"Radio 2 presenter Sarah Kennedy has been chastised by the BBC for praising right-wing politician Enoch Powell during her show. During her early-morning show on Wednesday, Kennedy, 59, described Powell as 'the best prime minister this country never had'. Enoch Powell was famously sacked from the shadow cabinet by Ted Heath in 1968 after his 'Rivers of Blood' speech about the dangers of mass immigration.
A spokesman for the BBC said that the corporation had received 25 complaints by Friday and that the presenter had been 'spoken to' about the remark. She said: 'It was inappropriate for Sarah to offer an off-the-cuff political opinion and we have spoken to her and made that clear.'
In his infamous 'Rivers of Blood' speech to Conservatives in Birmingham's Midland Hotel in 1968, Enoch Powell spoke out the threats caused by the mass immigration of people from Britain's former colonies.. He also heavily criticised the planned anti-discrimination laws which would make it illegal to refuse service on grounds of race.
It caused deep divisions in public opinion with Powell accused of inflaming racial hatred by many, but applauded by others for saying the unsayable. He was quickly sacked from Edward Heath's shadow cabinet but he also received 120,000 letters of support.
Given the troubles with Muslims and the high crime-rate among blacks, there are many Britons today who believe that Powell has been proved right in giving the warnings he did. "Enoch was right", they say 40 years later -- though only in private conversations.
Powell never in fact mentioned "rivers of blood". He was a distinguished classical scholar and alluded to something written by the Roman poet Virgil: "As I look ahead, I am filled with foreboding. Like the Roman, I seem to see “the River Tiber foaming with much blood”. He certainly foresaw deaths but not on quite the scale his critics have alleged.
The whole speech is here. It was a rather leisurely and academic speech, certainly not rabble rousing, but it referred to realities that were already widely recognized and reading it today does tend to show Powell as remarkably prescient. The article above describes Powell as "Right-wing" but he in fact got a lot of support from unionists, including strikes in support of him. That is why the political class to this day demonizes him only in a cautious way. The lady above was simply "spoken to", for instance. Having wharf labourers going on strike in support of one of the most distinguished Professors of Classical Greek must be one of the more amazing events in social history!
Powell was a brilliant scholar and a devout Christian and foresaw that his speech would be controversial but he felt that someone had to say in public what many were saying in private so he is an exemplar to those who believe in free speech.
Posted by John Ray. For a daily critique of Leftist activities, see DISSECTING LEFTISM. To keep up with attacks on free speech see TONGUE-TIED. Also, don't forget your daily roundup of pro-environment but anti-Greenie news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH . Email me (John Ray) here