Enoch Powell: 15,000 take part in blue plaque poll
More than 15,000 voters have taken part in an Express & Star poll asking whether Enoch Powell should be recognised with a blue plaque in Wolverhampton.
And 70 per cent of them are in favour of a plaque for Powell, who was a Conservative MP in the city from 1950 to 1974 and rose to notoriety following his Rivers of Blood speech in 1968.
Wolverhampton’s Civic and Historical Society has announced it is considering proposals for a plaque after an application was submitted from an unnamed member of the public.
The issue has prompted a nationwide discussion and came to light following an E&S debate on Powell's legacy last month.
Take part in the poll here:
West Midlands historian Carl Chinn said he would not like to influence the decision 'one way or the other', adding: “There have always been divisive figures in history, but do they need to be celebrated rather than studied?
“It is important to remember how the people of Wolverhampton would have felt under pressure because of those words and who have gone on to make successful lives.
“[If there is a blue plaque] they could be quite upset, naturally.
“I think plaques should be for positive contributions, for people who have tried to improve society.
“We need plaques – and statues – to represent working class people, women and ethnic minorities.
“Why not have one to celebrate the women who worked in the factories during the Second World War?”
Political activist Patrick Vernon, who grew up in Wolverhampton, was initially due to take part in the E&S debate on Powell but pulled out over the presence on the panel of UKIP MEP Bill Etheridge.
He said focusing on Powell 'gives the wrong message and will further divide Wolverhampton in the years to come', and called for more blue plaques to 'celebrate the diversity of Wolverhampton'.
The city's three Labour MPs have come out against the plaque, with Emma Reynolds saying: "A blue plaque would send out all the wrong messages about Wolverhampton.”
E&S columnist Nigel Hastilow has supported calls for the plaque, praising the his lengthy parliamentary career and hailing him as 'one of the towering figures of the 20th century'.
Hundreds of E&S readers have also had their say.
Lady A said Powell's views should have nothing to do with his suitability for a plaque, and added: "He is an important, recognised, long-standing political figure, and therefore a blue plaque candidate."