London is a melting pot with people from all parts of the world living, working and sometimes loving together. The lady who assists me in formatting my books and other administrative tasks is black British. Her boyfriend is white. This is, to me a sign of progress, that love and friendship can overcome racial and other differences.
Unfortunately not everyone thinks in the same way. Yesterday evening as I sat in my favourite Indian restaurant enjoying a curry I overheard the following snatch of conversation
Man, “Enoch Powell was right”.
Fellow diner sitting on an adjacent table, “Yes”.
Back in April 1968, the late Enoch Powell (a member of Edward Heath’s Conservative Shadow Cabinet) delivered what has come to be known as “The Rivers of Blood” speech, so called because of the line
“As I look ahead, I am filled with foreboding; like
the Roman, I seem to see ‘the River Tiber foaming with much blood.'”
Powell was referring to the racial conflict which he believed would flow from allowing non-white immigrants into the United Kingdom. He called for “voluntary repatriation” of non-white immigrants and opposed the introduction of anti-discrimination legislation.
The speech lead to Powell’s dismissal from the Shadow Cabinet and is, to this day still sighted by opponents of a multi racial society.
I have known the owner of the Indian restaurant for many years. He and his staff are wonderful, kind, charming people and it is particularly sad that a customer chose to invoke Powell’s views on race in an approving manner in that restaurant. I wonder if the speaker considered the irony of his support for Powell’s sentiments as he sat enjoying his curry in an Indian restaurant which (had Powell had his way) would, in all probability not have existed. I doubt that this gentleman has much capacity for self examination so the answer is, almost certainly no.
Ultimately love and friendship cut across racial lines and Powell’s views are, thankfully slowly dying out.
For information on Powell’s speech please go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rivers_of_Blood_speech