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David Runciman: Shuffling Off into Obscurity, 5 May 2016

... off into obscurity, unable to comprehend the scale of the disaster that has overtaken them. Enoch Powell said every political career ends in failure but this was something worse: utter humiliation. Understandably, and with the benefit of a little hindsight, Laws wants to know whether it could have been avoided. What could they have done ...

One for the road

Ian Hamilton, 21 March 1991

by Kingsley Amis.
Hutchinson, 346 pp., £16.99, March 1991, 0 09 174533 0
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... Sacred Rhino of Uganda’? Thirdly, there will be a near-embargo on genealogical bullshit, Tony Powell stuff about the ancient Amises of Virginia, USA. We get a grandad with hairs sticking out of his red nose (‘how much I disliked and was repelled by him’), a grandma – ‘large, dreadful, hairy-faced’ – whom he remembers having ‘loathed and ...

Not Very Permeable

Colin Kidd: Rory Stewart’s Borderlands, 19 January 2017

The Marches: Border Walks with My Father 
by Rory Stewart.
Cape, 351 pp., £18.99, October 2016, 978 0 224 09768 0
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... seems foreign, a country that espouses the anti-EU and anti-immigrant values once associated with Enoch Powell. The Anglo-Scottish Union survives, for the moment, because, with oil prices low, an independent Scotland divorced from the English economy would be unable to sustain much in the way of a welfare state. Nevertheless, Britishness is ...

Pure, Fucking Profit

Joanna Biggs: ‘Assembly’, 15 July 2021

by Natasha Brown.
Hamish Hamilton, 105 pp., £12.99, June, 978 0 241 51570 9
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... her colonial subjects. Not soldiers, this time, but nurses to carry a wavering NHS on their backs. Enoch Powell himself sailed upon Barbados and implored us, come. And so we came and built and mended and nursed; cooked and cleaned. We paid taxes, paid extortionate rent to the few landlords who would take us. We were hated. The National Front ...

It’s a riot

Michael Ignatieff, 20 August 1981

‘Civil Disturbances’: Hansard, Vol. 8, Nos 143-144, 16 July 1981 – 17 July 1981 
HMSO, £80Show More
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... fact that blacks and whites rioted together, and by uniting in the comforting ritual of banning Enoch Powell from the confines of respectable discourse. The banishment of Powell allowed the House the comfort of believing that ‘we are all multiracialists now.’ Yet the real divisions on race reappeared ...

English Changing

Frank Kermode, 7 February 1980

The State of the Language 
edited by Leonard Michaels and Christopher Ricks.
California, 609 pp., £14.95, January 1980, 0 520 03763 4
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... of our joining the Common Market. It is no coincidence that the best political styles belong to Enoch Powell, Anthony Wedgwood-Benn and Michael Foot, all men ‘committed to working on and defending the idea of the United Kingdom’. As it happens, Mr Powell himself contributes a piece on ‘The Language of ...

A Falklands Polemic

Tam Dalyell, 20 May 1982

... in allowing the Falklands to be taken. The anti-Foreign Office attitude, constantly articulated by Enoch Powell, has been reinforced by the drip, drip, drip of anti-Foreign Office ‘briefings’ emanating from Downing Street. Many Tory MPs simply relished the humiliation of the Foreign Office. Besides, the political chief involved was Peter Carrington ...


Karl Miller: Conflict of Two Egos, 3 June 1982

... government. Fishing in the troubled waters of the South Atlantic, as he has fished in others, Enoch Powell has claimed that the nation is formidable once again, by virtue of this unity, and he has since declared that ‘we must win.’ At any cost, apparently. I doubt whether we have been as unanimous as he thinks. Since the crisis broke, I have met ...


John Sutherland, 21 January 1982

Brave Old World 
by Philippe Curval, translated by Steve Cox.
Allison and Busby, 262 pp., £6.95, November 1981, 0 85031 407 0
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The Insider 
by Christopher Evans.
Faber, 215 pp., £6.95, November 1981, 0 571 11774 0
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by Roy Heath.
Allison and Busby, 185 pp., £6.95, November 1981, 0 85031 410 0
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From the Heat of the Day 
by Roy Heath.
Allison and Busby, 159 pp., £6.50, October 1979, 0 85031 325 2
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One Generation 
by Roy Heath.
Allison and Busby, 202 pp., £2.50, March 1981, 9780850312546
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by Nuruddin Farah.
Allison and Busby, 250 pp., £7.95, November 1981, 0 85031 408 9
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... from the EEC (so much for Curval) and compulsory repatriation of ‘aliens’. He is not called Enoch Powell. The SPG has just been enlarged to regimental strength. The outgoing Tory government has denationalised the Health Service. England are doing badly in the Test series against South Africa. The insider of the title is an outsider – an alien. He ...

Early Hillhead Man

Paul Addison, 6 May 1982

Churchill’s Political Philosophy 
by Martin Gilbert.
Oxford, 119 pp., £8, November 1981, 0 19 726005 5
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Winston Churchill: The Wilderness Years 
by Martin Gilbert.
Macmillan, 279 pp., £8.95, September 1981, 0 333 32564 8
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Churchill and de Gaulle 
by François Kersaudy.
Collins, 476 pp., £12.95, September 1981, 0 00 216328 4
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The Diaries of Sir Robert Bruce Lockhart 
edited by Kenneth Young.
Macmillan, 800 pp., £30, October 1981, 0 333 18480 7
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Churchill’s Indian Summer 
by Anthony Seldon.
Hodder, 667 pp., £14.95, October 1981, 0 340 25456 4
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... too, has to be reconstructed as he appeared at the time in the eyes of respectable opinion: the Enoch Powell of the day. Alas, biographers often confine their sympathy to a single individual and his allies, and so it is here. The wealth of research is flawed by a determination to prosecute ‘the guilty men’ on Churchill’s behalf. But if the ...

‘I was a more man’

Keith Kyle, 12 October 1989

Keith Joseph: A Single Mind 
by Morrison Halcrow.
Macmillan, 205 pp., £14.95, September 1989, 0 333 49016 9
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... name had been on every lip. He was just about to deliver a major speech at Birmingham, where Enoch Powell had cut himself off from any possibility of leadership seven years before. The circumstances ensured maximum media coverage. Most people found the speech very strange indeed. The major part – attacking the ‘permissive society’, commending ...

Red Souls

Neal Ascherson, 22 May 1980

Russian Hide and Seek 
by Kingsley Amis.
Hutchinson, 240 pp., £5.95, May 1980, 0 09 142050 4
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... come to bits in his paws; his natural condition is that of the reign of Nicholas I. I think it was Enoch Powell who unexpectedly attacked Solzhenitsyn a few years ago, observing that no Englishman should tolerate being lectured about liberty by a Russian, and that outburst might even have been the germ of Russian Hide and Seek, which, funny as it ...

Off-Screen Drama

Richard Mayne, 5 March 1981

European Elections and British Politics 
by David Butler.
Longman, 208 pp., £9.95, February 1981, 0 582 29528 9
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Political Change in Europe: The Left and the Future of the Atlantic Alliance 
edited by Douglas Eden.
Blackwell, 163 pp., £8.95, January 1981, 0 631 12525 6
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... The schools? The planners? The bureaucrats? The Arabs? The Blacks? And who was to be the saviour? Enoch Powell? Keith Joseph? The Maharishi? Tony Benn? One man’s saviour, of course, is another man’s scapegoat; and the European Community, with its rhetoric of ‘growth’ and ‘progress’, filled the double bill. Associating it with faceless ...


Carolyn Steedman: Tory Ladies , 4 June 1987

... I have to look at what it was she actually believed: in repatriation, in capital punishment, that Enoch Powell was wonderful; that she was different from other people, finer and more deserving than them. Being brought up a woman is certainly significant in making political journeys like this, but so is class, and we need an analysis that allows us to ...

Opera Mundi

Michael Neve, 1 December 1983

Out of Order 
by Frank Johnson.
Robson, 256 pp., £7.95, October 1982, 0 86051 190 1
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Frank Johnson’s Election Year 
by Frank Johnson.
Robson, 192 pp., £6.95, October 1983, 0 86051 254 1
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by Bernard Levin.
Cape, 264 pp., £8.95, November 1983, 0 224 02114 1
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Poem of the Year 
by Clive James.
Cape, 79 pp., £4.95, November 1983, 0 224 02961 4
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The Original Michael Frayn 
by Michael Frayn.
Salamander, 203 pp., £8.50, October 1983, 0 907540 32 5
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... doesn’t. He is wrongly uninterested in any Wilsonian legacy, silly about Dennis Skinner, bad on Enoch Powell and crass about gays and feminists. There is no necessary connection between being a political commentator and having no capacity for praise. Mr Johnson’s lack of ostentation is fine, but sometimes the large thing, well said, is the right ...

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