When you ask most people in the Black Country what the single biggest problem facing the country is, most say immigration.And of course, he's right: the country has changed dramatically. I don't think that anyone denies that - the only issue is whether we think it is a good thing. I don't, and I'm pretty sure that the vast majority of the public don't. Keith Vaz, on the other hand, does.
Many insist: 'Enoch Powell was right'.
Enoch, once MP for Wolverhampton South-West, was sacked from the Conservative front bench and marginalised politically for his 1968 'rivers of blood' speech, warning that uncontrolled immigration would change our country irrevocably. He was right. It has changed dramatically.
Of course, it's the reference to the Evil Enoch that has really raised hackles. The work and pensions secretary Peter Hain says that Mr Hastilow's comments have exposed the "racist underbelly" of the Tory Party. The supposedly right-wing shadow home secretary, David Davis, described the comments as "very unwise", an indicator of the extent to which the Tories now, and for some time previously, have allowed the politically-correct left to frame the limits of "acceptable debate". The left has deemed Powell's so-called "Rivers of Blood" speech to be something akin to Hitler's speech at the Nuremberg Rally, and, in their eyes, anyone who dissents from that line is clearly an unrepentant Nazi. And they have succeeded in inculcating this view in a great many people, especially those who are too young to remember Powell's speech, and have never, of course, bothered to read the text of it.
Well, I have read the text of Powell's speech, and not only do I find nothing in it that any rational person could complain of, but I also find that he rather accurately predicted many of the unwelcome changes that continued mass immigration - now running, by the way, at over fifteen times what it was when Powell delivered the speech - has brought to this country. So, yes, my belief is that "Enoch was Right", and that Nigel Hastilow showed considerable courage (and possibly substantial foolhardiness, from a careerist perspective) in raising the issue. I also think that, whether the likes of Peter Hain like it or not, the vast majority of people in this country do, knowingly or otherwise, share in the general sentiments expressed by Enoch Powell. Of course, Hain and Co don't like this, and thus they make every effort to shut down any discussion of the issue that transgresses the artificial limits of acceptability that they have imposed, and which the Tories slavishly go along with. They attempt to induce a general belief that even talking about immigration, beyond those very narrow limits, is "racist", whatever that means this week. But they cannot change the fact that the problems that Enoch Powell identified nearly forty years ago are still with us, and that they have got worse, and that most people recognise this.
Postscript: Should any readers wish to peruse the speech's text, then I would advise them that the Mild Colonial Boy, Esq, posted the full text at his blog last month, and that you can read it there. Which I would recommend doing, especially if you haven't read it before.
Update: Nigel Hastilow has a blog of his own, here. In particular, he has left a very brief post to thank those who have expressed their support for him over this matter. At the time of writing, it has attracted 92 comments, of which almost all are strongly supportive. I have also left a message of support, which is currently waiting to be moderated. The strong support that is being shown for Nigel Hastilow, most of it, I would guess, coming from people who stumbled across his blog by means of a Google search, as I myself did, contrasts with the general condemnation coming from the political elite, and serves to illustrate the disconnect between that elite, and the general public.