“‘Racist’ is one of the modern terms of abuse,” Enoch Powell tells Dick Cavett. “The term of abuse is more effective the less defined it is. Then you can throw it at anybody and anything.”
“It all sounds reasonable,” replies Cavett, to Mr. Powell’s lucid explanation as to the question of which people belonged in England, given the British Empire’s reach and diffuse definition of citizen vs. subject.
I’ve repeatedly made the point in columns and to my friend David Vance, who lives in the UK, that all the racial nonsense the British are agonizing over is imported from America—doesn’t belong in Britain—so I love that this is Powell’s first point: The race baggage is American; not British.
Before him, explained Powell, nobody in government had cared enough to give voice to the sorrow Britons were feeling to over the possibility of losing their home, England, as they knew it. Powell was giving context to his 1968, “rivers of blood” speech.