“You get cornered by some drunken greengrocer from Luton with an Instamatic camera and Dr. Scholl sandals and last Tuesday's Daily Express and he drones on and on about how Mr. Smith should be running this country and how many languages Enoch Powell can speak and then he throws up over the Cuba Libres” - Mr Smoke Too Much (Eric Idle), Travel Agent Sketch, Monty Python’s Flying Circus.
As if the supposed “re-evaluation” of Enoch Powell’s infamous 1968 speech on race which got him kicked off the Tory front bench and on to the long road out of mainstream politics were not enough validation for those out on the far-right, one of their newer recruits has decided to do his own revisiting of the Powell myth: step forward Raheem “Call me Ray” Kassam, of the convocation of the irredeemably batshit otherwise known as Breitbart.
Kassam, an appallingly immodest individual with much to be modest about, has demonstrated that, when it comes to self-publicity, honesty is one of the first casualties in his battle to score More And Bigger Paycheques For Himself Personally Now - starting at the very beginning: “Breitbart London Editor-in-Chief Raheem Kassam has announced a new book after years of study of former Member of Parliament Enoch Powell”.
So what is on offer? “The book ‘Enoch Was Right: Rivers of Blood 50 Years On’ confronts some of the most heinous lies from the establishment media over the life of Powell, as well as what Kassam calls their ‘willful misrepresentation’ of his infamous Birmingham Speech … In the book, Kassam demolishes the left-wing arguments which claim Powell was a ‘racist’, and demonstrates how for the late-MP, it was all about ‘numbers’”.
Would you buy a book written by him? Nope, me neither
This is total crap. For starters, there can be no doubt about what Powell said in that speech, as the full text has been available online for more than a decade. Moreover, the first assertion that Powell had made what was at the time characterised as a “racialist” speech was not made by someone on the “left-wing”, but Ted Heath - the then leader of the Tory Party and future Prime Minister.
Nonetheless, Kassam has declared “I’ve never been able to understand the demonisation of Enoch Powell, so I decided to study the man and his public pronouncements. It has taken me years to get to this point, as opposed to the 15 minutes some journalists take to click around Wikipedia before writing stories on him. I hope this helps to clarify things for them … This is a major landmark event, 50 years after the ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech, because it rejects all the common fallacies and lies spread by an establishment media that is in hock to the state-sponsored multiculturalism lobby”.
So great has been his commitment to that research that he managed not to mention it even once on his Twitter feed during 2016 and 2017. And if the likes of Simon Heffer, who has been peddling his own “Enoch was right” narrative for years and failing miserably, can’t rehabilitate Powell, Kassam’s chances of doing so are not unadjacent to zero.
There is no “state-sponsored multiculturalism lobby”. There are no “common fallacies” about Enoch Powell. Raheem Kassam will clarify nothing for anyone. But it will, sadly, enable him to momentarily con his way on to the airwaves once more.
If Powell had had his way, Raheem Kassam would not be here now. End of story.