Among the frothing and ranting punditry on offer this weekend in the Daily Mail and Mail On Sunday, one familiar face has been absent. This may be mere coincidence. But the non-appearance of Simon “Enoch was right” Heffer, so soon after the views of the Traditional Britain Group (TBG), with which he is connected, being made public, does not bode well for his future, or political credibility.
Let me first address the inevitable excuse that Heffer has not addressed a TBG gathering since 2006. As can be seen from the TBG’s masthead, there is only one face there representing someone both alive and readily recognisable, and that face belongs to Heffer. As the montage did not come about purely by chance, it has to be concluded that he gave it his blessing.
Heffer has already been sent packing from his old berth at the Maily Telegraph. And his columns for the Mail have, with tiresome predictability, regularly featured extended rants about immigration – often prefixed with the term “unlimited” – along with occasional eulogies on Enoch Powell’s ability to have always been right, along with all those languages he could speak.
Heffer’s writings have excused Powell’s excesses – which started with his infamous “Rivers of blood” speech in 1968 – and talked up the idea that he had some kind of respect for the people of the Indian sub-continent, rather than admit that Powell learnt two of the main languages because he fancied his chance at becoming the next Governor-General, until independence intervened.
Now, Heffer has to explain to the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre how he is going to reconcile being associated with TBG, whose vice-president Gregory Lauder-Frost – a man with a criminal as well as far-right past – has called Doreen Lawrence “anti-English” and a “nobody”, with the Mail’s championing of the same person, as part of its campaign to have Stephen Lawrence’s killers caught and jailed.
The Mail has been happy to give Heffer houseroom since his departure from the Telegraph, but after the Independent exposed Lauder-Frost last week, following his appearance before Vanessa Feltz where he was both utterly unrepentant and singularly unpleasant, even Dacre may stop and think. And if Dacre steps down this year, his successor may not even do that before sending Heffer on his way.
That is because the hot favourite for Dacre’s job is Tony Gallagher, at present at the Telegraph, and who binned Heffer in the first place. Having a rabble of right-wing ranters producing the punditry is one thing – having someone associated with a fringe group of racist bigots is another matter entirely. Of course Heffer could jump before being pushed – the Express might give him some pocket money.
Yes folks, there goes Simon Heffer, on his way ... out.