I’m just back from a week in sun soaked Turkey on the south Aegean coast. It was 40+ degrees with not a cloud in the sky absolutely blissful. It brought home to me that there is no distance in prayer and that wherever I am I can relate to my God for something that I don’t even have to be around or near.
While I was away something that came to mind was the amount of people who have had a bad press for saying or believing in something that no one else could see at the time. For some they were castigated by people who misunderstood the words that were being spoken. The one person on my mind currently is Enoch Powell. This was a man whose intellect was far above most others within politics at the time. He was a professor of Greek and Roman literature and used Roman symbolism to make a point in what has become know as the “rivers of blood speech” which incidentally was a left wing slur on a point they simply could not understand. The term I have used above was the same one used to accuse Enoch Powell of being a racist which he never was. Enoch Powell was against immigration for the same reasons that it is bringing our country to its knees now. He was a man who I would have no regret calling a prophet because everything that we are now experiencing he foretold back in 1957 and again publicly in his Birmingham speech in 1968 that we would suffer as a nation if the Labour party’s Race Relations bill came into force. Powell later said that if he had quoted Virgil in the original Latin; said of the River Tiber phrase that came to distinguish the speech he would not have caused such a fuss which ultimately ended his political career. Powell warned that if the bill came into force “the immigrant community would agitate and campaign against their fellow citizens”. Powell said in his Birmingham speech “As I look ahead I am filled with foreboding. Like the Roman, I seem to see “the river Tiber foaming with much blood.” The allusion was to Sibyl’s prophecy in Book VI of Virgil’s Aeneid about Aeneas’s return to Rome: “I see wars, horrible wars, and the Tiber foaming with much blood.” The problem was that no-one in his political audience understood the classical content and so threw themselves into panic and so labelled Powell a relentless racist. A label still held by those in ignorance.
Mr Enoch Powell was a giant among politicians and 14 years after his death he was right about so much. He was right about Europe, he was right about economic management; right about Lord’s reform; right about devolution; right about American imperialism; and with Trevor Phillips the figurehead of the equalities commission, now arguing that multiculturalism has failed, right about that too.
Incidentally, anyone who thinks Enoch Powell was a racist could never have known how much he loved the Indian continent and the people. He lived there for 5 years spoke fluent Punjabi and Urdu and often said he would have loved to have died there. Sound like a racist to you?