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40 years on, Enoch Powell recalled

world Updated: Apr 20, 2008 23:22 IST
Vijay Dutt

In 15 or 20 years’ time, the black man will have the whip hand over the white man.... We must be mad, literally mad, to be permitting the annual inflow of some 50,000 dependents. As I look ahead, I am filled with foreboding. Like the Roman, I seem to see ‘the River Tiber foaming with much blood’.

The ghosts invoked by arch conservative politician Enoch Powell, when he made the infamous speech containing the above lines exactly 40 years ago, have not yet been laid to rest in the UK.

Very recently, Trevor Philip, chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission declared that a debate was needed on whether uncontrolled immigration was leading to a cold war and encouraging anti immigrant parties like the British National Party, because the “reasonable concerns” of the “settled population” were not being addressed.

At the 40th anniversary, attention has also focused on the late Powell himself, with some arguing, like Simon Heffer in the Telegraph, that he not half as bad as made out to be. He was no racist, wrote Heffer, but had served in India during World War II, when “he fell in love with the country, its cultures and its peoples”.

“Many of our immigrants have assimilated over the past 40 years,” wrote Heffer. “Equally, many have chosen not to. Four of them murdered 52 innocent people on London’s public transport network nearly three years ago,” he reminded.