John Enoch Powell, MBE

Judas was paid, Going Postal
A portrait by Allan Warren of Powell in 1987
Allan warren / CC BY-SA

If time could be conflated and the men of yesteryear come face to face with those of today….

I have sometimes wondered what JEP would say if he was here to speak to our present situation. I know that his words would be vastly, vastly more apposite and powerful than anything I can formulate, but I offer this in the hope that it might catch something of the spirit of the man……

I am able to do no more than reach out and touch the hem of his garment.

The House of Commons. The Prime Minister, Theresa May has just made a statement on a terrorist attack somewhere in Great Britain.

The Speaker: Mr Enoch Powell……

JEP: Thank you, Mr Speaker. I am grateful to the Prime Minister for allowing me this intervention.

Mr Speaker, I am sure the whole house agrees with the Prime Minister’s statement and indeed we do all seek to stand shoulder to shoulder in the fight against Islamic Terrorism. This is, after all, the only option remaining to us. There was a time when resolute and effective action could have been taken to avert the maelstrom of barbarism that is presently being visited upon the heads of Her Majesty’s subjects in Great Britain and upon the citizens of other Continental nations. That time may well have passed.

Warning voices, my own included, were raised decades ago. We were the few, a minority (at least in this House, if not in the country) who foresaw the advent of our present predicament. We counselled that Great Britain was setting a course that in a mere few decades would see us landed on a shore the bleakness of which would be unlike any other that we had ever visited even in our most adventurous years of exploration and Empire. This is where we find ourselves today, a barren, inhospitable, unfriendly and desolate landscape. We warned and we were chastised, abused, insulted and then cast overboard. We prophesied this day, not because we had been given by the grace of God an eye that could perceive things yet undone, but because we were bold enough to read the signs, to draw the lessons of human history and to refuse to indulge ourselves in the blind optimism that says, ‘all will be well tomorrow whatever the choices we make today’.

There are none so blind as those who will not see and there are none so deaf as those who will not hear.

Mr Speaker, I derive no joy, not even the tiniest scintilla of satisfaction from knowing that I was right. They said it out there in the country and they say it still: “Enoch was right.” Yet, when they do they are pounced upon. I fear it will soon be the policy of government to silence those voices completely, to label them as peddlers of intolerance, hatemongers, to threaten them with prosecution, to shake in their face the iron fist of law in the hope that they might be cast out like demons and fall away to oblivion in the manner of the Gadarene swine.

Mr Speaker, I must counsel caution in this matter. The British people are a tolerant people. Twice in a century they gladly accepted the privations and hardships of war. They did so bravely, gladly and willingly. I believe that was because they knew that should their efforts prove insufficient they would be overwhelmed by dark forces, their civilization eviscerated by the bayonet of militarism and their most precious traditions erased. Their enemy in those days, of course, was without, not within. This time around, I would suggest the enemy is within, not without. The British people know this.

Oh, you raise your voices and clamour! You cry “racist”, just as before. Ha! So be it but the opprobrium is premature, for when I speak of the enemy, in this instance I do not speak of those who plant the bombs, who unsheathe the swords, who slash and stab, who blast and maim, who kill and wound. They are the enemy, but no, I speak of those other enemies, the ones who wring their hands and who shake their heads, who wander hither and thither mumbling platitudes and who with pious intonation assure the bereaved of their heartfelt prayers, their solidarity and their support. It has become almost an incantation to be recited at every occasion of terrorist outrage! I speak not of the terrorists themselves but of those whose impotence in the face of this present savage menace is entirely self-induced.

Mr Speaker, there are two parties in this House which have had the opportunity to govern this great nation in the past one hundred years. They used to be very different parties, distinguishable by their respective principles and objectives. It is a most mystifying development that in recent years these two parties have become almost indistinguishable. It is as though they are one party separated by two languages. Their words may differ but the philosophical core, the engine that drives the policy is in many important respects the same.

The result is impotence. I speak particularly of the Conservative Party of which I was once a member. This is what happens to a party when it binds itself to the mores and fashions of the present age. It seeks to make itself ‘relevant’ and becomes meaningless; it seeks to become ‘modern’ and instead becomes malleable; it seeks to embrace everybody and ends up serving nobody. Most terrifying of all, when dangers loom across our horizon it flails about, not knowing where to turn, afraid of causing offence, intimidated by the cries of those whose dearest hope is to see the citadel come crashing down about our heads, however that might be brought to pass.

Mr Speaker, I must congratulate the Prime Minister on becoming the weakest Prime Minister in the history of the British Nation. She is rather like HMS Queen Elizabeth when sailing into Portsmouth a few days ago; an imposing form, stately and grand, potentially mighty but presently bereft of fighting power, a symbol of what could be but is not yet. It is not that the Prime Minister does not possess the wherewithal; she has it; she has the powers she needs to defend this Realm. What she does not appear to possess is the courage to use them.

The tragedy of our situation is that we did not arrive here by accident. We are here by choice. Our predicament was not imposed from outside; it came about through the folly, the pride and the intransigence of stupid and imprudent men. Or was it cowardice? Perhaps I am being far too generous. It is a fault.

Mr Speaker, some years ago during the days leading up to the recapture of the Falkland Islands another Prime Minister came to me and sought my counsel. I gave that counsel and although I will not disclose what I said, for it was a private conversation, she went on, in the face of almost universal opposition and seemingly insurmountable odds to regain possession of a British Territory that had been snatched from our grasp by a hostile power. Therein lies a lesson. I appeal to this Prime Minister to show something of the same mettle.

The Prime Minister knows what lies within her heart. She alone knows whether she possesses the resolve and steadfastness that will be required to recapture the ground that has been forfeited piece by piece over these past years and decades. She may feel that she needs to court popularity today but I caution her that it will be succeeding generations of Britons, an innumerable multitude of our people yet unborn who will judge her by the actions she takes today on their behalf.

Mr Speaker, it is not for me to advocate policy for I am not a member of the government nor even of the Conservative Party. I can do no more than to suggest the principles by which such policy might be formulated. This is what I refer to when I say tradition and history must shape and inform our present choices. I would caution therefore with a word from Holy Scripture for I believe it to be supremely pertinent to this present moment:

“As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly.”Proverbs 26: 11

Mr Speaker, the Prime Minister and all other ministers of the Crown will leave this House tonight and make their journey home under police protection. The British people have no such shield to guard them from harm as they walk the streets of their villages, town and cities. What they do have is a Parliament whose solemn duty is to govern in the interests of the people of this Realm, to uphold and to ensure their wellbeing, their prosperity and their safety.

Mr Speaker, I say to all members of this House, like Belshazzar you too will be weighed in the balance. It is a burden that we law makers must bear, and it is a hard one, but when we are long dead and our dust is mingled with the worms I wonder what the finger will write upon the wall of this Palace of Westminster.


© JWP 2017