Monday, 31 August 2009

Enoch Powell 'Rivers of Blood'

Daniel Hannan has created controversy again, this time speaking of his admiration for Enoch Powell. Powell is of course largely known for what's referred to as his "Rivers of Blood" speech on immigration. As you would imagine Labour and Co have leaped on the bandwagon with such comments as:
is it acceptable for the modern Conservative Party to attack the NHS and praise Enoch Powell?
So is it acceptable? I've often wondered with Powell's speech whether he struck a nerve, reading his speech in full, he does raise issues about the down side to immigration that are pointed. I do find however this issue almost polarises people into left - for and right - against, but you do have to be balanced. Much like the welfare state, there are pro's and cons. It's counter productive not to acknowledge that and try to address it, because by not doing so it can entrench peoples views.

In context with the time many people who felt alienated, unrepresented and vulnerable responded to his speech, others called him a racist. I always cringe at such terms, we should never just shrug our shoulders and say "racist", however irrational, feverish and at times just over the top some opinions maybe on immigration. Because everything needs a pressure value, it never takes much to tip the scales. History is littered with such times the scales tip for good and bad. Sometimes something so inconsequential can be the thing that lights the fuse.

The idea that Daniel Hannan is the Conservative Party though is quite a jump in logic, he is no more so than Frank Field or Tony Benn are the Labour Party. The Conservative Party today responded in the same way they did in 1968, they've distanced themselves from it. Yet is what Hannan said so bad? I expect politicians to have a mind of their own, otherwise they're just there to vote how the party tell them to. Agree or disagree with Hannan at least he has an opinion.

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