THE RIOTS IN THE UNITED KINGDOM: WAS ENOCH POWELL RIGHT AFTER ALL?
"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....
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....
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".
Enoch Powell, "Speech to the Conservative Association of Birmingham," 20 April 1968.
Of course it is almost absurdly 'bien-pensant' to shout down as 'racist', et cetera, by our post-enlightenment, Liberal bourgeois cosmopolitan elites, the brillant cut-glass reasoning & logic displayed by Powell in the speech which (in a grave misfortune) en faite ended his political career as a front-rank politician in British politics. Making him, in conjunction with Lord Randolph Churchill and Sir Oswald Mosley the three great prematurely exploded comets of British politics in the last one-hundred and fifty years. The question that I have, in light of the recent riots in London and other urban centers of the United Kingdom is: was Powell right?Given the fact that the vast majority of the canaille who constituted the rioters were non-European, mostly Afro-Caribbean in origins. Just the same as in the riots of 1981, which the current variety seems to resemble 1. Aside from the fact that the Metropolitan Police have in the past twenty to twenty-five years, been inexcusably permissive and lacking in forcefulness in policing the streets of London and other urban centers; can anyone doubt that sans these non-British, non-European elements in the United Kingdom, that neither the riots of 1981 or those of this week have occurred? The question answers itself and at the same time answers whether or not Powell was right. The great sadness is that the United Kingdom currently lacks a politician who possesses Powell's vision, brilliance of mind and all-around general culture 2.
1. For the composition of the rioters, both now and in 1981, see: Martin Bright, "A Crisis that has been brewing for years." The Spectator. 9th August 2011, in www.spectator.co.uk; Bob Sherwood, "Alienation and Communication fuelled unrest." The Financial Times.10 August 2011, in www.ft.com.
2. For those ignorant of such things, all one needs to remember is that Powell, graduated with a Double First at Trinity, Cambridge. Was named Professor of Classics at the advanced age of twenty-five. Wrote three books of poetry in the course of his life, in addition to an erste-klasse biography of Joseph Chamberlain. And wrote a Lexicon to Herodotus, a revised edition of Stuart-Jones's Thucydides' Historiae and finally for Yale University Press at the end of his life, a new translation from the Greek of the First Book of the Gospel.