Enoch Powell: Radical and racist figure still haunts British politics

Book review: Not another biography of his unconventional career, but a study of his ideas

Conservative MP Enoch Powell (centre) speaking at a Get Britain Out rally in February  1974. Photograph:  Wesley/Keystone/Getty Images

Conservative MP Enoch Powell (centre) speaking at a Get Britain Out rally in February 1974. Photograph: Wesley/Keystone/Getty Images

A spectre haunts British politics, his controversial views still resounding on right and left.

Like Tory Brexiteers, he weaponised racism and xenophobia, opposed guarantees of human rights, rejected constraints on the “free market”, and lionised “sovereignty”. Like Jeremy Corbyn, he opposed foreign military intervention, Britain’s nuclear arsenal, alliance with an imperial America, and British membership of a European Union.

The Irish Times
Please subscribe or sign in to continue reading.
The Irish Times

How can I keep reading?

You’ve reached an article that is only available to Irish Times subscribers.

Subscribe today and get the full picture for just €1 for the first month.

Subscribe No obligation, cancel any time.