; the politician understands little, and what he does understand is subject to the popular will of the demos, which ultimately ensures that very little can change.

Enoch Powell was educated, intelligent, and more than a little eccentric. He was clever, but he was not wise. Any wise politician would have foreseen the consequences of applying histrionic classical allusions to present societal tensions. And he lacked judgement - possibly most evidenced by his decision to return to Westminster as an Ulster Unionist, for one has to have been born into, lived and breathed the politics of Northern Ireland in order to understand and properly represent any side in that murky and muddled context.

One of Enoch Powell's greatest observations was that all political careers end in failure. And regretably, in that, he was quite right.


Blogger Snuffleupagus said...

I disagree Your Grace. Powell was an excellent politician. Millions of people believed in him and felt he was the only one speaking out for them. He inspired people. He did, as politicians are meant to do. However, he was not a philosopher. Philosophers are meant to change the course of human thought. Enoch was perhaps a poet, a great speaker, a man of depth. But he was not a philosopher.

And if I may be so bold Your Grace, it is your understanding of the word 'racism' that is too crude. One can be racist and love India, speak its languages, even marry an Indian girl, and have Indian children. One can be racist and know Virgil, and be educated in the best of ways.

One could also be racist in 1968, as Enoch was, and still say things of worth. Just because he was a racist, doesn't mean that one should dismiss everything he had to say. I have great admiration for the man and agree with you: he was a far better man than most of today's current politicians.

20 April 2008 at 11:40  
Blogger ENGLISHMAN said...

This speech is as true today as when it was given,and there can be no excuse from our "politicians"that they were unaware of the impact of what they imposed upon us to the detriment of the English people."To see and not speak" is indeed the greatest betrayal,but has become a widespread practice to ensure self agrandisement at the expense of our future generations.Who speaks for us now?

20 April 2008 at 11:42  
Anonymous Vincent McKenzie said...

Ice cream is cold; water is wet: stick your head out of the tower window and have a peek: Yep Enoch Powell was right!

20 April 2008 at 11:52  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Ms Snuffy,

Racism is quite simply the belief that one race is innately superior to another.

There is nothing crude in that definition. And if Enoch Powell believed this to be the case, he would hardly have concerned himself with a lengthy and tedious process of inculturation, but would have remained somewhat aloof and detached from it all.

20 April 2008 at 11:56  
Blogger Bert Rustle said...

The Letterbox Lady was Druscilla Cotterill

However there was another remarkably relevant speech given by the Rt. Hon. J. Enoch Powell, MP, to a meeting of the Stretford Young Conservatives at the Civic Theatre, Stretford, Manchester at 8pm, Friday, 21 January 1977. In scholarly and measured terms Enoch Powell forecast our current predicament.

The Road to National Suicide: Immigration, The Public Interest And The 'Uniform of Color' .

... this subject has been kept, as far as possible, out of parliamentary debate, and the use which has been made of every device from legal penalty to trade union proscription to prevent the open discussion and ventilation of it. No social or political penalty, no threat of private ostracism or public violence, has been spared against those who have nevertheless continued to describe what hundreds of thousands of their fellow citizens daily saw and experienced and to voice the fears for the future by which those fellow citizens were haunted. ... In all this suppression more than one powerful motive can be seen at work. On the one hand there is the primitive but widespread superstition that if danger is not mentioned, it will go away, or even that it is created by being identified and can therefore be destroyed again by being left in silence. [emphasis added] Akin to this is the natural resentment of ordinary people, but especially of politicians, at being forced to face an appalling prospect with no readily procurable happy ending. ...

20 April 2008 at 12:08  
Blogger Bert Rustle said...

Cranmer wrote ... Racism is quite simply the belief that one race is innately superior to another. ...

Academic research has found profound differences between races, for example in intelligence and psychopathic behaviour, as well as disease susceptibility and amenability to treatment. How many parents wish for a stupid child rather than a clever one? Is this not an implicit recognition that high intelligence is a desirable attribute? How many people put other people's children before their own?

I would suggest that a definition of racism should include discriminating against people because of their race. A clear example of this is Affirmative Action in the USA. Bizarrely, though AA was introduced to redress the imbalance caused by the racism suffered by Blacks in the USA, all new immigrants of minorities also benefit from it.

Hibernia Girl has produced a version of Enoch's Speech with hyperlinks to relevant articles and research.

20 April 2008 at 12:33  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Mr Rustle,

'Differences' do not constitute superiority, and within any such spectrum of differences are so many evident exceptions that any attempt to draw definitive conclusions regarding an alleged superiority is not only irrational but immoral.

20 April 2008 at 12:52  
Blogger Nilk said...

I thank your Grace for your reproduction of this speech.

This is the first time I've read it, and I am thoroughly gobsmacked at how prescient it is.

Here in Australia we have the same problems with our immigrant communities who have no desire to integrate.They are happy to come here and take advantage of our standards of living, yet do not want to be 'aussies.'

They want to be "-aussies."

I am now seen as an 'anglo-australian' for example, and I know I am not the only one irked by this divisive system of labelling.

Ah well, we'll see what happens over the next few years.

Nothing too positive, I'm sure, but God willing nothing too negative, either.

20 April 2008 at 13:42  
Anonymous billy said...

Mr. Powell was a very bright man who held a constituency that had a lot of the very immigrants he warned about.
Nowadays, it is full of those immigrants and the EU ones that have followed. It is a dirty depressing place to live. It is no longer English in a proud British nation; it is a third world hodge podge with a day centre for elderly Asians only but no equivalent for the elderly white English. There are myriads of elderly ex commonwealth who came here late in life and paid little in taxes or national insurance, but collect full pensions and get free health care.
It is a wonderful land post Race Relations Act; so long as you are not White and English.

20 April 2008 at 13:45  
Blogger Little Black Sambo said...

There was a determined and successful campaign to replace the word "racialism" with "racism"; I can't remember what the distinction is supposed to be but I believe you can be condemned as "racist" because of what you are, as well as because of anything you may do or say - hence "institutional", which is probably also unwitting, racism. Powell acknowledges that we are all inevitably to some extent racist or racialist in that our preference for our own kind and our fear of being overrun by strangers will often take a racial form. I agree with Snuffleupagus that Powell was a racist, and would add that so are the rest of us. There is nothing inherently wrong in that; it is part of our natural makeup. It is how we behave that matters. But of course a mainstream politician cannot even appear to agree with this fact that he and every one else knows to be true, without being traduced. Powell understood and expressed this predicament with crystal clarity, and I am grateful to you for the text of the speech, which along with almost all the people who have condemned it, I had never read.

20 April 2008 at 14:08  
Anonymous steadmancinques said...

Enoch Powell was right in these two fundamentals; that uncontrolled immigration would totally transform British society, and that the indigenous population were not being consulted as to whether this transformation was something they wished. Where he was wrong was the inflammatory nature in which he said it, which made any discussion of the issue political death for politicians of any party, except by the genuine racists, which Powell never was.
Your Grace has introduced an extra dimension to the structure of the speech which had not previously occurred to me, the classical philosophical and linguistic underpinnings of his mode of thought.
Your Grace's comments on Enoch Powell's inappositeness of using virile classical rhetoric to constructing political speeches, even in his own day, I find revelatory. His was a voice crying in the wilderness, indeed; the fundamental truth of his analysis was totally obscured by his opponents within and without the Conservative Party, seizing on the rhetoric and ignoring the message.

20 April 2008 at 15:22  
Anonymous billy said...

steadmancinques said...
Enoch Powell was right in these two fundamentals; ...........Where he was wrong was the inflammatory nature in which he said it, ......

I am no sure what you mean by the 'inflammatory nature in which he said it".
My memory may be faulty but I do not remember his delivery being inflammatory rather it was measured, but forceful.
If the words are considered inflammatory that was because the far right and left took parts of his speech and held them up as mirrors of their own racism. I heard Powell speak in his constituency and a third of his audience were commonwealth immigrants. The only heckling came from white, left wing students outside the venue.

20 April 2008 at 18:13  
Blogger Snuffleupagus said...

Your Grace
I disagree. Racism is so much more complicated than your definition. Perhaps it comes from a dictionary, and if so, the authors too are crude in their understanding of race.

Because racism is so much more than this silly definition, as such, it is far more interesting and is very difficult to define. Little Black Sambo speaks much sense on the matter in his comment. People always think that being racist is akin to being like Hitler and we all know that Hitler is evil, so calling someone racist is the most dreadful of insults. But most people are racist, some to different degrees, and in different ways.

What of those who believe other races to be superior to one's own? What of those who seek out exotic pleasures? What of those who have a kind of instinctive revulsion for 'the other'? This, is what I believe Powell had. But it isn't a big deal. Lots of people have it. Just like lots of people love 'the other' in a similar instinctive and racist way - say like Ken Livingstone.

20 April 2008 at 18:18  
Anonymous Voyager said...

That Enoch Powell was correct in his analysis is self-evident - that he gained the opprobrium of Ibsen's Dr Stockmann for telling the truth.

It has done Britain little good that men like Roy Jenkins were able to impose their values over those held by the voters; nor has it improved the situation of descendants of unemployed textile workers in Bradford that the doors from Kashmir and Bangladesh are open wide.

The political-media class has chosen to espouse an erroneous theory with the same ardour and
inflexibility as Himmler and Hitler proclaimed theirs - that there was no alternative view to their own.

The facts on the ground cannot be denied, and yet the British are masters of woolly thinking and self-delusion; imagining themselves somehow as beacons to the world, which is simply indifferent to their example.

Had Britain been an intolerant society it might have survived; but as tolerance and indifference blended, the ability to sustain a core cultural strand has snapped. the Comprehensive School and collapse of discipline together with the incontinence of border controls has in fact laid the groundwork for the Lebanon Scenario in Britain, but rather in England - in cities like Bradford it is already fact.

20 April 2008 at 20:06  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Ms Snuffy,

There is no wisdom in dismissing His Grace's understanding, as well as that of the Oxford English Dictionary, if you can offer nothing in return but the observation that it is 'very difficult to define'.

In His Grace's experience, simplicity in definition and straightforwardness in meaning have much to commend them, not least of which is that everyone comprehends one's meaning. It is why English statutes and English case law are envied the world over: they say what they mean and they mean what they say, such that they may be universally understood. Contrast this with the continental method, the obfuscation, the ambiguity, the insistence that issues 'are very difficult to define', so they leave it all to the lawyers and the educated elite.

20 April 2008 at 20:48  
Blogger Paul said...

Is there a philosopher of language in the house?

20 April 2008 at 20:52  
Anonymous Sir Henry Morgan said...

Racism, as it is called, is a perfectly natural thing. As Muhammed Ali (Cassius Clay) put it: "I prefer to be with my own kind" (paraphrase).

It is just a natural extension of in-group favouritism, which appears to be universal as demonstrated by experiments with what social psychologists call "Minimal Groups" (entirely artificial, but having psychological effects on the participants).

The easiest -though much simplified - way to explain it is to say, basically, that we first favour our family and close friends; then our neighbours; then people from our own village or town (I remember when growing up that we in our village did not like or mix with people from other villages around); then, possibly, people from our own country; then possibly continent. Once you leave your own continent in your thinking, you start encountering people who are physically different. The same psychological processes are working here, only now we call it "Racism".

Ever expanding circles of favouritism eventually come to a point where it becomes disfavouritism. And all perfectly normal and natural. If I hate my brother (I don't) it's not called racism. And if I hate my neighbour it's not called racism - all the way out until I get to someone from a different country or culture, or a different continent where people now look different, but now it's called racism despite the hate being psychologically exactly the same.

Let's take wild animals (some domestic ones too - Rottweillers for example): they are generaly extremely territorial (the more predatory, the more territorial is a good rough general rule, and there is no more predatory animal than the human animal). It's terrirory is its very existence - without it it has no means of sustenance. A pride of lions may tolerate a buffalo on its territory (future prey?), but it absolutely will not abide an outsider lion, or a hyena, on its territory.

A different psychological process from the in-group favouritism, but these are just two of the many complex processes that combine to produce what we call racism - which is anyway an entirely human-generated concept. The phenomenon exists and always has done, in humans and other creatures - but the label and the approbrium attached to it: entirely human-culture generated.

All those things are perfectly normal. e it becomes abnormal is when you add on top of those things, ideas about superiority.

Snuffle, billy, and lbs are all correct in different ways.

As a general rule, when someone says things like "so and so is a racist" or "that was offensive", it is an indication to me that the person concerned has no argument to give in those circumstances or that argument and so indicates they have lost by resorting to attacking the messenger.

I've done much simplifying here so may have misled - but on His Grace's blog I assume I am speaking to intelligent and erudite people who can see the complexities within a simplification.

20 April 2008 at 20:58  
Anonymous steadmancinques said...

To answer Billy's specific point, I was referring to the use of phrases such as 'grinning picaninnies' and 'foaming with much blood' that were seized on by his opponents; Heath specifically said that he was sacking him from the Shadow Cabinet for that reason, ie inflammatory language, not whether what he said was correct or not, which, of course, it was.
On the more general issue of 'racialism' and 'racism', I fully agree with 'Little Black Sambo' and 'voyager'.
I was so fortunate to be born at a time (1945) when, for the first time in history, the finest available education, Grammar School and university, was made attainable to able children from the poorest and most disadvantaged of backgrounds, such as myself. Paradoxically, mine was virtually the last generation to have the full benefit of a classical, liberal, Anglican and patriotic education. I was brought up to believe that to be born an Englishman was to have won a major prize in the race of life. I was taught that in this country, sovereignty rested with the people, and that freedom of speech was absolute; indeed, I possess letters that my father wrote to my mother during the War, in which he specifically says that what he is fighting for, in part, is that English people 'are free to say exactly what they think on any issue, without the hated Gestapo at hand to haul them off to prison or worse'. I have lived to see those freedoms for which my grandfather fought at Jutland, and my father in the Pacific, eroded precisely through those measures against which Enoch campaigned, the Race Relations Acts and its successors. 'Incitement to Racial hatred' now causes the arrest of a war veteran for the heinous offence of painting this country's flag on his garden shed; 'Positive discrimination' has, this week, led to an Englishman and his son being denied entry to a publically-owned swimming pool, on the grounds that the session was reserved for Moslem men only.
Enoch Powell was desperate to avoid the situation that he had seen in India, where the country was torn apart and thousands massacred at Independence by political forces, each representing only one group in the nation, a phenomenon he labelled 'communalism'. We call it 'multi-culturalism'.

20 April 2008 at 21:09  
Blogger Cranmer said...

It is perfectly possible to prefer to live with one's 'own sort' without believing that sort to be in any sense innately superior to others.

The former His Grace would define as the 'storge' love of familial ties and the sense of community one feels with one's kin or patriotism one feels for one's country. The latter is not concerned with love at all, but with pride. And none of the former are negated by something as crude as the colour of one's skin. Religion, however, is quite another matter.

20 April 2008 at 21:23  
Blogger Bert Rustle said...

Cranmer wrote ... Differences' do not constitute superiority ...

In my opinion, the possessor of a high IQ is superior to he of a low IQ when engaged in an activity for which a high IQ is beneficial. For example, probably superior when engaged in abstract reasoning, probably equal when expressing a dissident opinion.

Cranmer wrote ... within any such spectrum of differences are so many evident exceptions ...

It is evident that there are, but it is not relevant. The correct comparison is between the relative range of values of a particular trait. Far less satisfactory is comparing averages, through to the nonsensical comparison of comparing exceptional individuals. For example, a statistical analysis of empirical data demonstrates that Male IQ is more variable than female IQ. Consequently, nearly all really stupid people are male and nearly all really clever people are male, even though the difference between average male and average female IQ is less than five points. Of course there have been some female Nobel Laureates in the hard sciences but they are truly exceptional.

Cranmer wrote ...any attempt to draw definitive conclusions regarding an alleged superiority is not only irrational ...

This is evidently true for individuals and evidently false when for example comparing the spectrum of differences in IQ amongst males with the spectrum of differences in IQ amongst females. The latter is different again from the “spectrum of differences” which you mentioned.

Cranmer wrote ...any attempt to draw definitive conclusions regarding an alleged superiority is ... immoral. ...

In my opinion it is immoral to deny a place to student whose academic achievements to date are commensurate with those who go on to complete a course of study successfully and to grant the place to student whose academic achievements to date are commensurate with those who fail to complete the same course of study. This immorality is compounded by the fact that the latter less able category of student typically go on to complete successfully a course of study which is commensurate with their ability.

This situation described above is well documented within the legal profession in the USA. In the situation described, it is typically White or Yellow students discriminated against on the basis of race, purportedly to help mostly Black students but in fact increasing their failure rate relative to their peers who attend courses of study commensurate with their ability. Black, White and Yellow students, sacrificed to Diversity and to the detriment of all concerned.

20 April 2008 at 21:24  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your Grace

An excellent definition, and the only one that SHOULD matter.

Unfortunately we are both forced to live in the double-speak world of BBC inspired fascism.

I don't believe E Powell was a racist, by your definition. As I don't believe any one in there right mind is. For the reasons you give. It is both irrational and immoral to believe a race of human beings is inferior to another. If I meet a black man with an IQ 50 points higher then my own. What does that make me? Even more stupid then just 50 points less, just because I am white?

Powell was talking about an imminent threat from legislation to British culture and traditional laws, and not much else. He was wrong about the time frame, but right about everything else. As he was about most things.


Positive discrimination is not racist by your definition either. Very stupid, immoral, highly politically motivated, not to say profoundly evil, but not racist.


Whats so strange is, that if one goes by the modern BBC brainwashed socialists definition of racism. Then positive discrimination must surly be one of the most RACIST acts imaginable. A form of deliberately divisive racism that is carried out and promoted by our own government every day.

The simple every day reality is that our police force are instructed to ask and record the racial identity of every person they communicate with.

Which is by a Common Purpose definition, one enormous amount of.....

IN YOUR FACE INSTITUTIONALIZED STATE SPONSORED RACISM, deliberately designed to one day bring us Rivers Of Blood.

Further evidence if any where needed that socialism is simply a method of destroying society to rebuild it into 'something else.'

Don't bother to ask a socialist what this 'something else' would be like, or why it would be any better then what we had? Because they don't have the slightest idea, or care either, as long as they are running it.

Atlas shrugged

20 April 2008 at 21:24  
Blogger Unsworth said...

Your Grace,

My congratulations on publishing the speech in full.

You are wise to highlight that Enoch Powell was an (extraordinary) academic but lacked political skills - if 'skills' is an appropriate term. However, 'racism' is universal, and is manifest in many different ways and many countries.

The more fundamental question might be 'is racism intrinsically immoral?' To answer that we need to clearly define both 'racism' and 'morality'.

20 April 2008 at 21:37  
Blogger Cranmer said...

A definition does not contain the revelation of a truth and it does not express the essence of a reality in a concept - it is only an instrument that directs research and structures the results. Definitions are neither true nor false, but only of varying degrees of usefulness and appropriateness.

The etymology of the verb 'to define' is to mark out borders and so to restrict or distinguish. Unless one can coalasce around, say, the OED, this thread serves no continuing religio-political or philosophical purpose.

20 April 2008 at 22:03  
Anonymous hear o israel said...

your grace i thank you for reproducing enochs great speech !!

there is a dilemma , we have dr martin luther kings speech I have a dream
"where a man will not be judged by the colour of there skin but by the content of there heart"

i would think most christians would agree to that , after all jesus himself would have had a jewish complexion .

in 1968 we have a nation full of war veterans they have fought for a better britain , a freer one . There were quite a few black sections of the airforce and army .

you might even understand that some people thought that in order to stop war we should all live closer together , we had a labour shortage so the immigrants had jobs , paid taxes and put up with open hatred.

my own early childhood knew a good jamican preacher who had been a pilot in ww2 , marvellous man very greatfull to be here .

we were wanting to create a better world in the socialist modell, but what galls people so much is that its outcomes were never explained nor did they get to vote on any limits .

when the inevitable job pressures came along when indigenous populations new births were wanting jobs , the horror of unbridled immigration became apparent , the glass cieling was apparent. then we had the further heart ache of being prosecuted if you were caught as an employer discrimating , another percieved freedom removed.

I think looking back everyone expcted second generation to take up the culture , there was no understanding that a large mosque or temple building would take place or that there would be wish to impose there rites on the idigenous population .

the promotion of ethnic rights was further ramming down the throats of the working class .they created oppertunity in the hope of speeding up integration when it only created seperateness or at worse an unintelligable chimera.

immigration has changed the social fabric into somthing less stable than what was before it.

what is happening now is that where at one time there might have been sympathy about the plight of the poor !! we are now faced with a town like leicester having a white minority population in 20 years time .

it is as though we have created our own poor through our own niaveity . "busily building our own funeral pyre"

they are fed up of not hearing english spoken , seeing an immigrant dependent benefit culture . I ask you allowing state benefit for multiple wives what utter madness .

people are angry that we have been sold somthing detrimental in the long run both for the immigrant and for the indigenous . the nation appears to becomming ungovernable as it is so factioned and to top it all , we now appear to be growing home grown terrorists and the preaching of hate against our own culture on our own soil.

the gratitude has been spent , the foreigner now less easy to reach . When i saw muslim doctors and lawyers asking trevor philips for sharia law it crystallised for me , they did not like or want our country for what it was , that to me was the end of multiculturalism .

i pity those who like our culture and have become one of us in as much as they can . But those bombs show contempt and seperation which on an island like ours is not just intolerable but impracticle.

i am uneasy about what it will mean to my god when it kicks off , two years ago i knew no one who would vote BNP now i know 4.

white people are saying enough is enough , the gov in the last ten years have only poured more fuel on the pyre .

i am not optomostic , some even feel we are being taken over in a stealth operation .

if the action had been taken when enoch said , we would not be here now fretting over the backlash .

it is still an astonishing speech , often misquoted and misunderstood , i think he was right namely becasue we are re writing natural history to make it fit.

i think the BNP are now hear to stay as party, its as though some myth has now shattered , in ireland also it is rising and i wonder how much longer for the french and dutch.

another socialist folly to remeber in hsitory .

20 April 2008 at 22:11  
Anonymous wrinkled weasel said...

The greatest present threat to the security of our country is from non-white Muslims of Asian origin, many the sons of those who came over here in Powell's time, so he was right. It is also true that huge swathes of the Midlands are now effectively no-go areas for whites.

But let's face reality; more people are dying in dirty hospitals than through terror attacks. And 19 children have committed suicide in Bridgend. When people try and sleep at night they don't lay awake thinking about terrorists, they worry about credit card bills and not seeing their kids and how they are going to hang on to their jobs. Many have a sense of inner despair.

Yes, there is a definite threat to our way of life from "immigrants", but it pales into insignificance compared to the fundamental decadence we appear to have chosen as a country. That decadence is the root cause of the alienation experienced by "terrorists".

Terrorists are born in a glib desultory moment. For Martin McGuiness it was being turned down for a job because he was a Catholic. That is how he explains the seed of hatred that caused him to plan and execute terrorist atrocities.

We worship money and fame. Our society is predicated on the getting of it. These are two things a poor Asian kid cannot have. His envy turns to greed. His greed is frustrated. His greed turns to hate. His hate turns to evil.

Don't any of us feel a tiny bit responsible?

20 April 2008 at 23:18  
Blogger mongoose said...

Powell was a man possessed of a very mighty intellect. Perhaps he was among the last of his kind in Parliament - a man who knew not just some Latin and a little Greek but Urdu too. He was a man who made one of the most un-racial(-ist) speeches ever made in the House of Commons - re the Hola Massacre. His political opposite, Denis Healey, patriotic warriors both, said that it was the finest speech he ever heard in that place. (If you can find the link - I cannot - please post it.)

The truth is that his towering intellect and academic honesty made him give a speech which was politically naive and innapropriately expressed. These are fatal in a politician. Powell did not have the political judgement to present his argument in an appropriately political way. He was perhaps one of those "educated out of his (political) wits".

I put him with the likes of Bob Marshall and Frank Field. These are people who tell the truth as they see it. Disagree with them as you see fit but do not doubt their honesty. I wish we had more of such folk.

OTOH I am a man born of an immigrant who came here, married and made a life. My old da though was of the white-skinned celtic variety. "Paddy-this and paddy-that" I put up with in the Sixties. It is only a short step from that to find someone even more exotic - perhaps of a different skin colour, and therefore easier - to mark out and marginalise.

21 April 2008 at 00:44  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Adolf would have been 119 yesterday. Shame all our modern day Hitlers don't ware jackboots and make Nazi salutes all day. At least we would be able to spot them more easily.

A good but often painful method, is to force yourself to watch some BBC current affairs output.

Then make a note as to who is popular with the BBC, especially the ones who are very popular indeed, while making absolutely no common sense whatsoever, other then to the respective rapidly nodding BBC presenter.

It is as good as 100% fool proof method of spotting a real fascist. Which is a person on an EU inspired and sponsored 'Common Purpose' mission to destroy your culture, prosperity, independent country, freedom, sanity, faith, family, and possibly existence, eventually.

Hitler may or may not have died in 1945. But Nazism and the racist ideas it used to great advantage, hardy even had more then a short term setback in 45. Followed swiftly by a partial change of setting, language and uniform.

Now its no more words like, Fascism, segregation, National Socialism, European Hegemony, Axis powers, Panza, correct papers, Gestapo, concentration camps, imperialism, USSR, slave worker, and mad dictator.

It is words like Common Purpose, quota system, diversity training, EUSSR, radical change, ASBO, ID cards, 90 odd days DWT, speed camera, New World Order, Credit Crunch, Cheap Chinese imports and firm leadership.

Or sentences like. "The leader has stated. 'It does not have to be a Brown shirt, although it sometimes helps. Any colour will do these days, as long as you can and do lift it, when required to do so.'"


21 April 2008 at 01:54  
Blogger Hibernia Girl said...

Bert: For example, a statistical analysis of empirical data demonstrates that Male IQ is more variable than female IQ. Consequently, nearly all really stupid people are male and nearly all really clever people are male, even though the difference between average male and average female IQ is less than five points. Of course there have been some female Nobel Laureates in the hard sciences but they are truly exceptional.

To further Bert's point, most PC-thinking people would be appalled to even hear about male/female IQ (or other) differences -- some would even be upset at hearing such a truth (although why, I'll never understand). They'd also prolly start in with the name-calling and refer to whomever dare utter these truths as a misogynist.

Pointing out differences between different groups of people at whatever level (races, ethnic groups, etc.) is not a racist act, just as pointing out differences between men and women does not make one a misogynist (or a misandrist for that matter).

21 April 2008 at 03:06  
Anonymous hear o israel said...

i think you will find enoch shot quite a few nazi enemies in ww2. your wrong to equate enoch with nazism he would have not truck with that at all.

what he is saying is that mass immigration would change the social fabric of the nation, into somthing less than its history had led to , and he saw trouble that would not be settled , once the indigenous peoples rights were taken away from them .

any nazi supporters have no legitamacey to idolise him or quote him . nazism is national socialism , enoch was national tory .

he was passionate enough about the problem to not want bloodshed and to risk his career .

he was trying to avert a problem as best he could illuminate before it got dire.

i look at this way "what has happened is nothing more than cultural exchange that has produced somthing with problems "

all encouraged by labour power seeking or niavety take your pick although i favour the former.

the figures are just alarming , its not hate, its just some sort of slow cultural dysfunction that has no happy ending for either party .

seriously when a major city will house a white minority , what will lie beyond that ??

21 April 2008 at 04:12  
Blogger Unsworth said...

Your Grace,

Let's accept your proposition that a definition may not "contain the revelation of a truth and it does not express the essence of a reality in a concept". Unless we can agree a definition we cannot debate. Hence my comment that it is necessary to define 'racism' and 'morality'. If we have different understandings as to what those words mean then we have a dialogue of the hearing impaired - if not deaf.

I'll broaden the view a little. 'Morality' may be based upon religious tenets - usually it is. However are there not a differences, say, between Muslim 'morality', Hindu 'morality', Buddhist 'morality' and the Judeo-Christian equivalent? Similarly - 'Racism' and 'Chauvinism' are perhaps similar but predicated upon different motives or emotions.

21 April 2008 at 10:08  
Anonymous steadmancinques said...

mongoose said 'knew some Latin and a little Greek' the man was a Professor of Classics at the age of 24! (Brisbane, I think)

To show how little racist he was, I will relate the following; in 1946, Enoch Powell was deputed to escort the Indian officer who was going to take over command of the Indian Army at independence on a tour of inspection. Arriving at Poona, Enoch was told that 'natives' were not permitted in the officer's mess, except as servants, let alone stay the night.

Enoch immediately withdrew his gear and went off with the officer (to my shame I cannot recall his name) to find a hotel where they could both stay together.
After his retirement, the Indian C-in-C would visit Britain annually. His first act was always to contact Enoch and arrange dinner.

Enoch was fluent in two Indian languages; he loved the country, and was truly appalled at the inter-communal slaughter that took place at independence. (let us not forget that Mahatma Ghandi had vowed to starve himself to death to try to end the violence, and was killed by a fellow Hindu).

It was a repeat of that situation, which he saw then in England as being 'a cloud no larger than a man's hand' that he foretold could arise in this country, if immigration was allowed to continue unchecked, and which he was desperate to avoid.

I see today that a St. George's Day parade, organised for the people of Bradford, has been cancelled for fear of inter-communal violence. How loudly do we have to shout 'ENOCH WAS RIGHT!?'

21 April 2008 at 10:58  
Blogger mongoose said...

steadmancinques: the man was a Professor of Classics at the age of 24! (Brisbane, I think)


And your anecdote adds to the evidence that he wasn't a racist in the way that we have come to use the word. And did he not decline to stand for the BNP when he parted company with the Tories? The BNP misunderstood him too.

21 April 2008 at 16:32  
Anonymous billy said...

Re reading all these threads it occurs t me that Enoch Powell was a MP because he wished to serve his country rather than himslf. Any of those around in our multicultural houses of Commons or Lords today?

21 April 2008 at 22:09  
Anonymous steadmancinques said...

Ann Widdecombe; Frank Field and er...mmmm;
now that Gwyneth Dunwoody has just died, can't think of anyone else offhand.
Anyone help us out?

22 April 2008 at 12:52  
Blogger mongoose said...


Bob Marshall-Andrews is a decent cove too.

22 April 2008 at 17:40  
Anonymous steadmancinques said...

Kate Hoey, too, come to think of it..

22 April 2008 at 17:53  
Anonymous billy said...

We are doing well; that's four.
I got the first two. B M-A I've never heard of and Kate Hoey I'm not sure about.

22 April 2008 at 18:27  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Magnificent rhetoric and scholarship but to monstrous end. He doesn't even come close to acknowledging the problem with the rubbish he spouted anywhere. God help us if you really think that reading the whole thing makes it any different.

24 April 2008 at 14:10  

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