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
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
Enoch Powell was responsible for
creating the public support that stopped mass
immigration into the United Kindgom for several
Enoch Powell was a patriot and a
great British hero of the 20th Century.
Enoch Powell - a keen foxhunter
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
lost his seat in 1992, largely because political
boundary changes had made his constituency more
Nationalist in composition.