The following is the text of a speech I gave the other day to a meeting of the Campaign Against Political Correctness in Dudley:
I’ve said it before and it’s got me into trouble - and I will say it again.
Enoch was right.
I know we are talking about political correctness and political correctness wasn’t really invented in Enoch Powell’s heyday.
Nevertheless, and in the context of political correctness, Enoch was right.
But I don’t intend to talk about immigration this evening. We’re here to talk about political correctness.
And in this context, I want to argue that there is nothing more PC – and, as a result, nothing more dangerous – than the way the politically-correct establishment has succeeded in destroying our national sovereignty.
(This was videoed and can be seen on YouTube)
I am delighted to have been asked to talk to you tonight. I don’t get out much these days.
Having mentioned Enoch Powell in an article in the Express & Star, there aren’t that many people who find me socially acceptable any more.
I don’t mind. I’d rather that than give up the right to free thought – even if, partly thanks to political correctness, free speech is now illegal.
Political correctness is the scourge of our time. It distorts reality and it is used as a form of social engineering by people who think they know better than us what is good for us.
It is often insidious. It often happens when you don’t even notice.
About 15 years ago, when I was still editor of The Birmingham Post, I drove into work one day and noticed all the posters advertising the city’s Christmas lights.
And I noticed that not one of these posters mentioned the word Christmas or contained any religious symbols.
We investigated whether this was a deliberate policy. We found that it was. We ran a story “Birmingham cancels Christmas” which the council hated.
Interestingly, they made the point that they had adopted the same politically-correct advertising the previous year – and nobody had noticed.
That, ladies and gentlemen, is the point. Nobody noticed. They cancelled Christmas and we were too busy getting on with our lives to realise.
If they’d got away with it for a few more years, you can be sure there would be no mention of this great Christian event in Birmingham today.
Even after the council’s first failed attempt to abandon Christmas, they didn’t give up. You will remember their attempts to rebrand the festive season as “Winterval”.
I hate, loathe and despise political correctness in all its forms.
Though the idea that one might hate, loathe or despise anything is – almost certainly – in itself an offence against political correctness.
We know all the stories.
Everything from the girl who was refused a job by the Environment Agency because she was “white English” not “white Welsh, Scottish or Irish” to the latest nonsense that says one company director in every four must be a woman.
Each example of the tyranny of political correctness makes our blood boil and is another turn of the screw which limits, prohibits, confines and denies us our freedom.
Most examples are the stuff that make grumpy old men like me seethe, spit and throw things at the TV.
Bed-and-breakfast landladies stitched up by gay rights activists.
Conservative Party all-women shortlists.
Not a day goes by without another example.
On Monday it was the ruling that a Christian couple who have already successfully fostered many children may no longer do so because of their views on gay sex.
Yesterday the European Court of Justice flew in the face of common sense by making it illegal to favour women when it comes to the cost of car insurance – and at the same time penalising men over pensions.
Women are safer drivers, so they merit lower insurance premiums; men die earlier so their pensions won’t be as costly. The insurance industry knows this and prices accordingly. But sex discrimination laws apparently make this illegal.
Today comes news that in Essex, a specialist team is to be employed to remove a pensioner’s rubbish after health and safety experts ruled the local dustmen – should that be waste executives – might injure themselves on his wheelie bin.
Everywhere we look, political correctness is changing our world.
It moulds our society, our government and our lives.
I do not intend to talk about immigration. I suspect most of you know my views on that subject and, with every day that passes, I am more than ever convinced that what I said was fair, reasonable and in line with the – suppressed – views of the majority of people.
If the price of discussing this is to be labelled “racist” then it’s a price one must pay.
I do not believe I am a racist.
I do not believe it is racist to warn that uncontrolled immigration will change – has changed – this country dramatically.
I do not believe it is racist to evoke the name Enoch Powell – the first, and almost the only, politician of note prepared to stand against the tide.
ENOCH ON EUROPE
So I shall again evoke the name of Enoch Powell. In the 1970s, he was one of the few politicians willing to stand out against the tide of politically-correct opinion running in favour of the Common Market.
Here are a few quotes. He said:
It would “strip the British Parliament of its historic right to be the sole source of legitimate power in this realm”.
He said this country would be reduced to “a province of the new super-state of Western Europe”.
Membership was “a renunciation of Britain’s parliamentary and political independence. The question of Britain and the EEC isn’t a question of the price of butter. It’s a question of the national existence and independence of Britain itself.
“The whole business of food prices and the Common Agricultural Policy is a specimen on the degradation of Britain from a nation to a province.
“In small things and in great things alike, there is no future for the British people that they will find tolerable except as a sovereign, self-governing nation state.”
HOW POLITICAL CORRECTNESS DISTORTS POLITICIANS’ JUDGMENT
I think he was right and I want to look at the way political correctness has so clouded and distorted the judgment of politicians that our country has given away its sovereignty and independence.
We are run by alien institutions – the European Union, The European Court of Justice and the European Court of Human Rights.
Our politicians chose to give away our sovereignty.
I contend they did so for politically-correct reasons.
And the destruction of our national independence is perhaps the ultimate example of the insidious process of political correctness at work.
Let’s go back to the days of the Common Market.
Do you remember that expression?
It referred to a free-trade area where countries could co-operate with one another freely and happily.
After Europe’s long and bloody history of wars, a free-trade zone was a good idea.
It’s quite understandable and worth supporting the concept that the destruction of barriers to trade would create a better understanding and peaceful co-operation between countries which had so recently been at each other’s throats.
When we had our referendum on the subject of a Common Market, very few people suggested this would lead to the creation of a European super-state.
But you only have to look at how the name of this entity has evolved to see how its ambitions have insidiously grown:
Common Market; European Economic Community; European Community; European Union.
We allowed this to happen. Our political leaders, our opinion-formers, our universities, our civil servants, our journalists.
We allowed this to happen.
We allowed the Common Market to become the European Union. We let it take on the trappings of a superpower.
We are still letting it happen.
And I contend that the reason for this is that being pro-Europe rapidly became the politically-correct position to adopt.
In 1976, left-wing Socialists like Tony Benn opposed Britain’s entry. A decade later, Europe was as a means of imposing Socialism even on Thatcherite Britain.
And there have been plenty of Conservatives willing to go along with this conspiracy.
What was once a noble attempt to prevent the countries of Europe going to war with each other has become the unthinking default position for the politically-correct establishment classes in this country.
Europe has, of course, been embraced by both Labour and the Liberal Democrats. The Tories, who might be expected to assert this country’s independence and sovereignty, have been dogged down the years by leading figures who have chosen to adopt the politically correct position of supporting the EU.
THE SINGLE CURRENCY
In the late 1980s, Nigel Lawson as Chancellor and Geoffrey Howe as Foreign Secretary brought down Margaret Thatcher because of her Euroscepticism.
If you recall, Lawson created the recession of the early 1990s by refusing to devalue the pound.
He did this by manipulating interest rates, thus slowing down the whole economy. And his whole aim was to maintain an artificial price for the pound against the Deutschmark.
The reason for this was to prepare Britain for entry into the European exchange rate mechanism, the forerunner of the single European currency, the imaginatively titled Euro.
This led in the end to the political disaster and economic triumph of Black Wednesday when John Major, Norman Lamont – and his aide David Cameron – were humiliatingly forced to abandon the European exchange rate mechanism.
They were victims of the collective belief that to be “good Europeans” we had to abandon our economic sovereignty and hand it over to Brussels.
Luckily for us, the markets saw through all this and refused to allow our misguided politicians to get their own way.
And the greatest achievements of Gordon Brown – perhaps his only achievement – but an achievement nonetheless – was to stop Tony Blair repeating the same mistake.
If we were in the Euro today, our recession – bad as it undoubtedly is – would be far worse.
One of the saving graces at the moment is that British manufacturing has had a modest revival.
This is because of the weak pound. The pound is, in my view, under-valued against the Euro but that is no bad thing.
It means companies like Jaguar can sell their cars at competitive prices abroad. Indeed, someone told me the other day that Japan now regards this country as a low-cost manufacturing base in the same way we used to think of China.
Look at poor old Ireland. Having struggled for years to free itself from the British imperial yoke, what happens?
They hand sovereignty over to Brussels and after the illusory Celtic Tiger disappeared in a puff of smoke, they are stuck with the Euro. They can’t devalue.
They are stuck with an unrealistic exchange rate and their economic crisis will be long and dismal. Entirely as a result of believing the Euro propaganda.
Thank goodness the politically-correct view of the Euro did not prevail here.
It wasn’t for want of trying.
Tony Blair was desperate to be a good European. He thought it marked him out as a progressive, liberal socialist.
That’s why he signed us up to the disastrous European convention on human rights.
I don’t think there’s any doubt he would have signed up to the Euro as well had Gordon Brown not refused to play along with him.
The point, though, is that, since the early 1980s at least, it has been politically incorrect to argue against ever-increasing union across Europe.
FRUITCAKES, LOONIES AND CLOSET RACISTS
Sceptics and opponents of the EU have for years been marginalised.
David Cameron called UKIP members “fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists” and that is the attitude of the majority of our mainstream metropolitan elite.
There have always been politicians willing to oppose the EU’s ever-increasing influence on our lives. But the strength of the Coalition of Lib-Dems, Blairites and pro-Euro Conservatives has ensured they remain marginalised.
The politically-correct position is hard to oppose. This is especially so because what might be called the organs of the state are so rapidly Europhile.
I could go on ad nauseam about the way the BBC opposes Britain and the British at every turn.
The point is, though, that it is still the most influential medium that we have. It is not all-pervasive and it does face competition.
But if it were not a Government mouthpiece paid for by its own dedicated poll-tax, it would have been broken up and sold off years ago because it enjoys an entirely unwarranted monopoly position in our media.
I should add, incidentally, that the vast sums it now spends on its website and internet presence are astonishingly anti-competitive. Its millions are partly to blame for the demise of a daily Birmingham Post and the decline of all our regional newspapers.
The main point, though, is that political correctness dictates it is racist, xenophobic and basically nuts to believe that this country’s laws should be determined by the people of this country through their elected representatives.
We have come a long way since we joined the Common Market. We no longer think of a free trade area. We talk of a Union – the United States of Europe.
I am constantly reminded of George Orwell’s 1984. Three great powers: Oceania, Eurasia and Eastasia are constantly at war.
In this world, you are not allowed to think for yourself. If you have an unacceptable opinion, you are subjected to political re-education.
The Ministry of Love is in charge of the thought police.
The Ministry of Plenty deals with food shortages.
The Ministry of Peace fights the wars.
The Ministry of Truth keeps everyone subdued by its constant diet of propaganda.
And, all the while, big brother is watching you.
In Orwell’s world, thoughtcrime is an offence. Just as it is today.
He was writing of a world which was the logical extension of the totalitarianism – fascist and Communist – of the 1930s and 1940s.
Life is not as bad as Orwell imagined. We do have some freedom. I am free to express my contempt for the politically-correct world we live in.
But those freedoms are limited and circumscribed. If I was not careful, I could find myself accused of some sort of thoughtcrime.
There are so many ways of inadvertently committing a thoughtcrime offence. Jokes are among the worst.
I might refer disparagingly to female linespeople, for instance, suggest there might be something not quite right about gay marriages or, as the rugby commentator Brian Moore did, make a joke which apparently disparaged disabled people.
Thoughcrime can destroy people’s careers.
Rousseau said “Man is born free but everywhere he is in chains”.
We are not slaves. We are free men (free persons). But we are constrained by the diktats of the politically-correct elite.
The pressure groups, politicians and pundits who tell us what we may and may not think and say and feel.
Political correctness is a deliberate policy used to deny us freedom of speech and freedom of thought.
Political correctness is not just a joke or something for grumpy old men like me to get cross about.
It has become so all-pervasive it colours everyone’s judgment – we are all afraid of thinking, let alone saying, something which could offend the thought police.
Thanks to political correctness, it has become almost impossible to have a real debate on the great issues of the day.
One example, as I have said, is how we have handed away our sovereignty – and with it our national identity – to Brussels while the politically-correct thought police have stifled and silenced dissent.
It is dangerously insidious process. It takes time. That doesn’t mean it isn’t winning.
Each small victory for political correctness leads on to the next and the next.
It has to be challenged at every step. I don’t know whether it can ever be halted.
I hope it can. But it won’t be easy.
You have to be courageous or foolhardy to stand up for any belief that runs contrary to the politically-correct mainstream.
Luckily, the English are bloody-minded enough to give it a go.
You wouldn’t be here tonight if you were not bloody minded.
Congratulations on your bloody-mindedness.
In an interview with Al Jazeera this week David Cameron declared: “I don't believe an In/Out referendum is right, because I don't believe that leaving the European Union would be in Britain's interests.”
The incredible arrogance of this takes your breath away.
It is the epitome of politicical correctness. Mr Cameron won't let us have a vote because he assumes we will vote in what he regards as the "wrong" way. He doesn't trust us. He doesn't trust democracy.
I’ll finish with another quote from Enoch Powell:
“Of all the silliest sayings, one of the silliest is the saying, ‘You can’t put the clock back’
“If course you can put the clock back and you often do. If a clock is showing the wrong time, you put it back or forward, whichever is necessary, without the slightest hesitation.
“If a mistake has been made we ought to put it right if we can.
“We ought always to be on our guard against those who whisper in our ear, ‘It’s done now and it can’t be undone’. Those are commonly the voices of cowardice or indolence and sometimes of downright evil intent.
“The mistake Britain made in becoming a part of the European Economic Community is not irreversible.”