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The Last Tory

1,462 words

Enoch Powell never quite fits, even in some alternate history, as the leader of a British nationalist movement. A faithful soldier of the Empire, a creature of the Establishment, an idiosyncratic scholar of the classics, an unpredictable and careful student of policy, Powell was no right wing radical. He was a conservative to the core, in his own words, “born a Tory . . . a person who regards authority as immanent in institutions. I had always been, as far back as I could remember in my existence, a respecter of institutions, a respecter of monarchy, a respecter of the deposit of history, a respecter of everything in which authority was capable of being embodied, and that must surely be what the Conservative Party was about, the Conservative Party as the party of the maintenance of acknowledged prescriptive authority.”

Conservatism is a philosophy of pessimism, from Joseph de Maistre to John Derbyshire. At its core, that is because it is a philosophy of maintenance. The work of establishing institutions, nations, and peoples has been done – the task that remains is to hold the line.

The problem is that in the Kali Yuga, in the era of dissolution, any Western institution, no matter how moderate, venerable, or long established, is suspect and vulnerable to destruction. In fact, the longer something has been around and the more enmeshed in a nation’s social life, the more frantically the culture distorters strive to subvert it or destroy it. The justifiable paranoia of the enemy drives them to rip out everything that gives a Western nation its identity, down to the last root and branch.

Most modern conservatives, having accepted the universalistic and liberal premises of their foes, pose no obstacle. A few of the more reactionary specimens may dig in for a few years, even winning temporary triumphs, but never seem to retake lost ground. There is a third type, which constantly creates headlines familiar to us today. An established “respectable” figure will occasionally utter a forbidden truth, at which point all the forces of democratic society will combine to destroy him. Yet, for one brief shining moment, the very pillars of the system will tremble.

It’s easy to mock establishment conservatives and console ourselves with the thought that we can build an intellectual vanguard from the outside which will somehow root the System’s functionaries out of their keeps. However, the hard truth is that all we are all too often talking to ourselves. The outside world only tends to take notice when some establishment politician or intellectual suddenly breaks through into the territory of white racial advocacy and the possibility of a genuinely anti-system movement emerges. The problem is that the very characteristics that allow a successful politician to obtain a platform are the same ones that prevent him from following up at the critical moment. When the time has come for revolutionary thought, the conservative, the politician, remains trapped in the patterns of the past.

Powell is a case in point. He was an exemplar of a truly British identity. Born in England, he enlisted in the British Army in World War II as an Australian. His great frustrated ambition was to be viceroy of India and he was fluent in Urdu. Even during World War II he identified the United States as Britain’s “terrible enemy” and was a Cold War skeptic, believing (correctly) that the United States wanted to dismantle the British Empire. The symbol of English patriotism ended his career as an MP from Northern Ireland, representing the Ulster Unionists. Powell himself thought that his greatest speech was given in 1953, when he spoke against the Royal Style and Titles Act which he believed permitted the divisibility of the British Crown.

Like the National Front and British National Party, which grew at least partially out of the League of Empire Loyalists, Powell was a product of the British Imperial past. He viewed with astonishment the managed collapse of the Empire and the demographic besiegement of the home isles. While a member of the Mont Pelerin society, a staple of Anglo-American “movement conservatism,” Powell never confused conservatism with classical liberalism, as both modern Republicans and Tories do today. One is reminded of his comment that he would serve as a soldier for Britain even if it was under a Communist government. He once rendered Margaret Thatcher speechless with his declaration that fighting for “principle” was nonsensical. To Powell, only the real existing country with its real existing institutions mattered. In words oft quoted but less practiced by Anglo-American conservatives, Powell’s conservatism was the negation of ideology.

This was true Toryism, and it was from this impulse to defend the concrete that Powell’s gave his famous speech of “Rivers of Blood.” What is remarkable in retrospect is how simple and elegant the language actually is. He states he does not have the right to ignore his constituents. He comments that mass immigration, obviously, “is like watching a nation busily engaged in heaping up its own funeral pyre.” He trembles with indignation and incredulous anger at what they are doing to his Britain. Watching his delivery, we are hit with the shock that this is what all speeches would sound like if politicians were trying to educate or persuade their audience, rather than deliberately mislead and confuse them. The “Rivers of Blood” had the effect of an appeal to populism, but contains within it the radical critique of democracy.

The results were predictable. Workers – in class conscious Britain no less – demonstrated spontaneously in support of a Tory politician. Polls showed he was the most popular political figure in the country. Needless to say, the Conservative Leader Ted Heath, whose name surely echoes in the halls of Valhalla, swiftly dismissed him from the Shadow Cabinet. The Conservatives would continue to flail and fail throughout the ’70s until being rescued by Margaret Thatcher. Thatcher borrowed many of her economic ideas from Powell, and her electoral appeal derived in part from a supposed hard line on immigration. Thatcher broke the unions, but as a good modern conservative, ignored the national question. The result was when Tony Blair’s New Labor took power, there was no ideological force to stop its war on the indigenous inhabitants of the sceptered isle.

Powell went on to give noteworthy and prophetic speeches on the issues of the day, including American foreign policy, European integration, and monetary policy. He was essentially right on all of these questions. Where he failed was in thinking that the Britain he served still existed – that it was natural for all concerned to realize that the state should be ruled by a responsible elite and that the political class cared about the interests of “their” country. What Powell didn’t get was that the political class didn’t support non-white immigration because they lacked understanding of how it hurt the country. They supported it precisely because they understood exactly how it hurt the country.

Powell did not grasp the singular importance of race. He rejected any association with the National Front and could not conceive of a genuinely anti-system opposition. His mistake was that of all conservatives – he thought that established institutions and states had a life of their own, rather than themselves existing as products of a particular ethnic group. While he correctly rejected the role of abstract ideology, he didn’t take the next necessary step. He thought that the British Constitution, the British Crown, and the British state had a greater importance than the racial group that gave it shape, content, and meaning.

In this, he exemplified the difference between a conservative and a Traditionalist. While conservatives fight to hold on to products of tradition, Traditionalists serve the forces that first created them, that can carry them forward, and can hasten the upward development of the folk that built them. While the conservative seeks to save the coldest of the cold monsters, Traditionalists know “it was creators who created peoples and hung a faith and a love over them: thus they served life.”

Powell was a genius, a statesmen, and a patriot, but as he said himself, “All political lives, unless they are cut off in midstream at a happy juncture, end in failure, because that is the nature of politics and of human affairs.” This is only true if the mission of the politician is regarded as one of static defense. The great lesson of Enoch Powell is that conservatism, no matter how faithful or intelligent, can never triumph. Institutions cannot endure apart from the peoples that give them meaning, and it is that root which must be defended, not a flag, a crown, or a constitution.

Enoch Powell wasn’t just the last Tory. He was the last Briton. Enoch was Right. And he was wrong.



  1. Christopher P
    Posted June 16, 2012 at 2:10 am | Permalink

    “He thought that the British Constitution, the British Crown, and the British state had a greater importance than the racial group that gave it shape, content, and meaning.

    In this, he exemplified the difference between a conservative and a Traditionalist. While conservatives fight to hold on to products of tradition, Traditionalists serve the forces that first created them, that can carry them forward, and can hasten the upward development of the folk that built them.”

    I think this hits the nail on the head. This is an excellent and balanced critique of Powell.

  2. White Republican
    Posted June 16, 2012 at 4:37 am | Permalink

    In an editorial in Spearhead (March 1998) after Enoch Powell’s death, John Tyndall asked:

    “But when we ask whether the ‘rivers-of-blood’ predictions made by Enoch Powell have been fulfilled, are we really asking the most important question? Racial conflict is certainly something we can do without, but is the liberals’ prescribed alternative — harmonious racial integration — any better, if not indeed much worse?”

    For Tyndall the answer was a resounding no:

    “Massed non-White immigration, followed by racial integration, will bring about a permanent population change in Britain, which we believe will destroy our identity and nationhood — if the process is not very soon stopped and put into reverse. That — and that above all — is the main reason why we should oppose it.

    “Enoch Powell said virtually nothing about this danger — though in all probability he was well aware of it. His defenders in politics and in the media claim that he was never a ‘racist.’ That is not necessarily to his credit, though we should be grateful that in his lifetime he was prepared to say more — much more — about the perils inherent in the open-door immigration policy than any other leading politician.

    “Powell’s detractors . . . claim that, if not a ‘racist’ himself, he made ‘racism’ respectable. Well, if so that was not necessarily to his discredit. As long as racism means only love of one’s own race and the determination to preserve it, and does not extend to hatred of other races, it is something of which no-one should be ashamed.”

    I agree. Racial survival is infinitely more important than the “law and order” venerated by conservatives and liberals alike — a “law and order” that increasingly takes the form of “anarcho-tyranny” — and we should prefer conflict to slavery and death.

    Rivers of blood — that of our enemies, of course — may well be part of the solution.

    • Greg Johnson
      Posted June 16, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

      With all respect to Tyndall, I think that the article reprinted below, “The Road to National Suicide” offers an argument for why integration is impossible: non-whites arrive as a distinct bloc in society; they are empowered as a distinct bloc in society; they advance in power and prospects as a distinct bloc in society; why should be expect that they will lay down their power and melt away just because the native English have been cowed by their leadership and press into doing so, into feeling that any ethnic self-assertion is evil. One will never achieve integration by empowering ethnic blocs and rewarding ethnic selfishness at the expense of the body politic. I think that is a pretty convincing argument.

      • ReJedding
        Posted June 18, 2012 at 10:15 am | Permalink

        But the body politic is becoming the coloured bloc. Demographic change is minoritizing Whites. We will have declining influence and power, and any complaints about our worsening plight will be dismissed as hate speech and punished for “racism” or “instigation of racial hatred and violence”.

  3. Lynton Fredrik
    Posted June 16, 2012 at 6:07 am | Permalink

    Much the same could be said of the late Sam Francis.

    Many of these older Conservatives just couldn’t imagine that the whole system itself was rotten. Since they had grown up in a time of, yes, White Supremacy, they seemed to think that ‘hey we just need to repair the system’ not realizing it had been subverted long before, usually by Organized Jewry.

  4. Free Man
    Posted June 16, 2012 at 6:12 am | Permalink

    By the late ’60s and early ’70s conservative wise men knew whats is going to happen, Enoch Powell, Jean Raspail and Wilmort Robinson.

    Camp of The Saints and The Dispossed Majority came in the early ’70s…

    • glom leader
      Posted June 18, 2012 at 10:28 am | Permalink

      Anthony Jacob’s White Man, Think Again! was from 1965. He argued that if Whites would just wake up to their endangered status, they wouldn’t allow things to get worse.

      By the ’70s, thinkers such as Raspial and Robertson knew we had passed the tipping point. Raspial’s bloody dystopia was pure prediction, and we must face the fact that we have descended from Destiny to the lower Fate. His heroes didn’t survive the immigration flood.

      We are still here, but how many Whites have been outright massacred in the race war? Why do we think that we will avoid their fate? Why couldn’t they avoid it? What separates us from White victims, other than degrees of vulnerability?

      Demographic change will increase our vulnerability and the rapidity with which we lose more Whites as the nation gains in blacks and browns.

      God’s mercy on us, the future is hideous.

      When I travel through Atlanta, I see plenty of ugly White women with black buck nasty negroes, but now I’m seeing pretty college educated bunnies with their “educated” black boyfriends in the grocey store, shopping together, making homes and futures together, and I despair. If our White women don’t care about the sacred White womb, then what are we to do? How bad will it get from here when most positions of power are filled by blacks, and the White girls can’t resist them because of their power? I’m beginning to hate White race traitors with a feeling surpassing my hatred for our enemies.

      Have you noticed the trend with blacks now to dress preppy? Somebody is trying to make them “blend in” and appear less threatening. I just laugh in contempt when I see these eyeglass-wearing, Diversity scholarship Negroidisms sporting J.Crew.

      “If you think Hell is bad, just wait until tomorrow.”

      -Rev. Jed DeValleyism, “Diversity: You just can’t hate it enough,” 2009

  5. Posted June 16, 2012 at 6:50 am | Permalink

    Powell’s “concrete” patriotism and appeal to the working class reminds me of that “Bohemian Tory” Noel Coward, as outlined in the essay I published here [which reappears in the new North American New Right anthology, as well as my forthcoming CC book].

    On conservative vs. Traditionalist, I recently blogged on my enthusiasm for this quote from A. E. Housman, another “unconventional classics scholar” like Powell:

    “Most men are rather stupid, and most of those who are not stupid are, consequently, rather vain; and it hardly possible to step aside from the pursuit of truth without falling a victim either to your stupidity or else to your vanity. Stupidity will then attach you to received opinions, and you will stick in the mud; or vanity will set you hunting for novelty, and you will find mare’s-nests.” — “The Application of Thought to Textual Criticism” by A.E. Housman. Proceedings of the Classical Association, August 1921, Vol XVIII.

    Notice how Housman in his second sentence quite casually condenses into one sentence the supposed “discovery” of the psychological roots of political persuasions, the fruit of wise observation over a hundred years ago, rather than the pretentious and expensive dribble [not quite a shit-storm, but of the same material] of “studies” that have been clamouring for attention from we weary news consumers.

    And dig, if you will, as well, the tertium quid: those who are not stupid [and stick in the mud, like “conservatives”] and yet are not vain [like “liberals” or “progressives,” chasing after one Marxist fantasy after another and trying to impose it on the stupid, recalcitrant masses]. Who might they be, who are both smart enough to pursue Truth yet humbly bow before the Truth they are wise enough to find?

    Why, that’s us, the Traditionalists.

  6. Junghans
    Posted June 16, 2012 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    A very incisive and balanced article on Enoch Powell. He always struck me as the quintessential, well meaning patriot, who was ultimately hobbled by his self-defeating reactionary ‘conservatism’. Conservatism is invariably an ultimate dead-end, in, and of itself. It is, after all, the race of people who created the nation/state who are vitally important, not the institutions or the edifice of the state itself.

  7. Dan
    Posted June 16, 2012 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

    Such beautifully written piece on such an interesting, intellegent, if misdirected, man.
    Nice work yet again Mr Hood.

    • Dan
      Posted June 16, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

      *Kind of embarrassing that I misspelled “intelligent”…

  8. Cameron
    Posted June 17, 2012 at 5:50 am | Permalink

    Brilliant article.

  9. Posted June 17, 2012 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    FWIW, this morning I was looking at an old Penguin I bought for a nickle or so last year, more for collecting than anything else, where Penguin had in 1947 commissioned a Labourite and a Conservative [the Hon. Quintin Hogg!] to expound each party’s philosophy.

    “The Chairman of the Conservative Party writes about what Conservatism means and his party’s approach to the problems of the next few years”

    I thought, hmm, what was the Conservative Party’s view of immigration in 1948?

    “The first item of policy must be a return to the policy of FREE IMMIGRATION…”

    He does go on to note that this is “of course not absolute but qualified.” Such immigrants must be prepared to “learn our language… conform to our standards” and perhaps even “live in camps”, all of which would be enough for him to be classified as a Nazi today.

    Although they must be prepared to be “absorbed fully into the national life” he makes explicit that “NATIONALITY IS NOT A MATTER OF RACE BUT OF CULTURE. We desire no minority problems here. Full absorption is the condition of entry. But subject to these conditions, anyone proud to become British should become British.” [p. 300-01, my caps]

    According to his “secret diaries” published at, 20 years later now “Lord Hailsham:

    “Bitterly disappointed, Hailsham was not among those Conservatives who refused to serve in Home’s Government, despite telling the new Prime Minister that he thought his tenure would prove a calamity for party and country. He went ahead and disclaimed his peerage, becoming MP for St Marylebone, and when the Party lost the General Election of 1964 became an important Opposition spokesman, notably for Home Affairs 1966-70 when (now under Heath’s leadership) Enoch Powell made the topic of immigration a matter of burning priority. Hailsham strongly urged that Powell be sacked from the Shadow Cabinet when he made his “River Tiber” speech in April 1968. Like many Conservative frontbenchers, he was deeply angered by what he saw as Powell’s disloyalty to party and leader, as well as fundamentally opposed to his views on race relations.”

    On June 6, 1970, however, we read in the Glasgow Herald that “Hogg came out strongly against increased immigration IN HIS ELECTION SPEECH.”,1335324

    “Disloyalty”! Ah, Conservative “principles”!

    ” Conservatives do not believe that political struggle is the most important thing in life…The simplest among them prefer fox-hunting—the wisest religion.” — Quintin Hogg, The Case for Conservatism (Penguin, 1947), p. 10.

  10. ReJedding
    Posted June 18, 2012 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    Gregory Hood deserves compliment for a fine article that exposes some of the universal issues that plague us, but he stopped short.

    He should have criticized Powell’s failure in “Rivers of Blood” to name names.

    Powell not once told who signed the Immigration Bills and who should be fired. Whitey Fails, again.

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