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Enoch at 100: A re-evaluation of the life, politics and philosophy of Enoch Powell Hardcover – 18 Jun 2012
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'As his former private secretary Greville Howard's fascinating collection of essays shows, there was much more to Powell, who died in 1998, than his views on race' -- Dominic Sandbrook, Mail on Sunday
'This book, friendly to Enoch, but critical too, provides excellent answers' - Charles Moore, Daily Telegraph
'a superb set of essays' --Peter Oborne, Daily Telegraph
Anyone who wishes to understand our tradition of parliamentary government should read this book. --The Spectator
'a superb set of essays' - Peter Oborne, Daily Telegraph --http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/9329245/Behind-Enoch-Powells-monstrous-image-lay-a-man-of-exceptional-integrity.html
About the Author
Lord Howard is a businessman and member of the House of Lords.
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This volume contains sections of articles and speeches on a variety of areas Powell was actively involved: including: Parliament and its future, Economic, Defence, and Energy policy-making, classical studies, as well as a selection of 12 poems, personalised impressions by Anne Robinson and the Labour welfare guru, Frank Field, an interview with his widow, Pam, but the three most important issues focus on European Union and Britain as a nation, Ulster, and of course immigration.
They are both useful to the student of politics not only because of what they now show which people were unaware of at the time, but also because the issues are still currently relevant - whether they touch the reform / abolition of the House of Lords, on Scottish, and even eventually Welsh independence, the "special" relationship with the USA, and how the state runs its own national economy.
But like Dante's circles, for Powell the heart of Britain's present and future political world, and indeed his whole career focused on Europe, or the EEC of six which Britain entered in January 1973, now referred as the EU of 27. Since then England, Britain, or the United Kingdom has never been the same because its national sovereignty has been lost to bureaucrats in Brussels.
Similarly the world or Powell's world (which sounds more antagonistic than a friendlier, closer, touchy-feely sounding Enoch's world) had its friends and enemies. For Powell and his commentators, Britain's greatest traitor was "Sailor boy", Ted Heath, first for his signing away Britain, and then for continuing lying to its trusty people that she was not losing its "sovereignty", "influence", or "power", that it solely concerned trade (he admitted he had lied before his death), but with the absurd notion that because Britain would be "sharing" or "pooling" its own powers "at the table", "at the centre" of decisions with other members we were actually having greater influence. This signing away of power, was seen in a loss of powers for the British Parliament, and in particular the House of Commons, becoming in time simply an ineffective talking shop and a rubber stamp. For the historian Andrew Roberts, Heath acted as the successor to Cardinal Wolsey, the first statesman in 400 years to reverse the decisions of the Tudors to establish an independent nation, and so it is hardly surprising that Powell considered him so poorly.
For Powell, Heath was also a traitor towards the majority of people in Ulster by colluding with the men of violence: those with the gun in the IRA, and those, such as Ian Paisley, who incited others to further violence, as well as with politicians of the Irish Republic, in the "power-sharing" of the Sunningdale Agreement in 1973 (an early prototype of the Anglo-Irish and Downing Street Agreements of 1985 and 1997). He was traitor to the Conservative Party by continuing throughout his leadership and premiership to advocate and employ failed socialistic Prices and Incomes policies first tried by Macmillan and Wilson or any form of national planning, rather than adopting liberal measures to control the money supply (as a disciple of Hayek Powell, and not Sir Keith Joseph was the real first Thatcherite ideologue twenty years before Milton Friedman's demand for "monetarism", and I suspect - not mentioned in Simon Heffer's article, Margaret Thatcher purposely chose not to publicise this fact so as not to allow the press to tar herself and her policies further with a possible hidden "racist" agenda).
His next list of enemies were hanger-on politicians: those who entered Parliament from 1979 who put career and personal self first prior to the good of the nation and of all, who propose immediate or very short term solutions; and the Sir Humphreys and their band of young civil servant appeasing puppies in the Foreign Office who bark the orders of the bureaucrats in Brussels (as a good historian Roger Scruton feels he would have alluded them as the "New Model Army" of experts), and yelp as frightened animals should anyone - be it Thatcher or now Cameron, dare to mouth anything "nostalgic", "nationalist", "Little Englander", rather than "modern", "peace-loving" and European-mined. His hope, constantly dashed, was for the British people to stand up alone, in the bulldog spirit of Dunkirk and of the Falklands, for what was theirs. He had an admiration for the stubborn bravery of Thatcher, though she too fell short, a small island surrounded by man (sorry woman)-eating sharks.
Powell was never enamoured as Churchill had with the US: he knew Roosevelt wanted to destroy the British Empire; he had sensed at close hand in government Eisenhower's America first policy over Suez, witnessed from Parliament Reagan's invasion of Grenada, and later he would have realised that Bush senior and Obama only view Britain as being beneficial in terms of its position within the European framework, and thus never as an autonomous, independent power. For Alistair Cooke, Powell even believed the CIA had a hand in the murders in 1979 of peoples such as Airey Neave and Lord Mountbatten who supported policies dissimilar to those in the Pentagon, while the journalist Andrew Alexander stated that should Powell have lived and led the country rather than Blair he would not have used the Armed Forces as the junior partner of Bush junior in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The book does admit its protagonist and hero made mistakes, grave errors, and the "Rivers of Blood" speech in particular, according to both Tom Bower and Pamela Powell, and his sacking from the shadow cabinet was for him an unexpected shock. None of his friends, Michael Foot, Richard Crossman, and Tony Benn in the Labour Party, Nicholas Ridley, or John Biffen in the Conservatives thought him a racist. His widow recounts they knew well what he had done in the 1930s to help German Jews settle in Britain; how he responded to Indian officers being turned away from white only clubs in India on the eve of Indian independence, whereas he spoke out in Parliament in 1959 against the double standards of Britons abroad who unlawfully maltreated 11 Mau Mau detainees at the Hola camp, even criticizing Tory colleagues who had described the African as "sub-human". Not a badge of a "racist" or a "bigot"!
A crash with Heath, however, seemed inevitable any day. Perhaps, being paranoid and feeling he was such a dangerous political rival, the bachelor boy Heath bided his time. Unfortunately, according to most contributors "sloppy journalism" won the day: Foot is said to have remarked that Powell had been misunderstood for predicting actual bloodshed as in the US cities, when in reality he was illustrating his message with a passage from the Aeneid to communicate his sense of foreboding. Bill Deedes' suggestion that Powell's speech caused immigration to become a "no-go" area was simply the justification to silence - a weak calculated ploy which never helped those immigrants of past generations in the West Midlands who agreed with Powell as they were seen to be included in the flood of later arrivals.
The book finally provides personal features on the Conservative Governments until 1964: on the so-called "little difficulties" in 1958 when Powell, Birch and Thorneycroft resigned from the government, on the Profumo case Supermac: The Life of Harold Macmillan, and why he and Iain Macleod chose not to join Sir Alec Douglas Home's cabinet in 1963 Alec Douglas-Home, and on the Labour Governments 1974-79 : first the reason why the Ulster Unionists chose to free themselves of their traditional allies and happily negotiated with both Wilson and Callaghan, and why they were later prepared to turn to Thatcher prior to the 1979 election. There is an interesting episode when Thatcher wished to speak to Powell during the Falklands campaign as a former ex-serviceman who served through the ranks from private to brigadier general and the only Privy Councillor since October 1974 representing a Ulster seat. He can't have been thought so "bad" despite urging his followers to vote for his traditional foes, and then be called by the new leader for an important tête-à-tête session.
In a world when Europe can not leave private lives alone this treasure trove studies of a brave dogged Englishman of the HMS Pinafore ilk shows everyone what the nation is missing: first a prophet and then a teacher. And unlike his "Rivers of Blood" speech which begins "Like the Roman", and which created a feeling of discontent among certain people, it is hoped these well argued contributions may inspire those across all parties to stand firmer and united against the tyranny of the unelected New Model Army.
As I turn each page, I am left with a depressing sense of disappointment in those who have led Great Britain for over half a century and the mistakes they have made, prewarned with predicted consequences. Greater still is a sense of lost opportunity and disappointment in Enoch himself. For someone with such a huge intellect and integrity, his straightforward honesty seems to have ensured a political career in the wings. Was Enoch the best Prime Minister Britain never had? Of course, we will never know but this book is an eye opener and offers a benchmark against which one can view todays politicians.
If, like me, the financial crisis and scandals and the European Currency mess has reawakened your interest in current affairs and politics, Enoch at 100 is a fascinating read.
It is also one of those books you can dip in and out of at will. I keep mine next to the bog!
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