>It was interesting over the weekend to see the furore about the prospective Conservative parliamentary candidate Nigel Hastilow and the reaction to his contention that “Enoch Powell was right”. In the end of course, he quit. If you look at what Mr Hastilow, a journalist, actually wrote it seems, on the face of it, rather difficult to take issue. But what happened? Well suddenly, the government turned both barrels on the man and his party panicked. As a result off he goes into the sunset.
Now, Enoch Powell made his famous speech in 1968, two years before I was born. So, in a spirit of research I went and found the full text of the “Rivers of Blood” speech so that I could, as a confirmed lefty, see exactly what was being rather carelessly bandied around. The worst thing is, though much of the language is intemperate, the speech itself is actually rather prescient. During the speech he talks about Commonwealth migration and the positive effects of integration. He certainly is not calling to “send ’em all back”. What is more interesting though, not to mention worrying, is that much of what he predicted has indeed happened. We see ethnic ghettoes, we have seen differences in treatment between ethnic groups, we have seen violence and strife in Toxteth, Brixton, Handsworth, Oldham and many other places. And many of the statistics Powell quoted about population are even now broadly correct.
So, in many senses, Enoch Powell was right. As a lefty this makes me feel decidedly uncomfortable, but it’s something I must face. Unchecked mass immigration has changed the character of the country substantially. That is irrefutable. In some senses it has been positive, in others not. And in some cases it has poisoned the well for those second and third generation (and more) ethnic populations who were born here and think of themselves, quite rightly, as being as British as anyone else.
And what was the reaction from the Conservative party? Well, George Osborne’s reaction was most instructive:
“Candidates of any party – Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat – have to exercise great caution in the language they use about immigration.”
Roughly translated this means, “For God’s sake don’t actually say what you really think, you might upset someone”. Multiculturalism is rapidly becoming, in a political sense, the elephant in the room and no one seems to want to admit it’s there. And that is the real issue because nothing is solved everyone is left in a kind of limbo. There are no easy solutions but it seems as if people are not allowed to admit that there might even be a problem. And politicians wonder why the public hold them in such contempt…