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Monday, April 16, 2018

Jacob Rees Mogg's accused of bizarre 'betrayal'

Just how messed up right wing politics is at the moment is demonstrated by this article on the Breitbart website. They report that Conservative Party backbencher and leadership hopeful Jacob Rees-Mogg has shocked his fans by speaking out against Enoch Powell MP’s famous Birmingham speech.

They say that Rees-Mogg, whose father once wrote a Times of London editorial attacking Powell’s speech as “evil” took to Twitter on Saturday to state: “My father’s view which has stood the test of time about Enoch Powell’s speech”. However, the MP was met with almost universal condemnation by the political right, while being congratulated by left wing academics and members of the establishment media:

The Times column — which ran the day after Powell’s “Rivers of Blood” speech warning over mass migration and the Race Relations Act — congratulated Tory wet Ted Heath for dismissing Powell from his shadow cabinet, and called the speech “disgraceful”.

A BBC Panorama poll from late 1968 revealed that 74 per cent of the British public agreed with Powell, to the chagrin of establishment types like William Rees-Mogg,

“The more closely one reads the text of Mr. Powell’s speech, the more shameful it seems,” the Times thundered. “Mr. Heath must also have strengthened his own leadership,” it risibly suggested. A few years later Mr. Powell’s endorsement to vote Conservative would be the determining factor in the Tories winning the 1970 election.

By late 1974, Powell had had enough with the Conservative Party, resigning and urging people to vote Labour. Mr. Heath was, as a result, unceremoniously turfed out of office.

The reaction by a number of Rees-Mogg's followers underlines the sad reality that the can of worms opened up by Powell received fresh impetus from the Brexit referendum, which saw racist propaganda from the Leave side of the argument and an increased number of racist incidents being reported.

The North East Somerset MP was being held up as a standard bearer for the Brexiteers. However, he remains a man of principle and integrity and it to his credit that he is prepared to stand up to some of the wilder fringes of that movement.
I had the opportunity to shake the hand of the man who wrote that editorial as he was there in Neath to support daughter Annunziata in a general election campaign - but chickened out at the last minute.
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