John Enoch Powell MBE
June 16th 1912
Died: February 8th 1998
Enoch Powell was one of the youngest Brigadier in British military history at the age of 32.
Enoch Powell laid down the philosophical groundwork for Thatcherism.
Enoch Powell spoke out about the need for controlling inflation and had resigned from the Government in protest, far before monetarism was a gleam in Margaret Thatchers eye.
Enoch Powell was responsible for creating the public support that stopped mass immigration into the United Kindgom for several decades.
Enoch Powell was a patriot and a great British hero of the 20th Century.
Enoch Powell - a keen foxhunter
Enoch Powell was arguably the most controversial British politician of the postwar period. A brilliant scholar and an eloquent orator, Powell is best remembered for his contentious "Rivers of Blood" speech about immigration in 1968.
The only son of two Welsh-born teachers, John Enoch Powell was born and raised in Birmingham. His intellectual capabilities became apparent at an early age, and having studied Classics at Trinity College, Cambridge, he was appointed Professor of Greek at Sydney University aged just 25.
Two years later, at the outbreak of the Second World War, Powell returned to England to enlist as a private in the Royal Warwickshire Regiment. By the end of the war, he had become the youngest man to hold the rank of brigadier in the British army.
After the war, he joined the research department of the Conservative Party. He was elected as a Conservative MP for Wolverhampton South-West in 1950, a seat he held for 24 years.
In 1958, Powell carried out his first major act of political rebellion, when he resigned as financial secretary to the Treasury in protest at the Conservative government's plans for increased expenditure. At a time when Keynesian interventionist economic policies were in vogue, Powell's belief in free market forces was regarded as old fashioned.
Powell was not afraid of sacrificing his political career for the sake of expressing an outspoken viewpoint. This trait was never more apparent than when he made a speech in Birmingham in April 1968, in which he warned his audience of the apocalyptic consequences of continued immigration of people from the Commonwealth to Britain. Because of its reference to Virgil's prediction of war, during which the Tiber would foam with blood, Powell's warning became known as the 'Rivers of Blood' speech. Edward Heath, then Leader of the Opposition, sacked Powell from his Shadow Cabinet, interpreting his speech as "racialist". Powell would never hold a senior political position again.
However, Powell's anti-immigration standpoint gained widespread support from elements of the British public. He received over 100,000 letters of support, and London's dock workers marched to express their agreement with Powell. Members of Britain's ethnic minorities from the Caribbean and the Indian sub-continent perceived a heightened atmosphere of fear, distrust, and resentment in the wake of Powell's speech.
On the eve of the February 1974 general election, Powell suddenly quit the Conservative party because of its leader's intention to join the European Common Market. Barely six months later a snap general election was held, and Powell succeeded in returning to parliament as a Unionist MP for the northern Irish seat of Down South.
Powell lost his seat in 1992, largely because political boundary changes had made his constituency more Nationalist in composition.