Friday, June 15, 2012
Enoch was right!
When most people hear the words ‘Enoch Powell’ they think of the phrase ‘rivers of blood’. It was Powell’s misfortune — partly self-inflicted — that his monumental contribution to political ideas should still be eclipsed by a phrase that he never uttered, misquoted from the speech that still defines him.
Powell was born 100 years ago this Saturday, in a terrace house by a railway line in a suburb of Birmingham, the only child of two teachers.
In time, he would become the most brilliant classical scholar of his generation at Cambridge, the youngest professor in the British Empire, the youngest Brigadier in the Army, an MP, a Cabinet Minister and, in his re-invention as a tribune of the people, one of the most loved and hated men in Britain.
He was, in own words, ‘born a Tory’ — by which he meant he was born with a natural reverence for the institutions of this country, notably its constitution.
Yet he would fight a war with that party that was partly responsible for it losing two general elections in 1974, because his highly intellectual view of what a Tory was, and what a Tory should believe in, was at odds with the pragmatic, centre-left doctrine of Ted Heath, whose nemesis Powell became.
Because of his famous — or notorious — speech on immigration, delivered in Birmingham in April 1968, Powell’s wider achievements have been largely ignored. He served in the Cabinet for just 15 months, but his influence on politics and political thought is greater than that of any other Member of Parliament in the past century.
It was Powell who, in 1957, predicted that excessive State borrowing would bring economic decline. Long before Milton Friedman, the free-market champion who won the Nobel Prize for Economics for demonstrating the link between an expansion in the supply of money and higher inflation, Powell explicitly outlined that argument.
In the Sixties, he mocked the use of prices and incomes policies (with which the government tried to control inflation by limiting increases in wages and prices). He also ridiculed the scape-goating of trades unions for ‘causing’ inflation by demanding big pay rises.
He deplored the waste of public money on nationalised industries and urged what he called their ‘denationalisation’, using the funds freed to pay for tax cuts to encourage economic growth. He also understood that if Scotland had a separate parliament, it would inevitably soon become a separate country.
Almost 45 years ago, before Britain made its successful application to join what was then called the Common Market, Powell warned Britons they would lose the power to govern themselves. Equally presciently, from the moment a single currency was mooted, he pointed out that countries joining it would be stripped of their economic sovereignty — and, if it were to function properly, would lose the right to have their governments determine the exact nature of their public spending.
And, in an age when it was more or less compulsory for Conservative politicians to worship America, and America’s influence in the world, Powell repeatedly made clear his distrust of U.S. foreign policy, believing it would cause more conflicts than it prevented.
He had first seen what he considered to be America’s heavy hand in diplomacy when, as a staff officer, he attended Churchill’s meeting with Roosevelt at Casablanca in 1943. Nothing he saw subsequently made him feel any better about that country.
Yet all these ideas — ideas now espoused with fervour by politicians, and not just those of the Right — remain clouded by the controversy over Powell’s views on what his critics call ‘race’.
In fact, although Powell made many speeches on immigration, he never made one on race: because he was not a racist, and therefore the matter would have been irrelevant and intellectually absurd to him.
He had served in India during World War II learned Urdu and Punjabi to a high standard, loved Indian culture, and said he would have been quite happy to live and die there. He was devoid of any idiotic ideas of racial superiority. However, when as shadow defence secretary he made what he called the Birmingham speech — the Rivers of Blood speech to almost everyone else — the Left seized upon his words in a fit of self-righteous panic, and engaged in one of the most revolting orgies of grand-standing in our political history.
His fellow Conservatives attacked him in order to try to distance themselves from any taint of racism. Socialists attacked him in an attempt to destroy the moral reputation of the Conservative Party.
I knew Powell well for the last 15 or so years of his life — he died in 1998, and he asked me to write his biography. During many long conversations, he never expressed a trace of regret at having made the speech, except in one particular. ‘If I had quoted Virgil in the original (Latin),’ he said of the ‘River Tiber’ phrase that came to distinguish the speech, ‘I shouldn’t have caused so much trouble.’
He may not have regretted what he said on that fateful day, but he came to realise that his use of a vivid classical quotation had derailed his otherwise conventional political career.
He had warned that if the Labour government’s anti-discrimination Race Relations Bill became law, it would allow the immigrant community to ‘agitate and campaign against their fellow citizens’.
The apocalypse was in sight. ‘As I look ahead, I am filled with foreboding. Like the Roman, I seem to see “the River Tiber foaming with much blood”,’ he said.
The allusion was to the Sibyl’s prophecy in Book VI of Virgil’s Aeneid about Aeneas’s return to Rome: ‘I see wars, horrible wars, and the Tiber foaming with much blood.’
Part of Powell’s problem was that hardly anyone in his audience, or who read reports of the speech, had his titanic intellect or his subtlety of mind. Crucially, the speech was made without prior warning to his fellow shadow cabinet members, even though it had discussed the Race Relations Bill two days previously.
Outraged on this count and by the provocative content, Ted Heath sacked him from the shadow cabinet, and Powell’s messianic role in our politics was thereafter conducted from the backbenches and, thanks to his prolific journalism, through the columns of newspapers and magazines.
The Bill was why Powell made the speech: but he was at pains, in the speech itself and later on, to insist that he was doing so in his role as the MP for Wolverhampton South-West. His constituency had witnessed an enormous influx of immigrants in the preceding years.
He stressed that it was not only his white constituents who expressed their resentment at the scale of immigration: the small number of immigrants who had originally come to Wolverhampton in the Fifties had expressed their worries, too, because of the breakdown they perceived in community relations as a result of the barely restricted flow.
Powell had no objection to immigration. He had a profound one, however, to immigration on so large a scale, because it meant immigrants found it impossible to integrate. He had witnessed the disaster of multiculturalism on the sub-continent (such as problems between different religions in India) and had no wish to see communal strife here, but he feared mass immigration would cause it.
Chiefly, he felt compelled to speak on behalf of his constituents. One had told him of his wish to emigrate and see his children settle overseas. He quoted him as saying: ‘In this country in 15 or 20 years’ time the black man will have the whip hand over the white man.’
Powell continued: ‘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? ‘The answer is that I do not have the right not to do so .... I simply do not have the right to shrug my shoulders and think about something else.’
He spoke, too, of communities following customs ‘inappropriate in Britain’; of the strain placed on housing, health, social services and education provision by the influx.
Most inflammatory of all, there was his reference to a little old lady who had excreta pushed through her letterbox by the immigrants who surrounded her.
Powell perhaps was disingenuous in expressing shock and surprise at the effect his speech had. He had warned the editor of his local newspaper, the week before he delivered it, that the speech would ‘fizz like a rocket’.
But I am certain he believed his stature in his party was too great for Heath to sack him, and he never contemplated that the speech would end his front-bench career.
Yet his dismissal had some positive consequences. The most direct of which was an Immigration Act in 1971 that responded to some of his concerns, by limiting the number of people from the Commonwealth who could apply for a British passport.
More than even that, his return to the backbenches gave him a freedom to expound ideas that helped break the destructive post-war consensus, and — not least by Margaret Thatcher’s own account — laid the foundations of what came to be called Thatcherism.
Powell, in league with his friend and admirer, the Labour Left-winger Michael Foot, derailed the joint attempt by the Wilson government and Heath’s opposition, to reform the House of Lords in 1969, which would have made it entirely the creature of the House of Commons.
That same year he began his high-profile crusade against British membership of the Common Market: his arguments were widely ignored then, but are now accepted as having been right by millions who used to discount them.
Mrs Thatcher developed her economic policy directly from Powell’s critique of the Heath government’s massively inflationary spending programme between 1970 and 1972.
But above all, as part of the Conservative Party’s internal opposition between 1970 and 1974, Powell demonstrated a towering integrity and commitment to principle that no other senior politician has ever come near.
‘Too often today,’ he had said shortly after the Birmingham speech, ‘people are ready to tell us, this is not possible, that is not possible. I say, whatever the true interest of our country calls for is always possible. We have nothing to fear but our own doubts.’
He refused to fight the February 1974 election for the Tories, on the legitimate grounds that Heath had broken virtually every promise of his 1970 manifesto. He went on to advise electors to vote for a party that promised a referendum on our continued membership of the Common Market — which meant voting Labour.
Even today, old television footage of the moment when he uttered this view, in a speech in Yorkshire three days before the election that Heath would lose, has the power to electrify.
‘Judas!’ a heckler cried. ‘Judas was paid!’ Powell retorted, in an instant. ‘Judas was paid! I am making a sacrifice!’
Having quit the Conservatives over Europe, Powell was invited to stand as Official Ulster Unionist candidate in South Down. He did, and won. He spent the rest of his parliamentary career (until 1987) as an Ulster MP.
Powell was a man of conspicuous moral greatness, something that, alone, made him unsuited for politics, because it meant he could not keep what he perceived to be the truth to himself.
He had a gift denied to most politicians, which was of making prophecies that were right. He was right about Europe; right about the single currency; right about economic management; right about Lords reform; right about devolution; right about American imperialism; and, with even Trevor Phillips, the figurehead of the Equalities Commission, now arguing that multiculturalism has failed, right about that, too.
Fourteen years after his death, and almost half-a-century after he sat in the Cabinet, his influence on political thought is not only undiminished: it continues to grow.
How absence of a loving father can wreck a child's life: New study shows relationship with both parents is crucial
This reinforces the comments I have often made (e.g. here) about the immense emotional strength it gives a daughter to be a "Daddy's girl".
A father's love is as important to a child’s emotional development as a mother’s, a large-scale study has confirmed.
Examining the cases of more than 10,000 sons and daughters revealed how a cold or distant father can damage a child’s life, sometimes for decades to come.
The review of 36 studies from around the world concluded that his love is at least as important to youngsters as that of their mothers.
Researcher Professor Ronald Rohner said that fatherly love is key to development and hopes his findings will motivate more men to become involved in caring for their offspring. ‘In the US, Great Britain and Europe, we have assumed for the past 300 years that all children need for normal healthy development is a loving relationship with their mother,’ he said.
‘And that dads are there as support for the mother and to support the family financially but are not required for the healthy development of the children. ‘But that belief is fundamentally wrong. We have to start getting away from that idea and realise the dad’s influence is as great, and sometimes greater, than the mother’s.’
His conclusions came after he examined data from studies in which children and adults were asked how loving their parents were.
Questions included if they were made to feel wanted or needed, if their parents went out of their way to hurt their feelings and if they felt loved. Those taking part also answered questions about their personality. These ranged from ‘I think about fighting or being mean’ to ‘I think the world is a good, happy place’.
Tallying the results showed that those rejected in childhood felt more anxious and insecure as well as hostile and aggressive.
Many of the problems carried over into adulthood, reported the study published in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Review.
Crucially, a father’s love was often just as important as a mother’s. In some cases, it was even more so. One reason for this may be that rejection is more painful when it comes from the parent the child regards as more powerful or respected.
Professor Rohner, of the University of Connecticut, US, said rejection in childhood has the most ‘strong and consistent effect on personality and development’. He added: ‘Children and adults everywhere – regardless of race, culture, and gender – tend to respond in exactly the same way when they perceived themselves to be rejected.’
Professor Rohner said that children who feel unloved tend to become anxious and insecure, and this can make them needy. Anger and resentment can lead to them closing themselves off emotionally in an attempt to protect themselves from further hurt.
This may make it hard for them to form relationships. They can suffer from low self-esteem and find it difficult to handle stressful situations.
Professor Rohner added that research shows the same parts of the brain are activated when people feel rejected as when they suffer physical pain. He added: ‘Unlike physical pain, however, people can psychologically relive the emotional pain of rejection over and over for years.’
His research shows a father’s input is particularly important for behaviour and can influence if a child later drinks to excess, takes drugs or suffers mental health problems.
Norman Wells, of the Family Education Trust, said: ‘This study underlines the importance of intact and stable families where both the father and the mother are committed to bringing up their children together. ‘Successive governments have failed to recognise the fact that men and women are different and that they parent differently.’
He criticised ministers for ‘pretending that one parent is as good as two, or that two parents of the same sex are as good as two natural parents of the opposite sex’.
This week, the Coalition announced penalties for mothers who fail to allow former partners to maintain a proper relationship with their children, including jail. A right to ‘shared parenting’ following family breakdown will also be enshrined in law.
Old-fashioned passbook account becomes a hit in Britain
I would take one out in Australia if it were available. Online money seems too insecure to me -- which is one reason why I have almost all my assets in shares and real property
Everybody laughed at the Yorkshire Building Society last year when it announced plans for a new savings accounts operated solely by using a passbook.
In the days of the internet, surely nobody wanted a savings account which could only be opened and operated by visiting a branch with your passbook?
But, twelve months later, the building society’s ‘Triple Access Saver’ has become the most popular account launched by the 148-year-old mutual.
In fact, it is around three times more popular than any other instant access savings account launched by Yorkshire Building Society over the last year.
The move shows a desire among savers to return to traditional types of customer service as disaffection grows over internet banking.
Mike Helliwell, savings product manager at the Yorkshire, which has 3.3million members, said: ‘This time last year, there was some scepticism about whether - in the age of internet banking - savers really wanted a simple, traditional passbook account. ‘The fact that Triple Access Saver has been our most popular savings account since its launch speaks for itself.
‘Customers appreciate the straightforward terms, ease of use and an attractive, competitive rate without any introductory bonus for a limited period.’
It comes at a time when banks and building societies are increasingly forcing people to go online in order to get the best deal on their savings accounts.
But this is a major problem for many people. Many do not have internet access, while others struggle to use their computer and others simply do not trust online banking.
With the Triple Access Saver, customers do not need have to remember a password or a PIN number.
They simply go into one of the building society’s 227 branches and open an account with a minimum of £100. The maximum balance is £2million.
Customers are allowed to make three withdrawals each year without incurring a penalty, and the account pays a variable interest rate, currently 2.25 per cent.
If they want to put more money into the account, or take out money, they take their passbook into the branch. Only a signature is required.
A Yorkshire spokesman said yesterday they launched the account because so many people were saying how they felt nostalgic about the days of the traditional passbook. It tells them how much money is in their account and the details of all their transactions since they opened it. She said: ‘People like to look at their passbook and to get it updated. They know where they are with a passbook. They can hold it in their hand.
‘People told us that they wanted a traditional account and so we launched one. Our customers did not want to have to go online to get the best deal.’ Unlike many of its rivals, Yorkshire Building Society is opening new branches, rather than closing them down. Over the last two weeks, it has opened branches in Ilkley and Pudsey and a third one opened in Bingley this week. Over the last four years, it has merged with three other building societies - the Barnsley, the Chelsea and Norwich & Peterborough.
When Yorkshire Building Society was founded in 1864 in Huddersfield, nobody was given a passbook. All transactions were recorded on a ledger at the branch.
It was not until people complained that they wanted their own record that the passbook - which was ‘passed’ between the customer and the branch staff - was introduced.
Australia: It's ok to swear at the boss, says Labor party lapdog
"FAIR Work Australia" is an quasi-judicial body staffed by crusty old unionists appointed by a Leftist government
FAIR Work Australia has ordered the reinstatement of an employee who was sacked for telling his boss to "get f ... ed".
Security guard Craig Symes was sacked from Linfox Armaguard last year after he told his manager to get f ... ed, complained about the "f ... ing roster" and then aggressively poked a notice board - all while carrying a loaded gun.
Symes, who had worked with the Brisbane firm since 2000, cracked during a monthly meeting last December after having a fight with his wife before work. "He was frustrated with his wife and, in hindsight, should not have come (to the meeting)," FWA heard.
He abused manager Aryn Hala after being assigned to a faulty armoured van and stormed out. Symes later apologised in writing but was sacked the next day.
FWA ruled Symes' behaviour amounted to misconduct but found his dismissal was harsh.
While finding swearing at a person was "of a different character" to swearing at an object, or as an adjective, FWA Commissioner Helen Cargill said it was "also relevant to consider the evidence that the respondent's workplace is one in which bad language is commonly used and in which ... employees may have received mixed messages about such use".
She said the swearing was not "overheard by other employees which could have undermined Mr Halas' authority".
Ms Cargill ordered the company reinstate Symes with back pay - less six weeks pay as a penalty.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.