Saturday 21 April 2018

Enoch Powell: "In the Middle East our great enemies are the Americans."


"Ah, Enoch, dear Enoch! He once said something to me I never understood. He said, "You know, I've told you all I know about housing, and you can make your speech accordingly. Can I talk to you about something that you know all about and I know nothing? I want to tell you that in the Middle East our great enemies are the Americans." You know, I had no idea what he meant. I do now."

Sir Anthony Eden to Andrew Freeth after the Suez Crisis

Powell was prescient about so many things, including the fatal consequences of letting the cameras into the House of Commons and creating House of Commons Select Committees.

He championed free market economics and monetarism in the 1960s when that seemed absurd. He never gave up on his opposition to the EEC. He disliked the Commonwealth, was cool towards America and thought the Cold War unnecessary.

Some more quotations:

“Of course I am very proud of being a Tory. Yes, in my head and in my heart I regard myself as a Tory. As I have said, I was born that way; I believe it is congenital. I am unable to change it. That is how I see the world… [The EEC] is the most un-Tory thing that can be conceived.”

Interview by Brian Walden (29 January 1978)

The relevant fact about the history of the British Isles and above all of England is its separateness in a political sense from the history of continental Europe. The English have never belonged to it and have always known that they did not belong. The assertion contains no element of paradox. The Angevin Empire contradicts it as little as the English claim to the throne of France; neither the possession of Gascony nor the inheritance of Hanover made Edward I or George III anything but English sovereigns. When Henry VIII declared that 'this realm of England is an empire (imperium) of itself', he was making not a new claim but a very old one; but he was making it at a very significant point of time. He meant—as Edward I had meant, when he said the same over two hundred years before—that there is an imperium on the continent, but that England is another imperium outside its orbit and is endowed with the plenitude of its own sovereignty. The moment at which Henry VIII repeated this assertion was that of what is misleadingly called 'the reformation'—misleadingly, because it was, and is, essentially a political and not a religious event. The whole subsequent history of Britain and the political character of the British people have taken their colour and trace their unique quality from that moment and that assertion. It was the final decision that no authority, no law, no court outside the realm would be recognised within the realm. When Cardinal Wolsey fell, the last attempt had failed to bring or keep the English nation within the ambit of any external jurisdiction or political power: since then no law has been made for England outside England, and no taxation has been levied in England by or for an authority outside England—or not at least until the proposition that Britain should accede to the Common Market.
Speech to The Lions' Club, Brussels (24 January 1972)

“Independence, the freedom of a self-governing nation, is in my estimation the highest political good, for which any disadvantage, if need be, and any sacrifice are a cheap price.

Speech at Stockport (8 June 1973),


  1. He disliked the Commonwealth, was cool towards America and thought the Cold War unnecessary.

    He was certainly correct on those three issues.

  2. David in Belgrade22 April 2018 at 10:16

    Thanks for the above, very interesting and well expressed views.

    Powell - a learned, erudite and gifted man. A poor politician though.

    Did you ever get to meet him when you worked in the Commons?