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1968: Your thoughts on 'Rivers of Blood'

Immigration is a hot issue in Britain's upcoming general election.

So it's not surprising that On This Day's recent article about Enoch Powell's famous "Rivers of Blood" speech inspired many of you to comment on this controversial Conservative politician and his views.

The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received.

As the descendant of a commonwealth immigrant - one of the people whom Enoch Powell spoke out against (unfair as I wasn't alive to defend myself at the time), I must say that the attitude of some of the other comments [below] surprises me and makes me feel slightly ill.

When asked my nationality I reply British. When asked where I'm from I'd have to say England.

The differences I see between myself and my white British friends are limited, the colour of my skin perhaps and my families background.

People like me are the ones Enoch Powell feared would overwhelm England's traditional culture and society.

I might get round to that later - after I've finished my revision, gone for a pint with my friends, enjoyed the limited English sunshine, caught up with Eastenders ...
<b>Helen, UK

My family were friends of Enoch, and he was a dedicated politician.

His fears at the time were not for only how immigration would change the culture of this land, but how this land would react to immigrants.

" True asylum seekers should be helped; freeloaders and radicals should not. "

Paul, UK

With that thought in mind, he knew the dangers and wanted to mitigate that for both sides.

Integration cannot work when religions such as Islam are becoming more fundamental and radical, whilst Christianity more liberal.

True asylum seekers should be helped; freeloaders and radicals should not.
Paul Furness, UK

Knee jerk reactions and bigoted opinions evidenced by some of the correspondence on Enoch Powell's alleged preaching re immigration are common currency.

Just take the trouble to read his speeches.

He was reasoned and logical in his predictions in the view of most fair-minded people. The evidence is obvious.
Ron Reece, UK

I am more than amazed by the comments in respect of [Enoch Powell].

Can I ask people, these immigrants they speak of, why do I not see them? Why do I just see people?

In Scotland the population is declining yet people actually fear people coming into this country - it is "ours" by a fluke of birth.

I am of Irish Lithuanian descent and nobody for years has moaned at me for being an immigrant.

Are people that small they can't realise that everyone should have equal rights to go wherever they want as we are all equal?
Charles Blair, Scotland

It has become a cliché in recent years to use the expression "Enoch Powell was right!". But behind every cliché, there is truth.
Jed, UK

Britain was formed by people migrating to this island.

If we trace our family lines back far enough, we would find that we are all migrants to this country, and for some, that might be closer in our history than we realise.

Who are we to say "This is our country" and state with so much conviction that migration has ruined our country?

This is rooted in nothing else but prejudices formed by word of mouth and the press.

" We should reach out and form relationships, not resent people from being here. "

Rob, UK

You do not realise how dangerous and damaging to people's lives these attitudes are. It is sensible to manage the migration in to the UK, but to stop it altogether and resent the migration that has taken place is actually what is ruining our culture.

I am a white person and I love my country, and I feel deeply proud that we have helped people from other countries to have a better existence.

We should reach out and form relationships, not resent people from being here. Please try and search yourself and questions where your attitudes have come from.
Rob Beardall, UK

Enoch Powell rightly foresaw the madness of mass immigration into the United Kingdom and as a result we have seen many of our inner city areas turned into near ghettos.

It is to the regret of this country that such a poor politician as Edward Heath remained prime minister, while for his integrity Enoch Powell was marginalised.
Dougie, UK

I am both shocked and surprised by the majority of comments made on this page.

I had no idea that the BBC website could attract so many bigoted, intolerant, small-minded hypocrites who enjoy the benefits of a multi-cultural society yet are so frightened by difference that they attack it rather than seek to understand it.
C McDonald, UK

Enoch Powell was pilloried for his outspoken views at the time and would be even more so today, even prosecuted under the one-sided Racial Discrimination Laws.

He was disenfranchised mainly because unlike so many politicians he spoke the truth as he saw it and was not afraid.

The situation of positive discrimination has now reached such a point that even comments on this page will be deemed racist.
Chris Cooper, UK

As an expatriate of the UK I do remember this speech vividly.

Those immigrants he was referring to are Indians and Pakistanis. Look at the contributions made to society and to the UK by those very immigrants he so despised, viva [steel tycoon] Mr Mittal, Lord Swraj Paul [the sixth richest Asian in Britain] and of course your previous cricket captain Nasser Hussain.

If it weren't for these immigrants living in the UK and their next generation of children, living standards in the UK would have been worse.

No Englishman ever wanted to mop floors at Heathrow, or work in hotels as dishwashers etc.

Hopefully the so-called British will wake up one day and realise, "Why are we so snobby?" Or is it too late?

I think it is the latter.
Raj Sandhu, USA

I was a Conservative student at Manchester University at the time.

All hell broke when we rightly tried to get him to speak in the Student Union and subject his controversial views to some real scrutiny.

The Revolutionary Socialist Left and Liberals and Labour were incensed.

So Mr Powell was disinvited.

A remarkable piece of political intolerance which would have had the John Humphrys and Jeremy Paxmans of the day incandescent.

Just like Gerry Adams in later years, he was denied the "oxygen of publicity" - as if he needed it.
Michael Clarke, UK

Reading the comments on this page I wonder what country you people are talking about.

I live in multi-ethnic east London, have friends of all races and feel that I benefit hugely from this.

It certainly gives me the imagination and breadth of life experience to see people like Enoch Powell and most of the contributors to this page for the small-minded bigots they undoubtedly are.
Ian, UK

Enoch was 100% correct in his assessment of the consequences of opening up the country to immigration.

The situation will deteriorate in future too. Now we have race riots, housing shortages and ridiculously high house prices, terrorist threats from within the ethnic population.

Eventually the English will be a minority in their own country - the date for this can easily be calculated by doing the maths on relative birth rates and dilution due to immigration rates.

A very sad situation and one which could have been avoided if it were not for the politicians looking for votes.
Tony Thorp, Canada

There are two reasons behind the immigration into Britain. One is that it is the legacy of the British Empire and, two, it is the consequence of the economic need to fill a labour shortage during the 1960s.

Immigrants filled jobs spanning the whole spectrum from blue collar to being accountants, doctors and businessmen.

There is a minority as reflected by the comments on this page who take a very narrow minded view of immigration (who concur with Enoch Powell).

It smacks of hypocrisy and double standards.

What if the indigenous populations of Australia, New Zealand and America (Aborigines, Maoris and Red Indians) told the present settlers to go back to their own country?

What, Mr Tony Thorp (himself a migrant to Canada), do you think would happen then to unemployment and house prices in Britain? The fact that the British were migrants never seems to cross the thoughts of these blinkered individuals.

Having said all this I do believe a controlled immigration policy should be implemented in Britain given that there are only a finite set of resources.
Ajay, USA, ex-UK

I firmly believe that Mr Enoch Powell was the greatest weapon which the Conservative party NEVER used.

He was an eminently prophetic man and has been seen to have been proven correct.

This country desperately needs a new Enoch Powell but this time with some heavy party backing in order to implement a firm and positive immigration policy before we are turned into a Third World Country economy and infrastructure.
AP Smith, UK

As a UK born and bred individual, but having been an "expatriate worker" in the Middle East for almost 30 years, I have to say that with great regret and sadness that my country's standards and morals have continuously declined over the last 30 years.

There is no doubt [in my mind] that this declination and degradation in the quality of life is in the most part due to the influx of immigrants - of all nationalities.

There is no wonder that the likes of UKIP and Kilroy-Silk, (who as an individual I cannot stand), are nevertheless gaining support.

Enoch Powell came and went, the rivers of blood he predicted have certainly been witnessed, and wil inevitably move from small streams to major torrents in the years to come. Mark my words!
David Fryer, Oman/UK

Enoch Powell was NOT a racist. At no point did he did he make discriminatory comments about immigrants.

HIS warning was about a society trying to absorb too many immigrants in a very short space of time. Which, funnily enough is what is happening now as the more reasonable contributors to this page have already pointed out.
Guy, England

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