Thursday, December 12, 2013

Camilla Schofield's Enoch Powell and the Making of Post-Colonial Britain

Vernan Bogdanor reviews Camilla Schofield's Enoch Powell and the Making of Post-Colonial Britain and tells us "Schofield distinguishes Powellism... from Thatcherism".

In this Camilla Schofield is mistaken - Thatcherism was (indeed, is) the practical and pragmatic application of Powellism, including economic policy (particularly in her first term). 

Vernon Bogdanor is himself mistaken when he says:  "Most of Powell’s prophecies (and in particular his prediction of a racial war in Britain) have proved spectacularly wrong."  Is there not a "racial" war occurring at this very moment?  Otherwise how does Mr Bogdanor account for the statistics related to the many thousands of incidents of racially-motivated violence since 1968 (statistics which are widely regarded as under-reporting the situation).

Of course, such incidents do not touch Mr Bogdanor in his little academic bubble, so perhaps he is not aware of them.


Milla said...

Thanks for the mention. Perhaps have a look at my argument about the differences between Thatcherism and Powellism. It's in the epilogue, probably viewable via googlebooks. I'm arguing that the New Right was not, in fact, concerned about the break-up of traditional communities. They explicitly sought to restructure the social order. The comparison rests on the divergence between conservative nationalism and global capitalism. I'm not arguing, of course, that Thatcherism did not garner support from (Powellite) racism!
Interesting that you describe Britain as in the midst of a 'race war.' I have to disagree with that. Profound racial and class inequalities and tensions yes, but Powell was no prophet.

a from l said...

I suppose it depends on how you define "war". An article in the Independent newspaper in January reported on "an estimated 278,000 hate crimes a year – of which 154,000 had an element of racial motivation". That represents roughly three thousand racially-motivated incidents every week.

Perhaps I am being overly alarmist in thinking these statistics a war? It represents one racially motivated hate crime per 38 people. But perhaps these incidents don't really matter.

Regarding Thatcherism and Powellism, it is possible that you are defining Thatcherism as a philosophy distinct from Margaret Thatcher. I would argue that you cannot do this. I know many so-called Thatcherites with whom she would profoundly disagree. Thatcherism can only be related to Margaret Thatcher (her thoughts and actions and policies) and she most definitely did care about traditional communities, even the mining communities who declared war on the Conservatives and who lost that war inflicting suffering on themselves as a result.