Sky News has broadcast a package on Enoch Powell’s infamous Birmingham Speech, including a clip of a young girl of ethnic minority background misquoting the speech by adding the word “white” in.
The clip which aired on the 50th anniversary of the speech sees leading left wingers, wet Tories, and ethnic minorities lamenting Powell’s warnings over mass migration.
But in the opening scenes, three children — all of ethnic minority backgrounds — were asked to read from parts of the speech.
The first recites: “In 15 or 20 years, on present trends, there will be in this country 3.5 Commonwealth immigrants and their descendants”.
This quote is accurate, and in fact cites figures given by the Labour Party’s Parliamentary Secretary for Health, Julian Snow MP.
The next quote however, includes an errant “white” where Powell never spoke it.
“As I look ahead, I am fitted [sic] with much foreboding,” says one girl, adding: “Like the Roman I seem to see the white River Tiber foaming with much blood”.
Powell actually said: “As I look ahead, I am filled with foreboding; like the Roman, I seem to see the River Tiber foaming with much blood.”
He gave the original quote here, paraphrased from Virgil’s Aeneid, in Latin: “Et Thybrim multo spumantem sanguine cerno” before translating it for his audience.
The line was from a prophecy made to Virgil, the immigrant in the story. Sky News also made no mention of this context.
Raheem Kassam is the author of the new book Enoch Was Right: Rivers of Blood 50 Years On