Thursday, August 27, 2009

Mark Reckons Dan Hannan Is Right

Miss me?

If you want an example of what good blogging is all about, click HERE to read the LibDem blogger Mark Reckons' views of Dan Hannan's interview in which he explained why Enoch Powell was a great influence on him. Mark explains why he is sick and tired of the kneejerk attacks on Hannan. He's then taken to task in the comments by one or two of his readers. He patiently defends his line and a good debate is had by all.

Hannan is quite within his rights to explain why Powell influenced his politics. I met Enoch Powell and heard him speak. I have read some of his writings. I have read Simon Heffer's excellent biography of him. Those who attack Hannan for his influences do so without knowing anything about Powell except that one, infamous speech. Powell was the intellectual superior of 99% of his left wing critics. An hour in his company would convince anyone of that. You don't have to agree with someone for them to have an influence on you. We are all influenced to one extent or another by all those we come into contact with, whether it is consciously or subconsciously. And on Powell, Tony Blair was right when he said...
He was one of the great figures of 20th-century British politics, gifted with a brilliant mind
Is it now a crime to be influenced by such a person? Not in my eyes.

52 comments:

Neil J Ward said...

Well said Iain. I am not surprised mandelson and the rest of the labour party are constantly finding new ways to attack the conservatives.

They are facing a electoral wipe out come next year so they will try anything they can to discredit the tories and their other opponents.

Bird said...

You seem to imply, Iain, that the speech was an abberation.
It wasn't. Like everything Powell said, it was brutally honest. The only mistake was to use flowery, classical language - "river flowing with much blood", etc.
Like Boris Johnson, he couldn't help showing off his classical education. Unlike Johnson, he was a deeply serious man, who cared deeply about the future of the country he loved and saw uncontrolled immigration as the disaster it's proving to be.

Sunder Katwala said...

Iain

Yes, Up to a point, but only so far.

I very much agree with you about Simon Heffer's biography of Powell, which any critic of Powell would find enormously fair and a major achievement.

Some of the response has been a bit knockabout, but some of it has been informed too.

Hannan clearly makes a tactical and political mistake. Unless you are being mischevious, it is silly to cite Powell as a hero without saying something like "he may have been proved wrong on immigration, but we should listen to what he said abour Parliamentary sovereignty, or monetarism, or whatever it is that is doing the influencing.

I don't think he was dog-whistling. I do think he was probably being mildly mischevious (though before his NHS episode), not least because he created a v.minor stir around Enoch two years ago, and then wrote about how any Tory who mentions him knows they will kick up a storm.

So he had forewarned himself. He knows the internet has no borders. One might surmise that Hannan does consciously have something of a 'notoreity strategy' as being a transgressor of taboo subjects. Paul Waugh, who broke the story, Danny Finkelstein and Stephen Pollard don't take orders from Labour HQ, and they all took that view too. More power to him, you might say, for his fearlessness but some in his own party might think this self-indulgent. Labour are not displeased. Mr Cameron perhaps more so.

But I think Hannan makes a larger contentful mistake too, given that he is sincerely libertarian, because he did not praise Powell's views of sovereignty, but rather his understanding of what it is to be a nation. If he himself were to dig more deeply into Powell's views, he would find it enormously difficult to separate Powell's sense of nationhood from that on immigration.

Nigel Farage made a similar error in your v.interesting Total Politics interview. He said listening to Enoch would have given us better race relations, as if Powell had simply been for managed migration, tighter borders and fewer immigrants. If you do read Powell and take him seriously, it is quite clear that the question of nation was much more existential than that.

Iain Dale said...

Sunder, the interview was conducted some time ago I believe. But as Guido pointed out earlier...

Here is what Hannan wrote for the Telegraph in 2007 on the subject of how “any reference to Enoch Powell provokes huge controversy“

For what it’s worth, I think Enoch Powell was wrong on immigration. The civil unrest that he forecast, and that many feared in 1968, didn’t materialise. Britain assimilated a large population with an ease that few countries have matched. Being an immigrant myself, I have particular cause to be grateful for Britain’s understated cosmopolitanism.

Satisfied?

Dan The Man said...

No.

Sunder Katwala said...

Iain

Yes, of course, I absolutely accept that point. More than that, I quoted and linked that earlier Hannan post myself in the Liberal Conspiracy thread at 7am this morning, to make the same point, and was among the first people to do so. And I had explicitly written that I felt that neither Hannan (nor Farage) were dog-whistling, to disagree with Sunny Hundal's reading of Hannan's argument and motive before seeing that post.


However, it is in that very same post that Hannan notes that any Tory who mentions Enoch knows they will provoke a race row. (indeed, Hannan even quotes Matthew Parris' rather good A-Z joke "E is for Enoch. Enoch was right, of course. But we never specify what he was right about”.)

Do you think he had forgotten about this?

Or whose playground is it anyway?


It is at least possible there is a bid here to become a 'victim' of the left for bravely speaking his mind.

However, I think they both risk misreading what Powell's view of national independence was. If they want a modern Euroscepticism, Powell can't provide the content of it at all.

Tom Paine said...

No, the "crime" is to think at all. These people don't need to read books. They are hate-filled automata who know everything about everything, except that everything they know is as wrong as it is conventional. That doesn't stop them screaming abuse.

The electorate is so tired of being shouted down in this manner that it's becoming counter-productive. Which means David Cameron's cowardice under Labour fire may also be damaging.

Mark Clarke (Tooting) said...

I met Enoch Powell when I was in the sixth form. I had never heard of the rivers of blood speech or anything about Enoch Powell. He was just a former Conservative politician to me. I was introduced to him and he was incredibly inspirational. He had these piercing eyes and he launched a propos of nothing into a defence of Northern Ireland's status in the UK. I found him very charismatic.

And for those who assume he was a casual racist, the event was a Gallipoli memorial lecture, hosted by the Turkish embassy. Enoch Powell gave an empassioned speech for Turkey's inclusion in the our concept of the West. He argued that Turkey was a crossroads state which was an inspiration to the world and should be embraced. he said that because it wanted to be a part of the West we should not discriminate against it because of its Islamic heritage or location. It was a speech of passion and conviction which made me really sit up and think.

I have read his rivers of blood speech and, as someone of West Indian background, I don't like its tonality. But I do agree with his general thrust that assimilation is a better general approach than segregation when it comes to immigration. But I wish he had not made that speech because it made life more difficult for people in my family and also for Conservative politicians who wanted a rational debate on immigration. But I don't judge people's entire political career by one speech alone.

Dick Puddlecote said...

Exactly as Tom Paine said.

Socialists on both sides of the Atlantic don't like debate. They prefer to shut it down entirely.

Why bother tackling the issues raised if you can just smear the person who mentioned them, instead

Anthony Zacharzewski said...

It's a very fair point that Hannan's reference was to Powell's conception of national democracy rather than to his views on immigration. However, for all Powell was a very smart man, his views on the role of the nation state were entirely of the 50s Conservative Party. Not as unpalatable as his immigration opinions, but just as wrong and inappropriate for our times.

Sunder Katwala said...

Mark Clarke

I think you also mistake Powell's argument if you think it was a question of assimilation or segregation. (I think 'integration' a more sensible term). Powell's argument about the essence of nationhood was the near impossibility of integration for all but the tiniest minority not just of immigrants but of any immigrant-descended population, even generations hence.


Powell was always clear he did not believe "race" had any meaning, but he was a cultural essentialist about nation. This was why - by 1968 - he was arguing that tighter immigration had become much less important than the urgent national duty to repatriate as many of the immigrants as possible, because by 1985 it would be too late because of the number who were British-born.

So the problem was not one of "tonality" but of the really very poisonous policy being advocated, which is set out much more clearly in the later Eastbourne rather than the Birmingham speech.

That is why Powell spoke about "Time is running against us and them. With the lapse of a generation or so we shall at last have succeeded – to the benefit of nobody – in reproducing ‘in England’s green and pleasant land’ the haunting tragedy of the United States".

It is also why he went on to say this (in Eastbourne), which is I think rather more chilling than anything in the Rivers of Blood speech:

""We can perhaps not reduce the eventual total of the immigrant and immigrant-descended population, much, if at all, below its present size: with that, and with all that implies, we and our children and our children’s children will have to cope until the slow mercy of the years absorbs even that unparalleled invasion of our body politic".

Jimmy said...

"Satisfied?"

I noticed both you and Guido chopped off the following sentence.

kris said...

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/8223710.stm

Dan Hannan calls bs - unlike David Cameron.

I heart Dan

Siberian Tory said...

I have to say the last 24 hours have been an eye opener for me on Enoch Powell.

I rather rashly condemned Powell as a rascist on Guido's blog and was taken seriously to task by some of the commentators on there. A little research soon taught me I'd allowed myself to believe the nonesensical image of a racist bogey man some have chosen to paint.

I think I'll follow up on Iain's recommendation a read his biography.

I'm not really adding anything to the debate but I actually feel a little ashamed of myself so I guess this is a mea culpa.

Still not sure I agree with his immigration stance but I've certainly learned a lesson.

tapestry said...

Hannan did not make an error in evoking Enoch. His job, as regards his relationship with Cameron is to reduce the erosion of Conservative votes to small parties such as UKIP and the BNP.

Cameron has to hold the middle ground i.e. not rock the political boat and he can keep Gordon Brown on the mat. But the Blair-inspired middle ground strategy risks losing the strongly eurosceptic and others to the fringe parties, where Cameron's vote could be vulnerable.

Hannan is required to keep these voters in the tent.

Cameron and Hannan don't have to worry about broadcasting Hannan's message. Blinkered left wing journalists who think all agree with their viewpoint are the keenest to push Hannan's views in front of the audience.

The most interesting part of this strategy will be once the Conservatives are in power. Will Hannan be dismissed and sent back into the wings? Or drawn closer into the Cameron circle?

Labour's long years of rule were kept alive by Blair/Brown theatre, most of it but not all fabricated. Blair knew how useful the narrative of a running battle with his Chancellor was, and kept the story live for a decade, and Brown at his post.

Will Cameron now copy this strategy and allow Hannan to rise up and become a false challenger to his authority, to keep the media narrative focused on the Conservatives, in a similar way?

The idea has clearly occurred to someone.

tapestry said...

Hannan did not make an error in evoking Enoch. His job, as regards his relationship with Cameron is to reduce the erosion of Conservative votes to small parties such as UKIP and the BNP.

Cameron has to hold the middle ground i.e. not rock the political boat and he can keep Gordon Brown on the mat. But the Blair-inspired middle ground strategy risks losing the strongly eurosceptic and others to the fringe parties, where Cameron's vote could be vulnerable.

Hannan is required to keep these voters in the tent.

Cameron and Hannan don't have to worry about broadcasting Hannan's message. Blinkered left wing journalists who think all agree with their viewpoint are the keenest to push Hannan's views in front of the audience.

The most interesting part of this strategy will be once the Conservatives are in power. Will Hannan be dismissed and sent back into the wings? Or drawn closer into the Cameron circle?

Labour's long years of rule were kept alive by Blair/Brown theatre, most of it but not all fabricated. Blair knew how useful the narrative of a running battle with his Chancellor was, and kept the story live for a decade, and Brown at his post.

Will Cameron now copy this strategy and allow Hannan to rise up and become a false challenger to his authority, to keep the media narrative focused on the Conservatives, in a similar way?

The idea has clearly occurred to someone.

Not a sheep said...

"Hannan is quite within his rights to explain why Powell influenced his politics. I met Enoch Powell and heard him speak. I have read some of his writings." You do realise to many of the unthinking on the knee-jerk left that comment condemns you to being a racist.

Bryan Dunleavy said...

I too met Enoch Powell in the 1960s and could not fail but be impressed by the force of his personality and the power of his intellect. The subsequent furore about his stance on immigration led me to the insight, which I have held to since, that intellectuals can be dangerous in politics and that political leadership is best left to less gifted individuals.
Powell's intervention on race has had the unfortunate effect of suppressing any debate on integration and assimilation. Not a positive legacy.

killemallletgodsortemout said...

Miss you? Where's me fakkin' postcard?

Enoch was right. The blood was already flowing in Brixton some years ago, and it will flow again in Luton soon. OK, so it didn't flow into the river, but let's not split hairs.

61 million now on this island, according to Radio 4 this morning, something to do with immigration.

Hmmmm?

strapworld said...

Well written Bird. Sums up the man nicely.

Perhaps what he forecast may still occur!

Anonymous said...

Sunder Katwala quoted

"""We can perhaps not reduce the eventual total of the immigrant and immigrant-descended population, much, if at all, below its present size: with that, and with all that implies, we and our children and our children’s children will have to cope until the slow mercy of the years absorbs even that unparalleled invasion of our body politic".

When one studies conflicts in towns and cities -which are, strangely not reported- when one sees towns and cities being transformed into asian/middle eastern towns etc. When women are forced to wear clothes hiding their faces in this country of free men and women. One then ponders... just what is wrong about this quotation?

Sunder Katwala may wish to enlighten us as to just what is wrong or frightening about this quotation?

Glyn H said...

Useful post Iain, and welcome back, and the comment from Mark Clarke is a good contribution. Powell has become the whipping boy for every lefty commentator but why do so few, when rebutting this abuse point out that Brown did his PhD on one Maxton, a Communist trade union militant, that Mandelson was an active Communist as recently as the 1970’s, Darling was an active Trotskyite. The humbuggery and hypocrisy of the left is HUGE. Hannan is one of the few to start a fight back against this tide of dross that has disfigured this country and its government since 1997.

David Boothroyd said...

I liked Tony Blair's comment because he obviously had in mind the famous remark about Sir Stafford Cripps: "He has a brilliant mind, until it is made up". Even if you could discount Powell's intervention on immigration (and you can't), there is plenty to object to about Powell, and especially for a Conservative.

He co-ordinated the entire Treasury team in resigning over spending cuts in 1958, severely destabilizing Macmillan at a vulnerable time. He refused to serve at all under Douglas-Home. As Shadow Defence Minister his opposition to Atlanticism came to the fore.

During the Heath government Powell was the most rebellious of all MPs, and not just on Europe. He ended the Parliament by doing a deal with Joe Haines to do the maximum damage to Heath's election prospects. Returning as an Ulster Unionist he was quite willing to bargain his vote to support the Labour government.

While Powell may have approved of the Thatcher government's economic policy, he spat out his vehement personal opposition to her on Northern Ireland and also endorsed unilateralism.

It strikes me that with Powell's consistent undermining of Conservative Party leaders, David Cameron should beware Daniel Hannan's endorsement of him.

HeartAttackSurvivor said...

Jimmy: "I noticed both you and Guido chopped off the following sentence". Conveniently omitting to actually mention the content of the following sentence, in an obvious attempt to make us think that he followed it up with something like "but I wish the wogs would just go home anyway".
FYI, here it is:
"To be sure, inward migration should be controlled: we want a rough sense of whom we are admitting and in what numbers; and (in large part because of Europe) we are losing that sense."
Hardly controversial and in fact it is sound policy, whatever colour your political affiliations.
And it is followed by: "But a measure of legal settlement can benefit a country."
Pipe - insert - smoke it.

wapping boy said...

For an indication of the intellectual poverty of the Left and an example of its knne-jerk reaction to any mention of Enoch Powell, just pop over to Labourlist and digest what passes for pithy debate on this issue:

http://www.labourlist.org/hannan_enoch_powell_is_a_political_influence_on_me

I agree with Bird that the real lesson of the "rivers of blood" speech is that most people these days are too stupid to understand an allusion to anything other than sport or pop music.

Windsor Tripehound said...

... Those who attack Hannan for his influences do so without knowing anything about Powell except that one, infamous speech ...

And I doubt that they've even read that speech

Anonymous said...

Three cheers for Daniel Hannan .

Unsworth said...

Miss you? Obviously. I'll just have to have another go at it.


Anyway. Powell's main disadvantage was a reliance on his audiences' ability to follow his logic and reasoning. Much of what he said was not properly understood and, as today, the print media were hungry for good copy. So his published views were often interpreted or corrupted by others.

Stunning academic though he was, he was far too trusting. Perhaps Hannan is, as well.

Nice to see decent debate here - notably from Sunder Katwala and Mark Clarke. But do we not think that things have moved on since those times? I'd agree that racism exists in our society, but many people have been surprised to note the insularity and downright hostility displayed by some immigrant communities. It seems that such groups as the Jews, the Italians, even the Lombards have been accepted more easily than those having different (non-white) skin colours.

Would Powell have taken this stance if, say, the immigrants were white? Judging by his published views I think he would.

Anonymous said...

Iain,

I don't know why you seem so keen to damp down the needed debate on immigration.

We know from opinion polls that most people (from all parties and ethnic groups) want to see an end to continued mass immigration.

We know (from left-leaning Robert Putnam's major piece of research) that as communities become more multicultural social capital breaks down.

People draw in on themselves like a turtle going into its shell, said Putnam (who really didn't want to release his results, and tried long and hard to find another variable to explain the breakdown in community cohesion).

This kind of thing needs to be talked about - how else can our 'broken society' be fixed?

We won't fix it by ignoring what even a diversity-embracing researcher – one of the leading public intellectuals of our age – admits is a - the? - major factor in causing our 'broken society'.

Donut Hinge Party said...

1. If a politician from a right of centre party came out and said he fully believed in Nietzche's idea of the Ubermensch, would the reaction of the general population be to:

a) congratulate him for his understanding of his understanding of Nietzche's metaphorical post-Hegelian concept of the internal dialect, how we should create surroundings that allow genius to flourish in all, how we should all aspire to perfection and how greatness can come from all. . .

b) Hear the word Uberman and think "NAZI!!"

2. Assuming the politician was possessed of some understanding of the general level of eductation of his audience, which one of the two do you think he would intend his audience to infer?

R. Blake said...

Excellent to hear some common sense. Though I disagree on a fundamental level with Hannan's NHS indictment, from what I've seen recently I truly admire the fact that he isn't afraid to speak his mind. Isn't this what we've always wanted from our politicians?
--
Best,
R Blake
<><><>
openprism.blogpsot.com

trevorsden said...

Since the great mass of British people agree with Powell it does not sound a good idea to me for Labour to bring this up.

When Powell resigned fro the Tories (a mistake which brought about what he wanted to avoid) the Tory vote in the Midlands dropped significantly.

PS Brown has just shafted himself again with his backbenchers - according to the Times
http://www.spectator.co.uk/coffeehouse/5292651/brown-faces-another-backbench-revolt-.thtml

Anonymous said...

I do have to say, though, I love WE GLadstone - doyenne of the Left, whipping boy for Disraeli, collector of fallen women (which I perhaps naively believe was innocent).

That said, have you heard his speech on the Turks - admittedly, after a war?

"Let me endeavor, very briefly to sketch, in the rudest outline what the Turkish race was and what it is. It is not a question of Mohammedanism simply, but of Mohammedanism compounded with the peculiar character of a race. They are not the mild Mohammedans of India, nor the chivalrous Saladins of Syria, nor the cultured Moors of Spain. They were, upon the whole, from the black day when they first entered Europe, the one great anti-human specimen of humanity. Wherever they went a broad line of blood marked the track behind them, and, as far as their dominion reached, civilization vanished from view. They represented everywhere government by force as opposed to government by law.—Yet a government by force can not be maintained without the aid of an intellectual element.— Hence there grew up, what has been rare in the history of the world, a kind of tolerance in the midst of cruelty, tyranny and rapine. Much of Christian life was contemptuously left alone and a race of Greeks was attracted to Constantinople which has all along made up, in some degree, the deficiencies of Turkish Islam in the element of mind!"

True Belle said...

One would assume that the benefits derived from arriving on these British shores as immigrant muslim women, would be to cast aside the old traditions of covering up their heads and faces and discard their submissive attitude to men, thus taking hold of the wonderful advantages that British women fought hard for over a hundred years ago.

strapworld said...

David Booothroyd paints just part of the story.

Powell detested Heath (and Heath him!) because of Heath's complete devotion to the Common Market. He was aware of the sell out of our Fishing Industry etc. and it was because of the Labour Party's opposition (at that time) to the common market, that created the extremely unusual stance of asking people to support Labour.

He refused to join Alec Douglas Hume's cabinet because he believed, rightly, that Macmillan in a fit of pique, and with party grandee's, on his sickbed refused to hand the baton to the one man the party wanted, namely RAB Butler. Powell was disgusted.

Powell was a man of principle as is one of his great parliamentary friends
Micheal Foot.

If Powell was as bad as Boothroyd paints him, I suggest that such a man of principle as Foot, would have no time for him!

trevorsden said...

I do not see how Powell could be accused of coordinating the resignation of his superior, Thorneycroft.

Powells resignation did not prevent a Tory landslide victory. I do not see how resigning on principle (right or wrong) can harm a political party.

Does Boothroyd say Cook was not respected in the Labour Party?

Powell lets not forget started the closure of the great psychiatric institutions and a hospital rebuilding programme.

trevorsden said...

Strap - Powell wanted to see Turkey as part of the Wast and saw Britain's political future in Europe. he did not see us as a world peacekeeper. He probably would not have supported Iraq or Afghanistan, indeed after the invasion of Kuwait ihe said we should not go to war. I for one cannot agree with Powell's views on this but we have to recognise the limits of what we can do.

The contradictions are all part of Powell being too intellectual for his own good and its dodgy anyone using Powell as a beacon.

John said...

Killi... said

"The blood was already flowing in Brixton some years ago"

Nonsense!

As somebody who lived in Brixton close to the affected areas, I can tell you that the 1981 Brixton riots were about opressive policing and drugs, not race or immigration.

The smaller disturbances of 1985 and 1995 were, respectively, about the police shooting of an innocent woman and the death in custody of a young man.

All three involved mixed groups of white and black people reacting to "authority". Attempts by the police and media to portray them otherwise were as predictable as they were incorrect.

Brixton was in the 70s to 90s, despite many difficulties a great place to live, people were friendly and tolerant. I moved away because of work but have never found the same community anywhere else.

peterporcupine said...

I met the man twice and I liked him.
Here's my take:-

http://web.mac.com/spunter1/Steve_Punter_Web_2/The_Bumblebee_Blog/Entries/2006/9/12_On_meeting_Mr_John_Enoch_Powell.html

Francis Turner said...

You can add me to the list of people actually met Enoch Powell while I was an inky schoolboy. I wrote about it 4 years ago in the aftermath of the tube bombings.

I'd like to expand on the difficulty of assimilation idea. The problem according to Powell (and IMHO he's yet to be proven wrong) is that humans have a built in suspicion of "the other" and so when you introduce "the other" into a community it will tend to ghettoize no matter what you try to do about it.

This can of course be overcome eventually but recall that in 1968 (and even in the Rodney King beating of 1991) the US was struggling with racism and handling minorities. Going on the UK experience in N Ireland 300 years isn't necessarily enough time for strife free relations between immigrants and natives - even when the two are genetically almost identical. Powell no doubt looked at that, and at other long past mass immigrations such as the Spanish into Latin America or the Mughuls into India, and noted the persistently festering issues between the two groups.

That doesn't mean I think (or that Powell thought) we should chuck the immigrants out. Au contraire I think they should stay and we should work to help them integrate, indeed many of them (and their children) make valuable contributions to the UK.

However denying that there is a problem is sure to lead to the problem not being resolved.

Sean Haffey said...

The problem is that 99% of the voting public only remember the "Rivers of Blood" speech. And Labour take advantage of that.

That's politics, unfortunately.

Ted said...

I largely agree with David Boothroyd's analysis. Powell, hugely intelligent and charismatic though he was, preferred to stick to a principled position rather than knuckle down to the long haul and the inevitable compromises that come with accumulating a track record in government. Unambiguous positions always are attractive, and it is useful to have someone in the body politic behaving that way, but it doesn't necessarily contribute much to good government. It would be a huge waste if Mr Hannan took that road himself - he shows every sign of enjoying too much the easy applause that goes with it.

With Powell, where I feel the gloss comes off his principled stances, is that he seemed through his career to change his position 180 degrees. This was a man who went from not being religiously observant to being immensely high church; who went from being totally pro empire to being an isolationist. As an intellectual, he enjoyed too much the thrill that came with being a rabble rouser - the choice of language in his rivers of blood speech (whip hand etc) was too calculated to inflame. The points could have been made with less inflamatory language, but he was deliberately playing the race card for personal political gain. And got it wrong.

Anonymous said...

hannan and powell are the nasty torys eveyone hates,except the weirdo bunch of tories like kavavagh,fraser nelson,etc.

strapworld said...

Trevors Den. Enoch was not in favour of the Common Market as he could see the way it was directed towards a United States of Europe, which Brown has now consigned us to!

Your friend Cameron will not hold the referendum, if the Irish say YES. Believe me! We are, as in true Dads Army parlance Doomed!

Read the excellent autobiography by Simon Heffer.

His views on Turkey, I believe,were Nato based!

I was very lucky to have known Enoch Powell. My father was his agent in Wolverhampton and I met him regularily.

Keith Elliott said...

Iain

I agree with everything you say. I disagree profoundly with Powell's views on race relations, but that doesn't stop me agreeing with his arguments on democracy and sovereignty, or respecting his intellect.

As for knee jerk reactions...Mandelson's reponse was entirely predictable and pathetic...but then so was the Tory response to David Milibands thoughtful comments on Joe Slovo and justification for acts of 'terrorism.'

If we want grown up political debate in Britain then all sides have to grow up, and I include my own party, the Lib Dems in that.

Thomas Rossetti said...

I entirely agree with you, Iain.

Over here (in America), Barack Obama was quite unfairly criticised during the Democratic debates for praising certain aspects of Reaganism. Surely one can pay tribute to a certain aspect of someone's character -- or certain things they've said -- without supporting them entirely.

Enoch Powell was right about a lot of things.

trevorsden said...

Strap- Powell was anti American and anti EU. You can be both I suppose but where that leaves Britain I am not sure.

If I thought we had any influence I the EU I would be happy - apart from the unaccountable way the EU works (something which Cameron has said he would oppose and seek to reform) - but we do not. If I trusted the Democrats I would be happy to support America, but I don't.

So life is complicated. Powell for all his virtues (and I am happy to agree with him [and you] on many things) was too fond of his own intellectual certainty. Ultimately that left him without influence. I too can admire Powell, but in the end all he achieved was - nothing.

Well that's not completely true, you can take your own views and learn from his mistakes.

Dimoto said...

The erudite Dan Hannan should ponder the thought that "libertarian Conservatism" is just an oxymoron. Perhaps he means "self-indulgent Conservatism" ? Does he understand the meaning of libertarianism ?

Jimmy said...

Actually my impression always was that Powell had no respect for his party leader and was seeking to undermine him by raising a provocative issue which he knew would cause embarrassment.

I wonder in what way he was an influence on Hannan?

The Oncoming Storm said...

Powell was a hugely complex man who was probably his own worst enemy. His big mistake was his choice of rhetoric for Rivers of Blood which was ill judged and incendiary. Had he given that speech in a more considered and less apocalyptic way then he may have achieved more in regards immigration.

When you read about Powell's beliefs you set that he was far ahead of the Conservative Party on social policy. He vehmently opposed the death penalty as "repugnant," and was against capital punishment in schools. He also pushed to legalise homosexuality and abortion and advocated no fault divorces. What I most admire him for was his impassioned denunciation of the brutal killing of 11 Mau Mau prisoners at the Hola Camp in Kenya, giving in the process what Denis Healey called the greatest speech he ever heard in Parliament.

He actually was my MP for the first 11 years of my life, I'm from Newry in Northern Ireland and he was elected MP for South Down shortly after I was born and he was my MP until we moved house in 1985. Of course I was too young to know just what a giant figure he was!

Brit.in.Aussie said...

The Oncoming Storm:

He vehmently opposed the death penalty as "repugnant," and was against capital punishment in schools.

I should hope so too...

allnottinghambasearebelongtous said...

You and Neil Hamilton both eh Dale?

http://www.dailyexpress.co.uk/posts/view/24849

Not that Hamilton is, or ever was, a serious political figure but then neither is Hannan. Or Dale for that matter...

Note the BNP support in the comments. It's probably not the Tory party where Powell's views get the most support.

It's also a bit of a positive spin that Powell was trying to put serious arguments about 'mass' immigration. In fact, the lion's share of his speech was to argue against the first race equality laws that were about to be introduced. What's more he invented a story about a supposed constituent in order to do it.

So that's lying to add to the blatant racism. Some might also see it as bit of a betrayal of the West Indies workers brought over by Powell when he was Health Secretary some years before, who had saved the NHS.