SELDOM, SINCE THE days of Mosley, has an individual politician stolen so many headlines as Enoch Powell. Mr. Powell is of course no Fascist. But his latest speech, proposing a special Ministry for Repatriation to deal with the coloured people of Britain, has all the ghastly overtones of Orwell's Ministry of Truth and Animal Farm. For a Professor (of classics if not of modem history) he has been strangely oblivious of past legacies. One of these is the boomerang effect that induced expatriation can have, as with the French Huguenots, Sephardi Jews and immigrants from Ireland long ago. Those causing the departure of such peoples created valuable friends for their own most dreaded rivals and, in many cases, dangerous enemies to themselves.
The high-voltage emotion generated by such speeches is the greatest possible disservice that can be accorded to a problem which unquestionably asks much of people's faith and forbearance.
The very danger spots pointed to in America — where Negro colonies congregate — are the result of hatred engendered in the past by extremists posing as realists. Such men have only got away with it by gambling on the darker side of human nature.
Many will now wonder how long the English will continue to tolerate John Enoch Powell. Unless they back thoughts with actions, however, the grain of truth could eventually grow into a ugly beanstalk carrying someone to a heady pinnacle of poisoned power.
The Catholic Herald, November 22, 1968