A Tory Member of the European Parliament, Daniel Hannan, has got himself into hot water with his peers – yet again.
Two weeks ago he was severely criticised for describing the NHS as a “60 year mistake” – his Party Leader David Cameron publicly denounced his views as “eccentric”.
Hannan’s latest ‘crime’ is to tell a TV interviewer in the US that Enoch Powell had been a great political influence on his career.
For those who lack memories long enough, Powell was sacked from the shadow cabinet back in 1968 by Edward Heath after making a speech on the dangers of immigration which became known as his “Rivers of Blood” speech.
It was in the days when MPs were free to speak as their consciences guided. They were not tethered to electronic pagers and worked hard to represent the views of their constituents – even if they were at odds with the official party line.
Powell was, arguably, one of the greatest orators in the history of Parliament. I clearly remember his captivating speeches and his daunting presence. He had a personality that most of today’s politicians would die for and could easily hold his own against his critics – using reasoned argument and not the cheap jibes and backbites of today’s MPs.
His “Rivers of Blood” speech was, in retrospect, a mistake and caused immense damage to his following career. He was held up as an example of all that is bad in the politics of ‘racism’.
When asked by David Frost in 1969 if he was a racialist he replied:
‘It depends on how you define the word “racialist.” If you mean being conscious of the differences between men and nations, and from that, races, then we are all racialists. However, if you mean a man who despises a human being because he belongs to another race, or a man who believes that one race is inherently superior to another, then the answer is emphatically “No.”
His words are arguably even more relevant in today’s politically correct world, where ‘blackboards’ have become ‘whiteboards’ and the nursery rhyme ‘bah bah black sheep’ has become ‘bah bah white sheep’; ‘blacklists’ have become ‘blocklists’ (see earlier post) and comedians are not allowed to joke about people from other countries.
We have been forced into a world of PC fear and this particular quote, from 1970, seems to sum up our present situation perfectly:
Have you ever wondered, perhaps, why opinions which the majority of people quite naturally hold are, if anyone dares express them publicly, denounced as ‘controversial, ‘extremist’, ‘explosive’, ‘disgraceful’, and overwhelmed with a violence and venom quite unknown to debate on mere political issues? It is because the whole power of the aggressor depends upon preventing people from seeing what is happening and from saying what they see
The public are literally made to say that black is white. Newspapers like the Sunday Times denounce it as ‘spouting the fantasies of racial purity’ to say that a child born of English parents in Peking is not Chinese but English, or that a child born of Indian parents in Birmingham is not English but Indian. It is even heresy to assert the plain fact that the English are a white nation.
Whether those who take part know it or not, this process of brainwashing by repetition of manifest absurdities is a sinister and deadly weapon. In the end, it renders the majority, who are marked down to be the victims of violence or revolution or tyranny, incapable of self-defence by depriving them of their wits and convincing them that what they thought was right is wrong.
The process has already gone perilously far, when political parties at a general election dare not discuss a subject which results from and depends on political action and which for millions of electors transcends all others in importance; or when party leaders can be mesmerised into accepting from the enemy the slogans of ‘racialist’ and ‘unChristian’ and applying them to lifelong political colleagues…”
A lot to read I know, but when you consider the words were spoken almost 40 years ago, it seems that Mr Powell was lucky not to have been denounced for being a psychic!