Rivers of Blood claim made as new evidence emerges of Windrush deportations from the 1950s to 1970s.
THE WINDRUSH scandal has its roots in Enoch Powell’s Rivers of Blood speech, a campaigner and academic has said.
This article was originally published in The Voice newspaper.
The comments from Windrush campaigner Professor Patrick Vernon OBE coincided with news that over 400 long-term sick and mentally ill people from the Windrush generation were sent back to the Caribbean between the 1950s and 1970s.
The shocking revelation chimes with academic findings that point to the cause of the Windrush scandal being dozens of anti-immigrant laws across different governments.
Today, the BBC reported that at least 411 Windrush generation people were deported, according to formerly classified documents at the National Archives.
This indicates that the Windrush hostile environment scandal was happening decades before the current Conservative government, or the last Labour one, and dates back as far as Sir Winston Churchill.
Speaking at a conference at the University of London, Professor Philip Murphy traced the origins of the contemporary scandal as far back as the 1905 Alien Act.
But Professor Vernon pointed the finger squarely at Enoch Powell’s Rivers of Blood speech, which he said had set the tone for the dozens of anti-migrant laws in the following decades.
He said: “His speech Rivers of Blood has influenced all the [immigration] legislation since 1968. That speech has inspired Labour, Conservative, Lib Dem politicians for the last 50 years with tighter immigration control and restricting the rights, particularly of the Windrush generation and other parts of the Commonwealth.”
In other developments, The Times reports government sources blaming a “flood of ineligible claims” for delays in giving out compensation payments for victims of the Windrush scandal.
The narrative of shifting the blame for payment delays onto the Black community – and the implication of widespread fraud from claimants – is sure to cause offence to those caught up in the scandal.
There has been no real evidence of widespread fraud offered, and the news report provoked a backlash from those who argue the key problems are lack of investment in the administration of the scheme, and lack of community confidence in the Home Office.
Campaigners who have long argued that the compensation scheme should be removed from the Home Office; a demand also made by a cross-party committee of MPs.