Peter Hitchens’s Show of Guilt: Enoch Powell Was Right

Kevin MacDonald


Now that Britain has been utterly transformed to the point that turning back the muilticultural assault and reclaiming the traditional British nation would be cataclysmic, we are treated to some hand-wringing in the mainstream media. In his “How I am partly to blame for mass immigration” Peter Hitchens writes that when he was a Trotskyite supporting as much immigration as possible,

it wasn’t because we liked immigrants, but because we didn’t like Britain. We saw immigrants – from anywhere – as allies against the staid, settled, conservative society that our country still was at the end of the Sixties.  Also, we liked to feel oh, so superior to the bewildered people – usually in the poorest parts of Britain – who found their neighbourhoods suddenly transformed into supposedly ‘vibrant communities’.  If they dared to express the mildest objections, we called them bigots.

Revolutionary students didn’t come from such ‘vibrant’ areas (we came, as far as I could tell, mostly from Surrey and the nicer parts of London). We might live in ‘vibrant’ places for a few (usually squalid) years, amid unmown lawns and overflowing dustbins. But we did so as irresponsible, childless transients – not as homeowners, or as parents of school-age children, or as old people hoping for a bit of serenity at the ends of their lives. When we graduated and began to earn serious money, we generally headed for expensive London enclaves and became extremely choosy about where our children went to school, a choice we happily denied the urban poor, the ones we sneered at as ‘racists’.What did we know, or care, of the great silent revolution which even then was beginning to transform the lives of the British poor?


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Hitchens’ comment that “it wasn’t because we liked immigrants, but because we didn’t like Britain” is particularly noteworthy. As throughout the West, these transformations did not occur because of love of immigrants or love of humanity, but because of hatred to the traditional people and culture of the West. They were revolutions carried out by hostile elites against the wishes of the majority and hence without any legitimacy.

While Hitchens is willing to accept some blame, he places the real blame on, of all people, Enoch Powell:

[The] greatest ally [of the pro-immigration forces] has always been the British Tory politician Enoch Powell who, in a stupid and cynical speech in 1968, packed with alarmist language and sprinkled with derogatory expressions and inflammatory rumour, defined debate on the subject of immigration for 40 years.

Thanks to him, and his undoubted attempt to mobilise racial hostility, the revolutionary liberals have ever afterwards found it easy to accuse any opponent of being a Powellite.

This is a slur on Powell. The reality is that the victory over Powell was accomplished by the same sort of hypocritical, dishonest rhetoric that Hitchens decries when he writes things like “Nobody – especially their elected representatives – would listen to [those who opposed immigration] because they were assumed to be Powellite bigots, motivated by some sort of unreasoning hatred.”

In fact, Powell was successfully smeared using the typical tactics of describing him as a racist and a bigot that Hitchens now professes to despise. Powell was deeply concerned about the plight of ordinary Brits inundated by foreign peoples and cultures. Here’s Hitchens decrying the effects of immigration on the un-rich:

I have imagined what it might be like to have grown old while stranded in shabby, narrow streets where my neighbours spoke a different language and I gradually found myself becoming a lonely, shaky voiced stranger in a world I once knew, but which no longer knew me. I have felt deeply, hopelessly sorry that I did and said nothing in defence of those whose lives were turned upside down, without their ever being asked, and who were warned very clearly that, if they complained, they would be despised outcasts.

Powell had the same feelings, but in his case I strongly suspect that his feelings are genuine, not what I suspect are the crocodile tears of an ex-Trotskyite. Indeed, what is memorable about Powell’s “Rivers of Blood” speech are not racialist arguments but his recounting heartfelt pleas of his constituents, some of which are remarkably like the sentiments Hitchens exhibits:

In the speech, Powell recounted a number of discussions between himself and his local constituents. According to Powell, a recurrent theme in their conversations had been immigration. He painted a picture of an increasingly beleaguered indigenous British population who felt threatened by the influx of a heavy stream of migrants who did not seem to be making any effort to integrate. On the contrary, their actions were causing many locals to live in fear. Powell quoted one of his residents as saying, “[i]f I has the money to go, I wouldn’t stay in this country…in fifteen or twenty years’ time, the black man will have the whip hand over the white man.”

Powell discussed a letter, one of many which he had received, from a local resident, an elderly woman who lived alone and who was now the only white person living on her street. He described her fear and the abuse she suffered at the hands of her new neighbours:

“She is becoming afraid to go out. Windows are broken. She finds excreta pushed through her letterbox. When she goes to the shops, she is followed by children, charming, widegrinning piccaninnies. They cannot speak English, but one word they know. ‘Racialist’, they chant. When the new Race Relations Bill is passed, this woman is convinced she will go to prison. And is she so wrong? I begin to wonder.”

The above quote is from an article by Ciarán J. Burke in the Amsterdam Law Forum, “”Like the Roman': Enoch Powell and English Immigration Law). The article emphasizes the disconnect between elites and the opinions expressed by most Brits at the time—again emphasizing the point that, as in all Western countries, the transformational changes wrought by the left have been a top-down phenomenon completely out of step with popular opinion.

Burke concludes that Powell was not a bigot but an assimilationist who wanted to avoid the sectarian violence he had witnessed in India in the 1940s. “For Powell, an integrationist approach had to take precedence over any multiculturalist agenda. If people wanted to come to Britain, they had to be willing to become as British as possible.” Part of the alienness of the newcomers was their race, and Hitchens is offended that Powell made clear references to that. For example, his reference to a black child as a “picaninny”. This is obviuosly a cosmetic issue. The fact is that Powell was attacked wherever his opponents thought they could do damage, preferably where they could avoid the substance of his argument.

Hitchens’s attack on Powell is dishonest because he avoids the core issues: What constitutes alienness? What constitutes an organic society? What is Englishness? This shows at the end where he eulogizes Britain as a hallowed place and envisions a utopian society where  a “great effort” will “bring us all together, once again, in a shared love for this, the most beautiful and blessed plot of earth on the planet”

Not only is such an effort anathema to the multicultural elites that, by Hitchens’ admission, still rule. The idea that this hodgepodge of disparate religions and races, often with their own historical hatreds and long traditions of cultural separatism, will ever come together and develop a sense of being a people with a common culture is ridiculous on the face of it. As Hitchens says about the Muslims: “As any observant visitor finds, Bradford’s Muslim citizens and its non-Muslim citizens live in two separate solitudes, barely in contact with each other. Much of the Islamic community is profoundly out of step with modern Britain.”

That’s not going to change. Far more likely is that, unless the present trajectory is altered, the future of England will be a Muslim theocracy in which the native Brits become a despised minority in a bit of land that their ancestors lived in, many of them for thousands of years. In his “Rivers of Blood” speech, Powell predicted that Commonwealth immigration to the U.K. would be 10% by 2000. He was off by a bit—it was only 8%. But in the years since, the immigrant population has exploded, constituting 17% of the population as a result of Labour importing voters useful for making the revolution of the hostile elites permanent (see “The Labour Party’s War Against White Britain“).

Enoch Powell was right.

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  1. on May 7, 2013 at 5:59 pm

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