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Sunday, 20 April 2008

Powell's prescient analysis

It is salutary to reflect that in the 40 years since Enoch Powell made the speech that has acted as a dog whistle, calling supporters or opponents to one intellectual barricade or another, the debate about immigration in the UK has been stifled. 'Racist' is an insult now every bit as vituperative as 'queer' or 'nonce'. But also in those 40 years the British people have matured beyond a point that Powell would have recognised. Apart from a few bigots, we are not concerned about colour; we know by now that whatever their skin colour, anyone can share the values and integrate into the culture that defines Britishness.

No, what remains of Powell's prescient vision are two issues that unless tackled now still threaten those things that Powell held dear; the scale of immigration, and the formation of ethnic ghettoes in which there is no attempt at integration.

Powell solution applies even now
The answers to the simple and rational question are equally simple and rational: by stopping, or virtually stopping, further inflow, and by promoting the maximum outflow. Both answers are part of the official policy of the Conservative Party.
Labour's 'open door' must be closed. Commonwealth immigration must be radically curtailed. The rights of Commonwealth residents with 'leave to remain' to vote in national elections must be withdrawn.

And for the second problem, the festering ghettoes created by Labour and nourished with a naive and myopic devotion to 'multiculturalism', which is nothing but apartheid in a pretty frock, Powell again leads us to the answer
The third element of the Conservative Party's policy is that all who are in this country as citizens should be equal before the law and that there shall be no discrimination or difference made between them by public authority. As Mr Heath has put it we will have no "first-class citizens" and "second-class citizens." This does not mean that the immigrant and his descendent should be elevated into a privileged or special class or that the citizen should be denied his right to discriminate in the management of his own affairs between one fellow-citizen and another or that he should be subjected to imposition as to his reasons and motive for behaving in one lawful manner rather than another.
Rowan Williams please take note; there is not only no room for Sharia in Britain, there is no room for granting to immigrants any privileges founded on their differences. You must not remove the incentives, the drive, to integration by making it too comfortable to be different. Powell returned to this theme:
We are on the verge here of a change. Hitherto it has been force of circumstance and of background which has rendered the very idea of integration inaccessible to the greater part of the immigrant population - that they never conceived or intended such a thing, and that their numbers and physical concentration meant the pressures towards integration which normally bear upon any small minority did not operate.

Now we are seeing the growth of positive forces acting against integration, of vested interests in the preservation and sharpening of racial and religious differences, with a view to the exercise of actual domination, first over fellow-immigrants and then over the rest of the population. The cloud no bigger than a man's hand, that can so rapidly overcast the sky, has been visible recently in Wolverhampton and has shown signs of spreading quickly.
And here Powell's prescience was at its best. The dangers of multiculturalism were clear to him even then, 40 years ago. His was a plea to shared values and cultural congruence, and a condemnation of separate development. Millions of us make the same plea today.
For these dangerous and divisive elements the legislation proposed in the Race Relations Bill is the very pabulum they need to flourish. Here is the means of showing that the immigrant communities can organise to consolidate their members, to agitate and campaign against their fellow citizens, and to overawe and dominate the rest with the legal weapons which the ignorant and the ill-informed have provided. As I look ahead, I am filled with foreboding
The BBC reported three days ago "Almost two-thirds of people in Britain fear race relations are so poor tensions are likely to spill over into violence, a BBC poll has suggested. Of the 1,000 people asked, 60% said the UK had too many immigrants and half wanted foreigners encouraged to leave. But the proportion of people describing themselves as "racially prejudiced" was down to 20%, compared with 24% in 2005 ...... almost two in three feared tension was certain or likely to lead to violence, although it is not clear whether people are imagining full-blown street riots or minor scuffles."

Or as Powell almost said
Bella, horrida bella, Et Thybrim multo spumantem sanguine

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