Cable compares Cameron with Powell

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In the Telegraph of Christmas Eve, Paul Goodman, Editor of Conservative Home, has published an extremely erudite and well-considered discussion of Vince Cable’s astonishing comparison of Prime Minister David Cameron with Enoch Powell. Goodman points out that the claim was mere political gamesmanship.  Cable gets the oxygen of publicity.  The Lib-Dems get a little help in differentiating themselves from the Tories, eighteen months ahead of a General Election.  Even the Prime Minister stands to benefit.  In rejecting Cable’s suggestion, he reassures his back benches, while also gently showing the Lib-Dems as irresponsible and scare-mongering.  And the general public?  Probably completely unmoved.

Powell, of course, has become a hate figure, particularly on the left of politics.  He is a deeply (and perhaps deliberately) misunderstood figure.  Merely to mention his name makes one automatically a bad person, and quite possibly a closet racist.  So though I was tempted to Tweet along the lines of “Unlike David Cameron, Enoch Powell was a statesman”, I anticipated the avalanche of vilification I could expect from Twitter (and probably from the Guardian’s diary column).  So I decided that discretion was the better part of valour, and left the thought un-Tweeted.

Powell is variously described as scholar, soldier, statesman, arch-rebel, philosopher and poet.  Curiously, a word applied to him less often is “politician”, and it is true that Powell was so principled, so logical, so sure he was right, that he sometimes seemed to lack the empathy to understand how his words would be received (as a politician should).

Perhaps that was never clearer than in his famous “Rivers of Blood” speech, on which the left’s vilification is largely based — although of course he didn’t use the phrase “Rivers of Blood”.  He said “Like the Roman, I seem to see the River Tiber foaming with much blood”.  This of course was a classical allusion from a classical scholar (Virgil, Aeneid VI, 87) and I have read that in his first draft of the speech he intended to quote it in the original Latin.  Perhaps it would have been better had be done so.

He clearly intended it as a metaphor.  He was not actually predicting blood in the streets (although we’ve seen some of that recently).  But he feared, with some justification, that large-scale immigration by people of radically different cultures would lead to problems with what these days we call “social cohesion”.  Powell would not have been at all surprised by the calls we hear today for the application of Sharia Law in the UK, for example.

Was Powell “a racist”?  He was a man of his time.  But he had served as an officer in India, where he was reportedly highly regarded and respected by the men under his command.  Was he a right-wing extremist?  He returned to the UK in 1939 to join the fight against Fascism.  He believed in his country, and he believed in freedom and democracy.  So do I.  If that makes us right-wing, so be it.

My dilemma over Twitter was resolved by a letter in the paper (on the next page from Goodman’s piece) from John Carlisle, the former Conservative MP, whom I have met a number of times in Brussels.  A very sound man, and obviously more courageous than I am.  His two-line letter read “Cable compares Cameron to Enoch Powell.  If only….”.  I Tweeted it as a quote.

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11 Responses to Cable compares Cameron with Powell

  1. Anyoldiron says:

    You write, “Cable compares Cameron with Powell” which just goes to show just how “out of touch” with the real world, Mr Cable is.

  2. Charles Wardrop says:

    Too many voters are dazzled and often misled by “images” and, often, group-think : that’s why nationalistic wars and movements like Greenery and, for that matter, the EU, develop and waste.
    We need politicians who are wiser than most of those of the present day to guide us towards the balanced truths, as far as these can be discerned.
    Roger Helmer is one such: thanks!

    • Me_Again says:

      You are correct Charles.
      We are fed small parcels of spun information in a stream of digestible pieces.
      These are spun so that we will form the correct impression of the item and make it appear a considered judgement.
      Contrary arguments are left out.
      Discussion points are left out.

      Why do we have politicians who are not as wise as they need to be?
      Simple. The current lot were a crop grown at universities around the country. They were reared on subtle left ideology, they were told they were the inheritors, the right people to lead because they were being given the tools of the trade they were to take up. Most of all they didn’t need to have a strong belief in any political ideology because they could simply pick a party they’d be most likely to thrive in.

      Then begins a simple box ticking check list to parliamentary success. On leaving university with a politics degree [doesn’t need to be 1:1] Join the party who you have the most contacts in or feel that you have the best chance of rising in. Never a join a party because you are committed to their cause -if they have one- you will seem like a fanatic.
      1. Always toe the party line
      2. get a job, any job using contacts made at uni so your CV looks as if you’ve worked for a living, it needn’t be for more than a year or so.
      3. As above except squeeze two quasi jobs into the same period of time, looks better on the candidate selection.
      3a. get a ‘job’ in politics to avoid having to work any more. Usually some sort of ‘fag’ for a current politician.
      4. recognise who your benefactors are and make sure you don’t upset them.
      5 keep your flies zipped/knickers on to make you morally acceptable, or bury errors deep /do it far away from limelight of any kind.
      6. Get married, become a lesbian, be openly gay -this demonstrates all sort of ‘life attributes’ and ticks lots of little boxes.
      7 be sycophantic until it is time to chop whoever you were being sycophantic to, off at the knees, then demonstrate ruthlessness. Ticks more boxes.

      Press the button and a hiss of compressed air, out pops another politician ready to be painted in the party colours and ‘box ticked’ for leadership.

      This is the ‘Bullshit Bingo’ played out nowadays.

  3. Richard111 says:

    I considered Enoch Powell a hero. Cameron does not have the moral and intellectual integrity.
    Sadly, wise politicians are NOT going to sort out the current mess. This is a social evolution thing and society must go back into the melting pot. Lessons must be learned by EVERYONE, not just politicians.

  4. DICK R says:

    How dare he compere Cameron with Enoch Powell, he was a true patriot ,if the traitor Heath had not sacked him from government we would now be living in a free country , not some offshore province of an insane socialist bureaucracy infested with the dregs from some of the most lawless parts of the world ,teetering on the brink of bankruptcy unable, to control our own borders
    Cable is a despicable piece of filth not fit to lick the boots of Enoch Powell .

  5. A considered and honest perambulation around Cable’s comment. Powell was, as Roger says, a man of principled logic and it’s more than interesting to read that he considered quoting Vergil directly. What if he had done so? It’s an essay topic.

    Cable’s remark was more glitz than intellect and for some or all of the reasons expounded above. It is a mind-game this politics but alas one which affects us all, albeit unbeknown to most. The comments by readers (above) allude to why we are where we are now and until some sort of metamorphosis takes place, where we shall be tomorrow.

    UKIP is the only party with a chance of storming the ramparts of the current political scene and changing minds for the better. Powell would recognise this were he alive but would be at a loss to understand today’s sound-bite culture and how to adapt to it. Oxbridge would shun him and I dare say he would fare less well now than then. But let’s not despair – there’s light on the horizon and one of them is Roger and his common-sense approach to problems. Keep the torch alight!

  6. Linda Hudson says:

    If only Mr, Cameron was just 1% like Enoch, how can a person who had foresight into the future, be classed as racist?

  7. DICK R says:

    Despite what the leftie liberals would like you to believe, race IS important, it defines our history culture, and traditions ,every time some Euro fanatic screams RAACCCCIIISSST at UKIP , it piles on the votes by the truck load ,they should be encouraged .

  8. Ex-expat Colin says:

    Don’t know when to keep his mouth shut really……I thought once upon a time such an elder might be good. Not this time though.

    BTW: will you respond to John Redwood – What does a UKIP MEP do?
    http://johnredwoodsdiary.com

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