Diocesan Press Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 16 February 1998
Following requents for a statement regarding the death of Enoch Powell and his lying-in in Westminster Abbey, Bishop Wilfred Wood the Bishop of Croydon comments:
I respect the convention that one should not speak ill of the dead, but only truth as one sees it. With this in mind, it would be sad if our reticence in the face of undiluted praise for Enoch Powell as the arresting speaker that he was, should mislead future generations about the damage he did to personal relationships between black and white people in this country and his undermining of the foundations for a truly multi-ethnic, multi-cultural society by his various speeches attacking the presence of black people in this country.
He gave a certificate of respectability to white racist views which otherwise decent people were ashamed to acknowledge in themselves. It is worth remembering that in those days there was the illegal white racist regime in Ian Smith’s Rhodesia; Nelson Mandela and others like him were languishing in South Africa’s jails and the ideology of white supremacy around the world was struggling for survival.