THE ENGLISH DISEASE. 7 DECADES OF OBSERVATION. 1960"s CONTINUED.

A SIGNAL NOT HEEDED

In the last Hub, I traced many key happenings in the World and changes to aspects of life in the UK especially relating to the rise of both Youth Culture and what we now term as the Consumer Society. I specifically did not include what may well have been the most, certainly one of the most important events of the Decade, as I wished to let it stand alone, so important do I regard it as being for the way in which events were to develop in later Decades of my life and which continue to this very day.

In 1968, the former Classical Scholar and Military Member of Parliament for Wolverhampton, one Enoch Powell made a speech which was to torpedo his own career, see him vilified and above all outrageously misquoted by the British Media, including the highly regarded organ, The Times. It is difficult now in 2011 to contemplate why his speech should have created the hiatus that it did or why it was seized upon and so misquoted, difficult but not impossible, for with hindsight one can recognise the spreading tentacles of left wing ideology that were to flourish as the English, now with no wars to fight to defend their shores began to eschew the former principles upon which their Society had been based upon believing falsely that they would lead to a fairer, more egalitarian Society.

Powell made what is widely termed the "Rivers of Blood "speech in his capacity as Shadow Home Secretary. He was no lightweight Politician, having come third in the election to lead the Conservative Party and having been a Member of Parliament since 1950. after this 1968 speech he was sacked from his Ministerial position ,though retaining his seat, even representing a Northern Ireland Constituency later till his final departure from political life in 1974.

EVEN TODAY AND FOLLOWING THE EARLY AUGUST RIOTS THIS YEAR, THE MEDIA STILL CONTRIVE TO GET POWELL"S SPEECH COMPLETELY WRONG. THE RIGHT WING DAILY MAIL NEWSPAPER GROUP STILL REPORTS THAT THE SPEECH WAS "A WARNING ABOUT IMMIGRATION" . IT WAS NOT! IT WAS A WARNING ABOUT RACE RELATIONS AND THE CONSEQUENCES UNLESS CURRENT THINKING AND LAWS THEN, WERE MODIFIED.

The speech is called "Rivers of Blood", not because as was reported Powell was forecasting that the streets of the UK would flow with blood as a future fact but invoking his classical background he had alluded to Roman times as a possible future if things were allowed to develop unchecked along the path they were then following. His exact words were, "As I look ahead, I am filled with foreboding; like the Roman, I seem to see the River Tiber foaming with much blood" In early August this year in our larger cities we came close to making that a reality, 43 years after the words were spoken.

Powell in attacking, as he was ,not immigration as such, but the Labour Government"s Race Relations Act of 1968, was pointing out that the end point of such a policy was to pit people against each other. An old lady in his Constituency had been hauled before the Courts as she refused to accept a black person rent a room in her own private house. The Act made this "discrimination" and thus criminal. An Englishman"s home was no longer to be his Castle!

Even Local Councils fell foul. Previously, applicants had had to provide proof of residence in the area in question to qualify for Council Housing. That also was swept away. The hysteria that followed the Powell speech conveniently overlooked those points and instead determined that it was an open attack on immigrants, who at that time, following on from the earlier immigrants who blazed the trail on "The Empire Windrush", came mainly from Afro- Caribbean areas. Thus, the howls went up that this was "Anti- Blacks", "Anti Immigration when in fact it was nothing of the sort. Powell had recognised that there was a limit to the number of population that ANY country could properly contain and integrate at any one time and that to avoid disasters, controls of access had to be put in place.

The British people outside the Westminster Village and Media circles supported Powell in numbers. Even the Sunday Times poll of readers supported Powell by 74%. In other ways, other working class people rose behind the "Capitalist" Powell, with 1000 London Dockers marching on Westminster as an example. However that 26% who did not support Powell were influencers and members of the chattering classes and so they, though very much the minority held sway.Enoch Powell was effectively finished, the country continued with the disastrous "Open Door" policy and the Race Relations act strangled the rights of the individual.

The reader may reflect that had Powell chosen a less lurid image, he may have not been so abused, but maybe not, for we were on the brink of what has become our own undoing as every point that is made to maintain order in the state is challenged or ridiculed and basic disciplines are thrown out of the window. Go back to the last Hub, if you will and consider the points made about the pigs and their society and contemplate again what Powell had to say. At the same time, I believe that Powell has much to answer for to us today for the parlous position we are as a country on such matters. Had he used his undoubted intelligence more carefully then maybe, just maybe, that 74% who supported his principles would have increased by another 10/15% which would surely have stifled the do gooders who have, by stealth eroded our bedrocks of an organised and respectful society and brought us to the almost anarchical state we see today.

ONWARDS AND UPWARDS THROUGH THE DECADE.

I had entered the Decade as a student teacher at college, qualified in 1961, and returned for a further year to achieve a Specialist Diploma in Physical Education in 1962. Suitably qualified, I was appointed to my first post in Kent, where I taught in a large Secondary Modern School of 850 boys. However, whilst at College, I had been given the opportunity to see at first hand what was to be the future for English education. To say I did not savour the experience is an understatement. My Teaching Practice took me to the City of Birmingham, not to be recorded as a place to rush to visit, and even worse now,I am told. My month of Practice was in a new COMPREHENSIVE School. This great edifice was the fruits of "great" thinking based upon the politics of envy, whereby Boys and Girls of all abilities were brought together under one roof so to speak, the principle being that the academically bright would bring along the less gifted. Absolute balderdash but they cling to that to this very day. The real thrust was that by so doing, the envious could do away with the Grammar Schools and make all" equal". Clearly, those involved had never read Orwell"s Animal Farm { apologies here to pigs for their unfortunate characterisation in the book}. Anyway over 2000 children were "educated" here. The place was so big it was split into 3 separate but conjoined buildings, with separate staff rooms. Thus people could teach for years without knowing all their colleagues, let alone all the children in the school. Madness!

My first actual teaching post in Kent had only 800 boys but was still pretty large but manageable and I enjoyed getting stuck in. My Headmaster recorded me as making good progress but when a less qualified person was upgraded to a specialist post in my Department, I determined to move on if I could.To cut a long story short, I achieved this on the final day for moving for the Autumn Term. My move took me across the Thames to Essex, where, in one day I rose from being a Probationary Teacher to a full blown Head of Department. With Authority came Responsibility but I was ready for that and as my post was to be at a 800 mixed sex Grammar School I was really happy, secure and fulfilled. I spent 4 great years there between 1964 and 1967 and aided by a terrifically supportive Headmaster integrated Physical Education for boys and girls whilst expanding choices available to accommodate as many as possible. There were great challenges but with help from Head and eventually, with the right colleagues we built up an excellent sporting organisation based both on breadth of choice and standards of excellence.

In the Easter holidays of 1967, I called into school as I had the 1st team Cricket in practice for the new season. There I found a letter from The Football Association advising me that my application to be one of 4 new Regional Coaches had been successful after interview. I was delighted, my wife less so, as it meant she, pregnant at the time, would relocate to the North leaving family, friends, bungalow we were renovating, and job all behind. It took stern words, I recall, from her mother on marital responsibility to persuade her. Thus in September, I began my new post, as my wife awaited the arrival of our first born 200 miles to the South. On September 22nd David James arrived 3 weeks late! Shortly afterwards we took charge of a new house to the North of my region. This was a mistake for, often being required in the South of my Region in evenings, I had to stay away overnight and also, in the summer was away for weeks on National Courses.. It took me fully 2 years to realise this was a major problem but eventually in 1969, we relocated again, this time to the centre of my patch, 10 miles away from the babysitting potential of my parents. You do not realise until your first child is born that life alters completely but it is something all boys should be taught at a young age!

As a result of relocation, our social life, centred on Staveley Cricket Club, improved greatly. I did not know it at the time, but the Cricket Club was also to play a vital part in the development of not only my own but also the lives of my sons, {Christopher did not appear till 1970} . Thus, a defining personal Decade drew to a close. I had realised some ambitions, passed into both marriage and fatherhood, if not seamlessly, at least reasonably, had fun along the way and overall enjoyed being 20 plus.

1970 ushered in my 4th Decade. This was to prove both for me personally and for the Country a roller coaster to say the least, with both highs and great lows as the next Hub will reveal.



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