Friday 13 April 2018

Dams And Rivers

There is a fuss about the fiftieth anniversary of a speech given in the West Midlands by the Conservative politician, Enoch Powell, in April of 1968.

In this period many speeches were given by a horde of politicians but he made this one with TV cameras present and not only was it recorded but saved. He warns of the risks of uncontrolled migration in florid terms.

It did not go down well in Westminster and other parts of London or the media. But in Wolverhampton when he turned up in the Director's box at the football ground, the fans on the South Bank gave him a cheer.

Powell was a highly qualified academic, the Classics, a Professor at 25, who had strayed into the upper reaches of the Tory Party, partly by force of intellect but more perhaps due to his ability to get the punters going and bring in the votes. He had a remarkable military career during World War II.

For ordinary people who puzzled over which bunch of grasping charlatans to vote for in this period of the 1960's he was different, a one off as we say today. His classical background had taught him how and where to put the boot in. See Shakespeare's "Coriolanus", show me your wounds.

This did not make him any better, or for that matter, worse. In a time when we were struggling to maintain a new peoples welfare state on the basis of a collapsing industrial structure there were many questions and few sensible answers.

There are things in history which we forget. Enoch Powell had a problem with being taken seriously and may explain his need to take the high ground and play the heavy man. It was the name Enoch.

For the key voting generation at the time there would have been vivid memories of the famous comedy act of earlier years, "We Three In Happidrome, Ramsbottom, Enoch and Me (Lovejoy)" see Youtube. Enoch was the daft one always getting it wrong and a hopeless case.

It explains why that first name dropped off the lists of first names chosen for new males born to proud parents. But poor Enoch Powell was stuck with it.

He really did have a problem of being taken seriously notably with his ideas about the USA being our enemy. So he laid it on like a trowel, as the saying goes.

Try this choice example at two minutes if you want a Labour parallel of sorts, but you may not last.

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