Enoch Powell: Send us your questions for Rivers of Blood debate

By Peter Madeley | Politics | Published: | Last Updated:

We want your questions for what promises to be a fiery debate on the 50th anniversary of Enoch Powell’s explosive speech.

Clockwise from top left: Bill Etheridge, Eleanor Smith, Nigel Hastilow, Dr Shirin Hirsch, Nick Jones and Patrick Vernon

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Enoch Powell’s explosive Rivers of Blood speech.

And to mark the occasion, the Express & Star is hosting what is sure to be a fiery discussion on the former Wolverhampton MP’s legacy.

It will feature a six-strong panel consisting of academics, politicians and authors, all of whom have a personal interest in Powell and the impact his incendiary words have had on modern day Britain.

Meet the panellists:

And we want readers to to play a pivotal role in the event, which is set to take place during the second annual Wolverhampton Literature Festival on January 27. Today readers are being asked to submit their questions to the panel.

Did Powell’s speech foster an anti-immigration feeling across the country, or was he simply saying what many people thought at the time?

How has history treated his words, and what have we learned as a result?


Our panel is waiting to hear from you.

It includes Wolverhampton South West MP Eleanor Smith, who said after she won Powell’s old seat at last year’s general election: “I feel it closes that chapter now for good.”

Historian Dr Shirin Hirsch is also taking part.

The University of Wolverhampton research fellow is writing a book on Powell, and says that his speech created ‘a political language to direct people’s anxieties towards black immigrants’.


The panel also features UKIP MEP Bill Etheridge – who echoed Powell’s words in a speech of his own in November 2015 – and journalist and political commentator Nick Jones, who has written extensively about his father Clem Jones’ friendship with Powell.

Wolverhampton-born political activist Patrick Vernon and Express & Star columnist Nigel Hastilow make up the sextet.

To submit a question, email, or write to Editor’s Secretary Karen Baker, Express & Star, Queen Street, Wolverhampton, WV1 1ES.

The debate takes place on Saturday January 27 at 2.30pm in Wolverhampton University's MC001 building.

Peter Madeley

By Peter Madeley

Political Editor for the Express & Star. Responsible for local and national political stories, opinion, comment and analysis.


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