Friday, April 18, 2008

Simon Heffer to Address Conservative History Group

Monday sees the fortieth anniversary of Enoch Powell's Rivers of Blood speech. So to anlayse the impact of the speech on Powell's career and on British politics, the Conservative History Group will be holding a speaker meeting next Monday 21 April at 6.30pm in the Thatcher Room at Portcullis House.

The speakers are Powell's biographer Simon Heffer and Nicholas Hillman, who has written about Enoch Powell for the Conservative History Journal. If you would like to attend, please drop me an email.

Membership of the CHG costs £15 a year. To join, send a cheque payable to the Conservative History Group, PO Box 279, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, TN2 4WJ.

The next speaker meeting is on June 17th when Ffion Hague will be talking about her new book on Lloyd George and his women. In the autumn Andrew Roberts will be addressing the group.

The Conservative History Group blog is HERE.


Tony said...

Sorry to ask the bleedin' obvious, but are there problems with again?

Iain Dale said...

Tony, thanks for the alert. Have asked my web guy to look into it.

Scipio said...

can you record and webcast the lecture? I cannot make the date but would love to be able to download it

Anonymous said...

Off topic, Iain, I accept, but I just read this:

Britain's budget deficit is not the largest for 15 years - and that's just when the records started, not a time when it was higher.

We're not well-placed going into a slowdown.

Newmania said...

I would love to go to that. Will Quentin Davies be there Iain? Keen member I gather

asquith said...

Simon Heffer is Conservative history, so it's mighty appropriate ;)

Bert Rustle said...

Enoch Powell's 1968 speech is mentioned in a BBC poll conducted to mark it's fortieth anniversary.

Britons fear race violence - poll

... Britain's last serious race riots - when violent clashes erupted between white and Asian youths in northern England - happened seven years ago. ...

This conveniently omits the more recent case in Birmingham of rioting between Blacks and Asians where a man was killed.

Anonymous said...

stuart said...
"Britain's budget deficit is NOT 9(sic) the largest for 15 years - and that's just when the records started, not a time when it was higher."

I think the 'NOT' is spurious.

However, it is only a record for the month of March not for all months.

Anonymous said...

Bert Rustle said...
"... last serious race riots - seven years ago ... - This conveniently omits the more recent case in Birmingham of rioting between Blacks and Asians where a man was killed."

When people express concern about race riots they are really referring to Whites versus Blacks or Asians. Somehow, clashes between coloured groups don't count to the same extent and are not considered to be 'serious'.

tory boys never grow up said...

I've reread Powell's speech and putting aside the racial hatred it whipped up at the time, and Powell was an experienced enough politician to know that this would happen, its central predictions were just plain wrong - e.g 5 to 7 million Commonwealth immigrants in 2000 - actual figure was c3.5m per the 2001 census, as as for seeing "rivers of blood"?

The speech was plain wrong 40 years ago and is even more wrong today. I hope Cameron has the guts to follow Heath and drive the Powellite scum out of the Tory party.

Anonymous said...

I have great respect for Simon Heffer for having the courage to defend Powell publicly while having to endure the vile abuse of the left. It's clear now that Powell was right, as most people believed he was at the time, and that he should have been listened to. I second the suggestion of recording the debate.

asquith said...

Camoron take on the far right? Dream on.

Scipio said...

Tory Boy - Powellite Scum? I would like you to justify that comment. Am I Powellite scum? After all I think he was ahead of his time, and agree with his central thesis - unchecked mass immigration will lead to racial tensions.

I am not a racist in any way. I am a pragmatist however, and think that multiculturalism is simply doomed to fail. So did Powell!

Scum? How come he was defended as a man of integrity by so many on the left? Tony Benn etc!

He did not deliberately whip up racial tension as you suggest, but spoke with integrity about an issue which the arrogant and pompous Heath was refusing to address - and which the main parties continue to ignore today due to the fear of political correct thought-fascism!

The fact that toss pots like Roy Hattersley say 'I hated him then and I hate him now" only adds to Powells credibility!

His central prediction, that mass unchecked immigration would cause racial tensions, has proved correct. Just ask Trevor Phillips who today makes exactly this point.

Trevor Philips is black by the way!!! He is also a former communist and head of the council for race relations - or some such quango! Is he Powellite scum too?

Secondly, if you ever get the chance to see his interview with David Frost, do so. It is him talking about himself in his own words - a far more reliable way to judge the man that simply regurgitating what others saying they thought he meant!

The interview will utterly dispel the notion that Powell was a racist. He gave a defence of his position which was based on the position that cultural differences exist, that no one culture (white/asian/afro-Caribbean) is superior to another, that we are all equal but different, and that immigration policy should not simply be an open door policy.

Other than the numbers, which would have been impossible to predict, and were affected by changes in policy after his speech, can you point t anything he said that was proven wrong?

No? He even predicted the rise of the rise of the National Front as a political force in the 70's! He abhorred the NF by the way!

If you research his history - his meteoric rise through the ranks of the Royal Waricks in India (see James Allason's autobiography for more details), the fact that he was a classics professor yet not from an upper class background, and his love of the civilizing aspects of the British empire, you will see he is simply a deeply intelligent, thoughtful, principled and much maligned and misunderstood man who had more sympathy and resonance with the man on the street than any of the lipspickle excuses for politicians we have today.

He was loved by many - including his friends who came from all races, religions and classes.

A little tip if I may - know your history before casting around words which are hard to justify.

asquith said...

I might add that Powell was among the few Tories to support the liberal reforms of the 1960s, such as the legalisation of homsexuality (Thatcher agreed on this matter: both voted against the Tory whip to support liberalisation). He was also opposed to the death penalty and imperialism. Not a one-dimensional figure.

But I think he was basically mistaken. And the dockers who marched in support of him were certainly mistaken: dockers supporting an ardent capitalist? Surely not. It was the first example of "the white working class" being misled by the usual suspects, when in fact they (we) have more in common with immigrants than with the likes of Nick Griffin and Richard Littleknob.

Anonymous said...

If Ffion Hague is writing a book on "Lloyd George and his women" then it promises to be a long as the Harry Potter series, sadly without the attendant profits.

Scipio said...

Asquith. Powell was essentially a grammar school boy made good. His background was lower middle class, and came from a background of teachers, policemen and even a miner. He had an enormous intellect and a giant brain.

He was a professor of classics, managed to rise through the ranks - starting as a private - of the military to become a Brigadier (according to a contemporary, through his sheer brilliance), a poet, author, theologian, linguist and lots more beside. He got a double first, spoke and wrote Welsh fluently, was also able to read, write and speak Urdu, and was close to Neiztsche and A E Housman! In short - he had a brain the size of a small planet!

He was well known for his dislike of Hilter and critical of Chamberlain's appeasement of the Nazis. Hardly typical of a racist!

He was also fiercely anti-American, regarding them as dangerous to British interests. Again, a curious and little known aspect to his views.

He was, due to his humble background, pretty suspicious of the establishment, and certainly held little respect for them. He had an affinity for the common man - whether the private in the army or the tea wallah!

I regard Powell as essentially a romantic who struggled to come to terms with the tumultuous changes which the end of the war brought about, but also someone who approached things from a logical perspective. For example, he concluded that once India became independent, then the whole Empire should follow suit. He was scathing of the compromise of the Commonwealth.

What really p****s me off about people who look at Powell only through the microscope of the Rivers speech, is that so much else about the man is ignored. For example, look at how when visiting Kenya, he spoke out against atrocities being committed against the Mau Mau. He argued that just because the Mau Mau were African and black, this did not excuse treating them any differently from white people. A racist - I don't think so!

He was also a moderate man. He refused to join the Orange Order when he became a UUP MP, refused the stand as an NF candidate (whom he despised) and warned against passing ill thought out legislation after the IRA started bombing the mainland.

He was a Thatcherite before Thacther. A nationalist, but not an imperialist. A patriot, a romantic, and someone who cared deeply.

I wish only that people would read and research the man before casting about all kinds of allegations, and avoid viewing him only through the perspective of one speech.

As you rightly pointed out, he was a very socially liberal person.

tory boys never grow up said...

Powellite scum = those who exaggerate problems with immigration (e.g by making inaccurate predictions about immigrant numbers and their impact on British life - see my original posting) knowing all too well the racist reaction that would occur.

I agree with you that Powell was an intelligent man - so he would have known all too well that
that his comments would heighten racial tension - and there is absolutely no doubt that they did at the time. And he certainly made no attempt to calm things down afterwards. Yes I do know my history!

I am not denying that Powell had integrity - he believed in what he said and he knew what he was doing. But your attempts to elicit Tony Benn and Trevor Phillips in support of his position are not credible and hold no water whatsover. Benn in his diaries talked about Powell opening Pandora's box and even made a comment about Powell needing to have someone to look down on and this is the way he does it.

Do you like Powell believe in repatriation? - and remember when
Powell spoke the coloured population was much smaller than it is now. Do you seriously think it is appropriate in this day and age to use the language of Powell's speech e.g blacks having the whip hand and worse? If anyone cares to re-read the speech they will see it is of precious little relevance to the current situation - and its tone is completely out of tune with where we are now.

I appreciate that Powell had more than one side to his personality, and yes I have seen the David Frost interview. But on race, I stongly believe he and his supporters were very wrong. I also disagree with his views on Monetarism, Europe and Indian Independence.

That is not to argue that there is an issue about multiculturalism and how we wish culture to develop in this country. But I suspect this largely depends on how you define multiculturalism. I am happy to stand against multiculturalism - if it measns something like apartheid where there is no integration of differing cultures. But if by opposing multiculturalism you mean fossillising British culture so that it doesn't change and becomes closed to outside influences then I'm fervently in favour.

I can be as dewy eyed and sentimental about the great things in British culture and will fight to preserve them - and I actually believe that the good things are more than capable of standing up to outside influences. But that doesn't mean that there aren't bad things in our culture that I don't like - remember that slavery, child labour and bear baiting were all part of British culture once; or that our culture cannot be improved by outside influences (and if you don't believe this may I suggest you strip yourself naked, paint yourself with woad and run around stone circles for your entertainment as that really was the height of pure British culture.

As for whether you fit my definition of Powellite scum - you can decide whether you want to wear that cap.

"Patriotism has nothing to do with Conservatism. It is actually the opposite of Conservatism,since it is a devotion to something that is always changing and yet is felt to be mystically the same. it is the bridge between the future and the past"

Scipio said...

Tory Boy: A lot of points to answer.

1. Do I support repatriation? Only if it is voluntary, unforced and I don't have to pay for it. Do I welcome inward immigration to this country? Yes absolutely, as long as it is managed and doesn't put people who already live here at a disadvantage. Do I want ghettoised immigrant communities - absolutely not. I want people who live in this country to buy into the mainstream British culture and prosper as a result, contributing and receiving in equal amounts, whilst hanging onto their roots and own history. I don't think that the post-Scarman race relations practices have worked however. They have made a bad situation worse. Do I have a problem with Black people or Asian people? If I do, it won't be because of the colour of their skin or their religion, but because of the choices they make and the values they espouse - and it would be exactly the same if they were white indigenous. I judge people on the basis of the things they do, not because of things they can do nothing about! That is why, like Powell, I am not a homophobe! Someone's genetic makeup is irrelevant to me, where as the choices they make are crucial.

2. For some, Conservatism is 'patriotism', that notion of 'King and country', duty, honour etc. Especially for the old high Tory. In many respects, as a romatic British nationalist, Powell fitted this description. This is an important strand of Conservative sentiment and thinking.

2. Powell was not deliberately exaggerating the number of immigrants - merely extrapolating forward the then rates of immigration, which later fell. He was simply saying that "at the current rate, in ten years time...". Not the use of the 'if' concept!

3. The 'whip hand' comment. Well, I would argue that his prediction is now largely true. Post Scarman, BME communities do indeed seem to have a great deal more rights, leeway and ability to get away with things which non BMEs wouldn't, because PC thinking means that all someone has to do is accuse someone of racism, and the whole debate shuts down.

For example, an Asian is attacked in the street, and the police ask "do you think it was racially motivated". If the guy says "yes" it is recorded as a racially aggravated incident, simply because someone 'perceives' it to be so - without anyone needing to justify the accusation. Just look at how lottery funding will not go to any any group which cannot prove they have spent time considering diversity issues and the needs of BME communities - even when there is no evidence to suggest that this approach is needed, relevant or appropriate. I know a project in Wales - a scheme to open up access to the countryisde - was denied lottery funding because it did not have a specific plan to encourage BME communities to use the countryside more!

When you get Asians and Black people saying they are fed up with do-gooders getting offended on their behalf, you have to ask 'have things gone too far'! It is situations like this which fuels the real scum in society - the BNP!

This whole post-Scarman approach is actually inverted racism and deeply offensive to BMEs, basically saying that they are incapable of achieving anything for themselves without the help of do-gooders splashing around public funds. What rot - some of the brightest and most savvy people I know are from BME backgrounds, and have worked from nothing to accumulate great wealth! They resent the stereotype that the BMEs need their hand holding!

4.Exaggerating problems: Who is exaggerating problems? immigration has brought many good things to this country. The service industry and the NHS would collapse if we sent home every immigrant. Furthermore, many second generation immigrants are brilliantly integrated! But that doesn't mean there aren't problems! Mass immigration has put pressure on the public services. Many kids born in the UK cannot get into the first choice schools because recently arrived immigrants are taking places, and not enough new places are being created to cope with the influx. This isn't racism - I am not saying we should stop immigration - just that it needs to be better managed! That isn't unreasonable is it - yet we get called scum simply for raising the slightest doubt that an open door policy is perhaps not the best way to achieve harmonious race relations.

In Powell's day it was white working class people complaining about their jobs going. Today, the pressure points are around housing, education, and the NHS.

In some respects, this was also the origins of Powell's Rivers speech - Labour's 1968 Race Relations Act, with which he had great problems, because he felt strongly that denying people who had lived here for many years preference in the provision of public services (in particular housing) over recently arrived immigrants would lead to racial tension. Common sense surely.

5. You saw the Frost interview. Good. Given what he said in the interview, and given his repeated statements that he rejected white supremacist nonsense, do you accept that Enoch Powell was NOT racist! Regardless of what others might read into his comments, taking his comments as they were made, I cannot see how anyone can regard him as a racist!

6. Multiculturalism. My concern is that we are heading for a self imposed apartheid, where some BME communities ghetoise themselves. The other annoyance is constantly being told by people who chose to come and live in this country, that the way we live our life in our own country isn't good enough, and we should change the way we live our life. This is slightly arrogant, and smacks of the same imperialism which we exhibited during the days of Empire. We were wrong then, they are wrong now.

To put it simply, by all means come to this country. Contribute, prosper, receive in return, be true to your history and culture, share these valuable things with us - but also be part of Britain today. Don't lock yourself away and don't start trying to enforce your way of life on me! If you cannot follow these simple rules, don't come here - and find somewhere else to live!

This is the Australian approach to immigration, and guess what - they have zero problems with race relations (with the notable exception of the aborigines - which is an entirely different problem).

We, post Scarman, have adopted an entirely different approach which is to largely allow anyone to enter the country, and then make no effort to assist (or enforce) integration, bend over backwards to accommodate their needs/wishes, and ask for nothing in return. It seems to have been an entirely one way street, and this is unsustainable.

This doesn't make me a racist - just a pragmatist who wants a stable and ordered society!

Anonymous said...

According to the Office for National Statistics the Commonwealth ethnic population in the UK in 1971 was about 1 million, and it is now about 4 million or 7% of the population of England and Wales.

They predict that almost 70 per cent of the 10 million rise in population over the next 25 years will be due to immigration - either directly or via higher birth rates. The British Pakistani birthrate rate of 4.7 children per mother for example is almost three times the British-born rate of 1.7.

Hmmmmm. It seems to me that the numbers which Powell predicted although wrong were not (especially if you take the higher birthrate) wildly out.

Scipio said...

Chris Goodman: Powell's prediction was simply an extrapolation forward of the then rate of inward immigration. He was simply saying "Look, if we don't do something, at the current rate of inward immigration, the number of immigrants into the country will be x by y"!

Therefore your point is interesting.

Curiously, the statistics you quote don't account for the large numbers of people who are now leaving the UK to live abroad. I know, anecdotally, of three people (a policeman, a taxi driver and a builder) who have either moved or are shortly to move abroad (Canada, New Zealand and Australia respectively) because they feel alienated in their own country.

So, add the shrinking birth rate amongst indigenous communities, the expanding birth rate amongst immigrant communities, the inward immigration of BMEs and the departure to other locations of many white Britons, and you will see the demography of this country is changing rapidly!

It is up to others to decide if this demographic change is good, bad or neither. I am simply seeking to draw attention to the fact that it is happening.

But of course, this still makes me 'scum'!

Anonymous said...

It's Nicholas' birthday on Monday... do wish him well.

asquith said...

+Geoffrey Wheatcroft's observations on Powell in "The Strange Death of Tory England" are well worth reading.

Skint Milked and Incensed to Insense said...

Thatcher Room, Portcullis House, lol.

If you can break through the portcullis, the thatcher is completely impenetrable.