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Newspaper to stage debate marking 50 years since ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech

Enoch PowellA regional daily is set to hold a debate on the legacy of Enoch Powell to mark the 50th anniversary of the controversial politician’s ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech.

The Express & Star, Wolverhampton, will host the event later this month, with former Birmingham Post editor Nigel Hastilow among the panelists.

Nigel was selected as a Conservative parliamentary candidate in 2007, but resigned his candidacy following criticism of a column he wrote for the Express & Star in which he suggested Mr Powell had been correct to warn that uncontrolled immigration “would change our country irrevocably.”

Nigel wrote at the time: “He was right. It has changed dramatically.”

In the so-called ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech, made at a meeting of the Conservative Political Centre in Birmingham on 20 April 1968, Mr Powell, pictured, called for the “voluntary” repatriation of immigrants.

He was sacked from the Conservative front bench by the party’s then leader, Ted Heath, and eventually joined the Ulster Unionists.

Also on the panel will be UKIP MEP Bill Etheridge, Labour MP Eleanor Smith, who holds Mr Powell’s former Wolverhampton South West constituency, historian Dr Shirin Hirsch, political commentator Nick Jones and Wolverhampton-born political activist Patrick Vernon.

The debate will be chaired by Express & Star editor Keith Harrison.

Readers are being asked to submit their questions for the discussion, which will be held during the second annual Wolverhampton Literature Festival on 27 January.

A piece publicising the debate on the E&S website states: “Did Powell’s speech foster an anti-immigration feeling across the country, or was he simply saying what many people thought at the time?

“How has history treated his words, and what have we learned as a result? Our panel is waiting to hear from you.”

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  • January 11, 2018 at 8:22 pm

    Mr Enoch Powell was a very intelligent person , he also talked to his then constituents and others to get a balanced honest view which the establishment quickly crushed.
    Mr Powell pointed out the obvious which was simply that uncontrolled immigration causes many long lasting problems to over saturated towns where to this day ghettos abound and pretty well no integration happens . Stubborn groups keep their native religion and persist in building their places of worship through the towns and cities where hardly any were 80 years ago.these places are of no use to the native peoples of the region. or their laws and schools . but none the less they are aggressively forced on us by the establishment.
    The NHS is now saturated with many patients who have never paid in anything to our health system , The uncontrolled immigration has BROKEN large parts of our welfare system , but the establishment forbids anyone to speak up or state the obvious about the results of unchecked inpouring of different nationalities into our country. The effects are in my view staggering Mr Powell was quite correct stating the honest views of the local people , they were right then and the same applies now .

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