UKIP Wales leader Neil Hamilton has said the idea that Enoch Powell was a racist villain was “absolute nonsense”.
Talking about Powell’s infamous Rivers of Blood speech on BBC Radio Wales, Hamilton said the former Tory MP had been “proved right by events”
Leanne Wood, leader of Plaid Cymru, has said Hamilton is responsible for keeping Powell’s racist attitudes going, Labour AM Hefin David called his comments “outrageous”.
The speech in 1968 to Conservative Party members claimed that “In this country in 15 or 20 years’ time the black man will have the whip hand over the white man.”
Hamilton claimed, “Powell actually changed politics by articulating the fears and resentments of millions and millions of people who are being ignored by the establishment.”
Continuing to say “He (Powell) wasn’t a racist in the crude sense” and stating “is it a good thing that we should have our great cities transformed into effectively racial ghettos?”
The comments have come after the BBC defended playing Powell’s Rivers of Blood speech on Radio 4, in full.
Analysis from Iwan Doherty- Editor in Chief
By May 3rd, the Welsh Assembly will be the only place UKIP will have any real political power, once they lose the majority of their council seats in the local elections, and I for one am very glad that a party that is willing to openly support a racist from the 60s is finally going extinct. Hamilton’s comments today are both outrageous and, perhaps more importantly, utter rubbish.
I actually support the BBC’s airing of Powell’s speech, not because I agree with it but because it is evidence of how wrong racist politicians always are about the effects of mass immigration. We have seen in the 20 years that have passed, the black man does not have the whip in hand over the white man. Powell was completely wrong about the effects of migration from the Commonwealth, and UKIP is wrong about the effects of Islamic immigration. It is the same scaremongering and scapegoating that, unfortunately, has always been present in right-wing politics.
Hamilton couldn’t be more wrong about Powell, and his apologist attitude over the outdated racist speech shows the true nature of UKIP.