Advertisement

Enoch Powell right about immigration, UKIP's Neil Hamilton claims

From BBC - April 16, 2018

The idea Enoch Powell was a "racist villain" is "absolute nonsense", UKIP Wales leader Neil Hamilton has said.

The AM was defending Powell's anti-immigration "rivers of blood" speech of 50 years ago.

He told BBC Radio Wales the former Tory MP had been "proved right by events" in terms of social change if not violence.

Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood accused Mr Hamilton of "keeping Powell's racist rhetoric going" while Labour AM Hefin David called his comments "outrageous".

It comes after Labour peer and former Welsh secretary Lord Hain said he had heard echoes of the "clearly racist" speech in Wales during the EU referendum.

In his speech to Conservative party members in Birmingham in 1968, Powell claimed to be quoting a constituent when he said that "in 15 or 20 years' time the black man will have the whip hand over the white man".

It ended with a quote from the Aeneid - Virgil's poem about Rome - predicting civil war with "the River Tiber foaming with much blood".

Powell was sacked by the then Conservative leader Edward Heath from his shadow cabinet.

Mr Hamilton said although Powell been sacked while the Tories were in opposition, when Mr Heath later became prime minister he introduced a scheme for "voluntary repatriation of immigrants" in 1971.

"The idea that Enoch Powell was some kind of uniquely racist villain is absolute nonsense," Mr Hamilton told the Good Morning Wales programme.

"Powell actually changed politics by articulating the fears and resentments of millions and millions of people who are being ignored by the establishment."

Mr Hamilton said: "I think he's been proved right by events.

"I do not think he was right in one sense, in that we have not seen the kind of racial violence and intolerance generated by this that, at the time, was happening in the United States."

But Mr Hamilton said the "social changes which mass immigration has brought were never desired by the majority of the British people, and indeed they had never been asked 'do you want to transform your country in the way that has happened'."

'Delusional'

Advertisement

Continue reading at BBC »