Enoch Powell's "Rivers of Blood" anti-immigration speech - April 20, 1968


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Time to exercise in a busy schedule. Why planning your week on Fridays is better how to savor the good moments and how not to be late so wake up with before breakfast every weekday morning just like that first Cup of coffee. It'll help you feel like you can take on the world one productivity tip at a time listening subscribe at apple podcast or an iheartradio app or wherever you listen to podcasts this day in history. Class is a production of I heart radio. Hi eve's. Welcome to this day in history. Class a show that reveals a little bit more about history. Day-by-day today is April twentieth. Twenty nineteen. the day was April. Twentieth. Nineteen sixty eight. British member of parliament, e not Powell gave a speech to a conservative association meeting in Birmingham England that became known as the rivers of blood speech. Powell a conservative MP for the Wolverhampton south west constituency used the speech to spouse his opposition to mass immigration. He argued that so-called ordinary English people were becoming a persecuted minority in strangers in their own country. And he said that for immigrants integration was difficult. If not impossible how will proposed ending almost all immigration into Britain and encouraging immigrants already there to leave voluntarily needless to say, the speech was and remains controversial. By the time Powell gave his speech, hundreds of thousands of people from the Commonwealth of nations countries have moved to Britain. This was largely due to the British nationality. Act nineteen forty eight which created the new status a citizen of the United Kingdom and colonies that apply to people who were born or naturalized in the UK or it's calling me. These people were permitted to live and work in the UK without a visa which led to a rapid increase in immigration in the UK over the next two decades. British lay people and government officials began to object to the large number of migrants and express their desire to bar new immigrants and to send immigrants already they're back out of the UK. In nineteen fifty a cabinet committee. Forums to figure out quote ways, which might be adopted to check the immigration into this country of colored people from British colonial. Territories. After that committee found that no restrictions on immigration where required the issue was tossed around without any real conclusion for several years, but in nineteen sixty two Harlem it passed the Commonwealth immigrants act, which tighten regulations on the immigration of all Commonwealth passport-holders, according to the act Commonwealth immigrants head to apply for work about your grade it based on their employment prospects to be able to settle in the UK in nineteen sixty five the government reduced the number of hours available after Asians from Kenya. And Uganda began to immigrate to Britain in nineteen sixty seven enough Powell and other conservatives started campaigning for more restrictions on immigration parliament soon passed the Commonwealth immigrants act nineteen sixty eight which further restricted immigration to the UK for citizens of the Commonwealth of nations countries to have automatic right of entry into the UK the person or at. Least one of his parents or grandparents had to be born naturalized or adopted in the UK or had to have come a citizen by registration under the British nationality. Acts. It was in a climate divided over the issue of immigration that Powell gave his rivers of blood speech. In it. He criticized the race relations Bill going through parliament that would make it illegal to refuse housing employment or public services to people based on color race, ethnicity or nationality. He argued that in a couple of decades or less, quote, the black man will have the weapon over the white, man. He gave an anecdote about one of his constituents a white woman who was harassed by so called grinning pekingese, and he pointed to the race riots and violence during the civil rights movement as an example of what would happen in the UK if they stayed on the same path of immigration race relations Powell fit in the speech, it almost passes belief that at this moment twenty or thirty additional immigrant children are arriving from overseas and Wolverhampton alone every week, and that means fifteen or twenty additional families a decade or two hints those home the gods wished to destroy. They I make mad. We must be mad literally mad as a nation to be permitting. The annual inflow of some fifty thousand dependence who are for the most part the material of the future growth of the immigrant descended population. It is like watching a nation busily engaged in heaping up its own funeral pyre. Nowhere in the speech. Tip house, say the phrase rivers of blood, but near the end of the speech. He did say the following as I look ahead. I am filled with forboding like the Roman. I seem to see the river Tiber foaming with much blood. This allusion to Virgils epic poem aeneid is weird. The nickname for the speech comes from. During his speech in after it was finished. How was applauded after Powell gave the speech people came out in support of repatriating immigrants while others denounced, his racism. After he gave his speech conservative leader, Ted heath dismissed him from the conservative shadow cabinet, and eventually he left the conservative party and became an Ulster Unionist. House suggestions to restrict immigration did not lead to any major anti immigration policy changes, but his anti-immigrant views were popular at the time. And the phrase e knock was right games. Toxin in a year since. I'm Steph coat, and hopefully, you know, a little more about history today then you did yesterday. 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