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Enoch Powell (1912 – 1998)


British politician and Conservative Party MP between 1950 and February 1974, and an Ulster Unionist MP between October 1974 and 1987.
Enoch Powell
The right finds it easy to explain what is and to justify what is, but not to account for change. The left finds it easy to justify change, but not to account for what is, and what is accepted...Parties come and go, governments come and go. But if we lose the power to make and unmake governments, to make and unmake parliaments, then everything else is changed. Even if I were convinced that the result of doing what Michael Foot has described—regaining what we ought never to have given away—even if I were convinced that the result of that would be that we would have Labour administrations for the rest of my lifetime, I would say: well, so be it. But at least we have retained the power to decide under what general principles this nation is going to be governed.
Powell quotes
I hope those who shouted "Fascist" and "Nazi" are aware that before they were born I was fighting against Fascism and Nazism.
Powell
All political lives, unless they are cut off in midstream at a happy juncture, end in failure, because that is the nature of politics and of human affairs.




Powell Enoch quotes
I refer to the misunderstanding of Soviet Russia as an aggressive power, militaristically and ideologically bent upon world domination—'seeing', to quote a recent speech of the British Prime Minister, 'the rest of the world as its rightful fiefdom.' How any rational person, viewing objectively the history of the last thirty-five years, could entertain this 'international misunderstanding' challenges, if it does not defeat, comprehension. The notion has no basis in fact... If Russia is bent on world conquest, she has been remarkably slothful and remarkably unsuccessful.
Powell Enoch
As so often, the ordinary rank and file of the electorate have seen a truth, an important fact, which has escaped so many more clever people—the underlying value of that which is traditional, that which is prescriptive.
Enoch Powell quotes
Make no mistake, the real power resides not where present authority is exercised but where it is expected that authority will in future be exercised. The magnetic attraction of power is exercised by the prospect long before the reality is achieved; and the trek towards the rising sun, which is already in progress in 1972, would swell to an exodus before long. What do you imagine is the reason why Roy Jenkins is prepared to resign the front bench and divide his party in the endeavour to give a Conservative Prime Minister a majority in the House of Commons? The motive is not ignoble or discreditable—I am not asserting that—but it is a motive which it behoves people in Britain well to understand. It is the ambition to exercise his talents on the stage of Europe and to participate in taking decisions not for Britain here at home but for Europe in Brussels, Paris, Luxembourg or wherever else the imperial pavilions may be pitched. He does not, I assure you, forsee his future triumphs and achievements where his predecessors have seen them in the past – at the despatch box in the House of Commons or in the Cabinet room at Downing St. These are not good enough: the vision splendid beckons elsewhere.
Enoch Powell
A single currency means a single government, and that single government would be the government whose policies determined every aspect of economic life.
Powell Enoch quotes
Of course I am very proud of being a Tory. Yes, in my head and in my heart I regard myself as a Tory. As I have said, I was born that way; I believe it is congenital. I am unable to change it. That is how I see the world... [The EEC] is the most un-Tory thing that can be conceived.
Powell
Compassion is something individual and voluntary. You cannot compel somebody to be compassionate; nor can you be vicariously compassionate by compelling somebody else. The Good Samaritan would have lost all merit if a Roman soldier were standing by the road with a drawn sword, telling him to get on with it and look after the injured stranger. Because there can be no such thing as compulsory compassion or vicarious compassion, therefore it is a humbugging abuse of language, intended to deceive, to talk about a 'compassionate Government' or a 'compassionate party'—or even a 'compassionate society', unless one simply means by that a society which happens to contain a lot of compassionate individuals. Nor let anyone protest: 'Oh, but when I vote for a party which will "make provision on an unprecedented scale for those in need of help", it means I too shall have to pay my whack and so I am being compassionate after all'. Nonsense! The purpose of your vote is not to make yourself subscribe—that you can freely do at any time—but to compel others.
Powell Enoch
I believe a second factor which has weighed heavily in this matter is the attitude, or supposed attitude, of the United States. I confess that I am not greatly moved by this. Whatever may be the attitude of the American Government and public to the United Kingdom as such, my view of American policy over the last decade has been that it has been steadily and relentlessly directed towards the weakening and the destruction of the links which bind the British Empire together. [Cyril Osborne: "No!"] We can watch the events as they unfold and place our own interpretation on them. My interpretation is that the United States has for this country, considered separately, a very considerable economic and strategic use but that she sees little or no strategic use or economic value in the British Empire or the British Commonwealth as it has existed and as it still exists. Against the background I ask the House to consider the evidence of advancing American imperialism in this area from which they are helping to eliminate us.
Enoch Powell
Q: Who caused the inflation?
A: The Chancellor of the Exchequer.
Q: How did he cause it?
A: By putting a flood of new money into circulation.
Q: Why did he do that?
A: To prevent the exchange rate of the pound rising last year.
Q: Why did he want to stop it rising?
A: To keep level with the Deutschmark.
Q: What for?
A: To make it easier to join the EMS.




Enoch Powell quotes
Edward Norman (then Dean of Peterhouse) had attempted to mount a Christian argument for nuclear weapons. The discussion moved on to 'Western values'. Mrs Thatcher said (in effect) that Norman had shown that the Bomb was necessary for the defence of our values. Powell: 'No, we do not fight for values. I would fight for this country even if it had a communist government.' Thatcher (it was just before the Argentinian invasion of the Falklands): ‘Nonsense, Enoch. If I send British troops abroad, it will be to defend our values.' 'No, Prime Minister, values exist in a transcendental realm, beyond space and time. They can neither be fought for, nor destroyed.' Mrs Thatcher looked utterly baffled. She had just been presented with the difference between Toryism and American Republicanism.
Enoch Powell
In the end, the Labour party could cease to represent labour. Stranger historic ironies have happened than that.
Powell quotes
The immediate occasion for alarm is the government's announcement that British contractors for supplying armaments to our armed forces must in future share the work with what are called ‘European firms’, meaning factories situated on the mainland of the European continent. I ask one question, to which I believe there is no doubt about the answer. What would have been the fate of Britain in 1940 if production of the Hurricane and the Spitfire had been dependent upon the output of factories in France? That a question so glaringly obvious does not get asked in public or in government illuminates the danger created for this nation by the rolling stream of time which bears away the generation of 1940, the generation, that is to say, of those who experienced as adults Britain's great peril and Britain’s great deliverance. Talk at Bruges or Luxembourg about not surrendering our national sovereignty is all very well. It means less than nothing when the keys to our national defence are being handed over: an island nation which no longer commands the essential means of defending itself by air and sea is no longer sovereign...The safety of this island nation reposes upon two pillars. The first is the impregnability of its homeland to invasion by air or sea. The second is its ability and its will to create over time the military forces by which the last conclusive battle will be decided. Without our own industrial base of military armament production neither of those pillars will stand. No doubt, with the oceans kept open, we can look to buy or borrow from the other continents; but to depend on the continent of Europe for our arms is suicide.
Powell Enoch
"In this country in fifteen or twenty years' time the black man will have the whip hand over the white man." I can already hear the chorus of execration. How dare I say such a horrible thing? How dare I stir up trouble and inflame feelings by repeating such a conversation?
Powell Enoch quotes
Nobody disputes, I believe, that our nuclear weaponry is negligible in comparison with that of Russia: if we could destroy 16 Russian cities, she could destroy practically every vestige of life on these islands several times over. For us to use the weapon would therefore be equivalent to more than suicide: it would be genocide – the extinction of our race – in the most literal and precise meaning of that much abused expression. An officer may, in the hour of his country's defeat and disgrace, commit suicide honourably and rationally with his service revolver; but in any collective context the choice of non-existence, of the obliteration of all future hopes, is insanity.
Enoch Powell
You have never expressed any decided political opinions, and indeed I do not know if or how far you assent to the proposition that almost unlimited sacrifices of individual life and happiness are worth while to preserve the unique structure of power of which the keystone (the only conceivable and indispensable keystone) is the English Crown. I for my part find it the nearest thing in the world to an absolute (as opposed to a relative) value: it is like the outer circle that bound my universe, so that I cannot conceive anything beyond it.
Enoch Powell quotes
The Prime Minister constantly asserts that the nuclear weapon has kept the peace in Europe for the last 40 years...Let us go back to the middle 1950s or to the end of the 1940s, and let us suppose that nuclear power had never been invented...I assert that in those circumstances there would still not have been a Russian invasion of western Europe. What has prevented that from happening was not the nuclear hypothesis...but the fact that the Soviet Union knew the consequences of such a move, consequences which would have followed whether or not there were 300,000 American troops stationed in Europe. The Soviet Union knew that such an action on its part would have led to a third world war—a long war, bitterly fought, a war which in the end the Soviet Union would have been likely to lose on the same basis and in the same way as the corresponding war was lost by Napoleon, by the Emperor Wilhelm and by Adolf Hitler...
For of course a logically irresistible conclusion followed from the creed that our safety depended upon the nuclear capability of the United States and its willingness to commit that capability in certain events. If that was so—and we assured ourselves for 40 years that it was—the guiding principle of the foreign policy of the United Kingdom had to be that, in no circumstances, must it depart from the basic insights of the United States and that any demand placed in the name of defence upon the United Kingdom by the United States was a demand that could not be resisted. Such was the rigorous logic of the nuclear deterrent...
It was in obedience to it...that the Prime Minister said, in the context of the use of American bases in Britain to launch an aggressive attack on Libya, that it was "inconceivable" that we could have refused a demand placed upon this country by the United States. The Prime Minister supplied the reason why: she said it was because we depend for our liberty and freedom upon the United States. Once let the nuclear hypothesis be questioned or destroyed, once allow it to break down, and from that moment the American imperative in this country's policies disappears with it.
A few days ago I was reminded, when reading a new biography of Richard Cobden, that he once addressed a terrible sentence of four words to this House of Commons. He said to hon. Members: "You have been Englishmen." The strength of those words lies in the perfect tense, with the implication that they were so no longer but had within themselves the power to be so again. I believe that we now have the opportunity, with the dissolution of the nightmare of the nuclear theory, for this country once again to have a defence policy that accords with the needs of this country as an island nation, and to have a foreign policy which rests upon a true, undistorted view of the outside world. Above all, we have the opportunity to have a foreign policy that is not dictated from outside to this country, but willed by its people. That day is coming. It may be delayed, but it will come.
Enoch Powell
Independence, the freedom of a self-governing nation, is in my estimation the highest political good, for which any disadvantage, if need be, and any sacrifice are a cheap price.
Powell Enoch
They tell us we must be prepared to contemplate, in fact to welcome, the alteration and alienation of our towns and cities. They tell us there is no such thing as our own people and our country. Indeed there is, and I say it in no mean or arrogant or exclusive spirit. What I know is that we have an identity of our own, as we have a territory of our own, and that the instinct to preserve that identity, as to defend that territory, is one of the deepest and strongest implanted in mankind. I happen also to believe that the instinct is good and that its beneficent effects are not exhausted...In our time that identity has been threatened more than once. In the past it was threatened by violence and aggression from without. It is now threatened from within by the foreseeable consequences of a massive but unpremeditated and fortunately, in substantial measure, reversible immigration.


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