Rivers of Blood

Rivers of BloodForty years after Enoch Powell's infamous speech predicting that mass immigration would lead to violence on our streets, filmmaker Denys Blakeway explores the impact of the maverick Conservative MP's words and legacy.

Powell was a member of Edward Heath's Shadow Cabinet when he made the Rivers of Blood speech in 1968, so-called because he quoted the Roman poet Virgil's prophesy: I see the Tiber foaming with much blood. He was immediately sacked, but not before sparking furious debate, with his words dividing the nation.

This film examines Powell's speech in unprecedented detail, discovering how his core argument was ignored in favor of his incendiary language. It questions what led him to speak out in the first place and traces the speech's effect on immigration policy in Britain.

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Ratings: 8.63/10 from 8 users.

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61 Comments / User Reviews

  1. anon201138

    i thinks its easier to remove constitutional rights, liberties , etc if you have a big problem which is ' solved ' by the removal of said things.
    I guess the question is: Did the people in power have the foresight and confidence to make changes in immigration laws and be certain of a favorable outcome - the removal of civil rights and liberties etc., as a result of civil unrest or what not to suit the ruling class?

  2. James del Valle

    Enoch Powell may have been paranoid but he is spot on, the UK as we know it wont exist in a few centuries time, Europe will be an Islamic republic after a long and hard fought civil war between the Nationalists and the rest. How terrible is that thought, the UK and Europe slit their own throats, what a difference it would have made to the world if Germany had won either of the wars.

  3. 0zyxcba1

    With a burgeoning 6,000,000,000+ growing exponentially such that estimates
    of 15,000,000,000 by 2050 are not unthinkable, it's a no-brainer that masses
    are on the move seeking, not a better way of life, but life itself.

    A billion or so in lazy homeostasis with Earth's resources would transform
    'the problem' into welcome change. The scenario is laughable. But it does
    serve to underscore the problem, as opposed to its consequence.

  4. Robert Elliot

    How could that possibly happen when the West already has, for example, ethnically targeted bioweapons? You don't get it. The idea behind the New World Order (multiculturalism being a means to that end) is to create one single scientifically engineered culture for all the masses of the world - to *st(r)andardize* the masses, thereby ensuring for all posterity that no single group, country or culture can ever again threaten the hegemony of the now unified elites who run the show. It would be a disaster for humanity but not in the way you're thinking.

  5. RBNZ

    Oh come on the 7/7 bombings were orchestrated by the same old bankers & political elite... it's not a race issue...

  6. leonardobdas

    I think that Mr. Powell gambled politically and failed. As I see it: teenagers going crazy over rock n roll for the first time, hippies on TV all day long playing harmonicas... and there comes a blue eyed man, with a mustache that is every english grandmother's dream, blaming poorly dressed dark skinned people for their stresses, just because these came from countries without money to buy public trash bins so they were 'dirty negroes'. So he thought that he would get an specific reaction to those superficial feelings, but he was wrong: people went for their post war gut and their tv hippie propaganda and just wanted peace.

    Now.... peace is good....but there are exceptions.....such as if they want to blow my town's buses with people in them because I made a cartoon.....then I think they need to be expatriated (outlawed I suppose) until they get rid of that sect of their religion altogether....so there there I am....I hate all of them.... I do... because I hate that they allow for that hate within themselves.

  7. KsDevil

    That's the problem with polarization. Reasonable thought becomes impossible.
    That's the problem with fear. It induces myopia.
    That's the problem with social conservatism. Myth becomes more important than reality.
    That's the problem with social liberalism. Perception becomes more important than reason.
    That's the problem with tradition. It always resists inevitable change.

  8. Robert M

    From what I've learned, it's no longer an exponential growth as far as the human population goes (at this period in time anyways).

    I think there's enough planets out there that everyone could have their own if they had the means. The importance of the problem of space seems to have scaled down in my opinion.

  9. rtiom

    It's always a race issue. People have just become blindly ignorant of the truth, after their government has fed them a bunch of racial acceptance nonsense. Our dreams of freedom have been cut out as soon as we let our governments allow millions of foreign immigrants from third world countries flood our homelands. And if you disagree, shame on you. I have no words for pathetic people who believe for one second that accepting mass migration was not the secret agenda of the bankers, who's sole purpose is to feed their capitalist ambitions. They are confusing peoples sense of identity, which is based on psychological principals, and deforming peoples moral, and cultural values. These values which actually helped shape strong and healthy societies in the past.

  10. leonardobdas

    so what would be like if germany won a war?

  11. Nisith Dash

    England now owes it to these foreign immigrants from all the third world countries. After all they had flooded their homelands uninvited and unwelcome, in search of gold, silver, metals, spices, prostitutes.. what not ?

  12. StillRV

    What are these "ethnically targeted bioweapons" you speak of?

  13. Jack_Burton

    This guy was spot on....

    Need to limit immigration here in the US. Deport all the illegal Mexicans. STOP all immigration from Muslim countries permanently.

  14. StillRV

    That is an opinion article written in the "what if" perspective. I could have written a similar article ten years ago based on as much conjecture as that, The idea is plausible maybe even possible at current levels of genome mapping but hardly conclusive. It is right in there with designer babies and organ farm cloning, potential misuses of a new science. Honestly with all the current hostilities I think it would have been deployed by now.
    As to the Us super power standing...not hardly. The US military is way ahead of even our nearest competition in tech let alone funding. We would not need this type of tech to wipe the slate 12 times over. Not that I am proud of that just fact.

  15. adilrye

    Okay, so Britain invades/colonizes all over Africa and Asia, rapes these places and then leaves. And then they get mad when the people from their former colonies come back to live in their former colonial master?

    Seems a little hypocritical to me.

    Look, I understand the need for immigration control and reform. I understand some of the negative aspects of multiculturalism, especially in a country like Britain, which unlike Canada or the USA isn't a "country of immigrants." But to paint as immigrants and immigration as wholly bad and a scourge to society especially in a country where the birth rate is lower than necessary to pretty much keep the economy running and support the welfare system is counter productive.

    ANYWAY...good doc, very interesting.

  16. adilrye

    Good luck deporting 12 million people.
    Good luck reviving an economy in the Southwest destroyed when all those menial labourers leave.
    Also note that families from Muslim countries tend to be wealthier than the rest of American families, reflecting the fact that most of them are engineers, scientists, doctors, entrepreneurs etc.
    But most of all, think about the fact that your ancestors came to America as immigrants. So your the descendant of immigrants telling immigrants to go away. Now, let's say the same thing happened to your family.

  17. DeeJay Pickles

    Why should be Brits be responsible for the crimes of our forefathers? by your logic the descendants of Nazi should be incarcerated and gassed to death. What a load of rubbish no one owes anyone anything! further more im not about to sit back and let my sons homeland be turned in to a rubbish bin of humanity for all and sundry to come and take good jobs while British fathers struggle to make ends meet.
    why don't all immigrants man the hell up and sort out there own country instead of stealing my child's. there is a reason everyone wants to come to U.K and its because they want to take what they can not to contribute. im not racist but I am anti-immigration at this point in time. we are over capacity and more and more still come everyday unemployment soars immigrant, especially polish crime in U.K is at its worse it has ever been not to mention the overcrowded hospitals and over run police and border agency.

    Most immigrant community's do not mix with others. that promotes distrust and also segregation, most don't even speak English until you mention money, it makes me sick.

    Two wrongs do not make a right I wont let my child pay for the crimes of my great grand fathers get your own country mines called Great Britain for a reason.

    the commonwealth owe many things to the old empire i mean Indians were still using spears for god sake do you think india would be the huge global power it is now without the time of the Raj? or Australia or Canada without the colony's that made them?
    Its not all bad, History is written in blood but that does not give anyone the right to punish any descendants for the crimes of any ancestors the idea is quite frankly Dangerous.

  18. DeeJay Pickles

    Space is the inevitable future for our species. i just wish it would happen sooner rather than later, like when we have limited combustible fuels left or limited fresh water, it may be too late to get to the next habitable planet. I feel like we are a backwards species unless money is the incentive and right now here is no money incentive in space, virgin galactic and other space passenger flight operators excluded as that's just small scale tourism and isn't enough to create a renewable resourced industry.

  19. adilrye

    Of course your anti-immigration at this point and time. The economy sucks. It's like a natural reaction in the industrialized world.

  20. Jack_Burton

    EZ fix, 1 year hard labor (in desert building the wall) for any illegals caught and $10,000 fine. Theres so many people out of work, think it will be no problem replacing those job.

    Muslims Ive seen are poor as dirt and uneducated.... Thanks to Obama's policy. Yeah my ancestors came here. Whats that got to do with the here and now?

    Political Correctness will be the end of us all...

  21. Farzad Azad

    i am an iranian, and i am on Mr powells' side

  22. kafkafil

    You ARE the immigrants. You killed millions of the real Americans.

  23. David vesty

    What are you talking about a too low birthrate... are you clinically insane?!?The UK will be one of the most crowded countries in the world in the next 50 years. Countries with small populations to land mass ratios do alot better than overcrowded stretched countries like the UK, for example, Switzerland, Canada, Australia, all these countries have the best quality of life for a reason, sustainable manageable populations and growth. You can only grow so quick until the system gets too big + too expensive until it implodes in on itself under the pressure.

    How many people in that Fubar mind of yours do you think we should have living in a tiny country like the UK anyhow. Get an education, people like you that are killing the UK and turning it into the sess pit it will surely become!

    Mass Immigration to UK needs to stop Today, otherwise it will end in tears

  24. adilrye

    Isn't it hypocritical that you are so against immigration when your forefathers crossed the ocean hoping for a better life in a new country? What if someone told them they can't come. Think about putting your feet in other people's shoes.

    Plus, you can "see" what you want, but the statistics say otherwise. Asians have the highest income of all racial groups, a lot of them are Muslim as well...so much for "worthless" immigrants.

    Plus, logistically, taking 12 million people out of the USA is pretty impossible. Your basically proposing a totalitarian state where people are essentially convinced to arrest other people based on racial assumptions.

    Is...that the America you want? Is that the vision of America that people used to admire?

  25. Sabiduria

    For you to waste your time commenting on a fool like Jack_Burton is sad. People like Jack_Burton only know one thing hate all that is not White Anglo Saxon Prodestant.

    Adilrye, I can tell you are new to this country. People like Jack_Burton will never learn. Simple as this, can you teach a donkey to speak a human language? Well good luck. In Islam it says the loudest of all animal voices is the voice of the Ass.

  26. Sabiduria

    Nisith Dash, I agree however we have no right to ask for what is owed to us because we have no army to slaughter the British as they did us! Remember the Indian Massacres? The white man is a hypocrite, he only respects violence!

  27. justin0785

    come on jack...if our governments spent 10% of the money they spend setting babies on fire helping people instead there would be no problem...a wise man once said the best way to destroy your enemies is to make them your friends

  28. esmuziq & frames

    my cuz got kicked out of the uk and send back to his home country

  29. Teamtigerpaw

    esmuziq & frames
    When and why please.

  30. Jack1952

    Whether Powell was driven by intolerance seems moot, now. Although, given to histrionics, his words do appear to have an air of prophecy to them. Many of the English were concerned with what they perceived as English intolerance, never considering that there might also be immigrants bringing their own bigotry with them. This is the one area that the liberal mind cannot comprehend. It believes that if it opens up its arms in love and understanding, this outflow will be returned. They are then shocked that sometimes, it isn't. If we could wish bigotry away, it would have happened along time ago. We can only try to educate and hope that knowledge facilitates understanding.

  31. 0zyxcba1

    I really liked reading your comment. Well written(very well written) and substantive, too.

    Where to start.

    Liberalism was originally the philosophy of
    governance by means of least necessity.

    By this definition, those who argue against 'Big Government'; against government interference; against government run social welfare programs; against regulatory policies; in favor of deregulation; in support of 'States Rights'; for Supreme Court decisions guided by a non-interpretive decision-making philosophy, are(unwittingly) holding high Ronald Reagan's stated ideals as the gold standard of Liberal thinking.

    What you may have actually said is that secularized christianity
    (an ethical perspective based upon the nice things Jesus said) as
    foundation of social policy, just, does, not, work. If this indeed
    be the case, then I agree.

    Which way to go?

    This question is just the sort of question societies since the time of Aristotle are meant to debate via reasoned discourse. Unfortunately, because the force of irrationality is in its ascendancy, neither the United States, nor the UK, are about to commence with discussing, publicly, and rationally, what has grown into a perplexing problem of potentially epic proportions.

    This is tragic.

    The principles upon which this county, the united States, were founded, call for an on-going, participatory democracy, from the local level all the way to the White House, with a free, diverse, and vibrant press as its bedrock for communicating ideas(not Rupert Murdoch!).

    'Liberalism' has been transformed into a dirty word through politically motivated marketing techniques. And factions claiming to preach Liberal principals(under different banners) are, in reality, stifling the ability for those very same principles to function.

    What do you think?

  32. 0zyxcba1

    I am not an Iranian, and I am on my side.

  33. Guest

    First we stole it and now we protect it against being stolen?
    MINE MINE MINE...you sound like a child.
    Research your family tree, your blood came on a boat.

  34. James del Valle

    the future is poverty and starvation for billions, backward nations are overpopulated and have been given a prominant role in deciding the future of the planet, we are f*cked

  35. cezy

    Please, study some modern economics before quoting outdated malthusian ideas! If you want to know why the living standards in the UK are worsening, don't look at the immigrants, look at the rising inequality in wealth and income distribution.
    And for your information, there is a lot of unused land in the UK that belongs to rich landowners. And switzerland is rich because of its banking system, while the quality of lie in australia and canada is getting much worse.

  36. Jack1952

    It is interesting to note that the Republican Party was formed by anti-slavery Whigs and Free Soil Democrats; anti-slavery being a very liberal idea. It just doesn't fit with the view we have of the modern GOP. It's difficult to think of Reagan as a liberal.

    Less government has allowed multi-national corporations the freedom to operate with fewer restrictions. I'm not sure that is what the original Liberals had in mind. The idea of a multi-national company could not have been conceived of at the time of the writing of the Constitution.

    I didn't actually mean to say that Christianity cannot be the foundation of social policy but I can see how you could read this into my comments; since I do believe it to be true. The Ten Commandments as the backbone of a legal system is quite ludicrous upon closer inspection. To be a little facetious, how can you legislate coveting.

    It would seem that both Liberals and Conservatives try to restrict free speech to some extent. Conservatives as the representatives of the old-fashioned, religious segments of society and Liberals who insist that we must (to use a an overused expression) be "politically correct" in any discussion. With these restrictions it can become very difficult to have anything meaningful to say.

    Powell may have been proved to be correct in his predictions but it was and still is political suicide to say the things that he did. It seems that we have put the idea of free speech on an "edit first; speak later" restriction. As you say; quite stifling.

  37. Dean Edgington

    Sabiduria: you're just jealous your race didn't achieve supremacy first.

  38. RileyRampant

    the writers actually agreed with Powell, they just didn't have the guts to come right out and say it.

  39. Snoik

    He was right though. Foreignor workers being treated differently to us, being given priority to jobs, housing healthcare. How they avoid prison, due to the 'human rights' act. Muslim pedo's, terrorists and rapists allowed to remain, because being sent home would infringe thier human rights, but what about MY human right to not be raped or blown up???

  40. Jack1952

    That this goes on anywhere is deplorable. However, I don't think its fair to castigate all Iranians, just those who legislate these laws and those who support them. Those unfortunate individuals that are being hung are Iranians, also.

  41. 0zyxcba1


    I was hoping for a response from @Farzad Azad, actually.


  42. Thunderb0lt

    He was right. London's been burning for the past week due to multiculturalism.

    Well done liberals.

  43. nostradamus4u

    In ww3 pussies europeans will call russians to help and everything will be ok :) Army of a million russians supported by Poland, Ukraine and Serbia will cross central Europe and that story of dzihaj and black pride and will be over :)))
    After that we will live in a one big great motherland from Antlatic till Pacific and we will feel safe, strong and happy ;) Thats will be a story of XXI century :)

  44. Einstein4u

    I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones

  45. Amsterdamaged.net

    The Brits spent centuries raping and pillaging while colonising foreign lands, Don't be surprised that a few of them followed you home after you left their country in a sh*t state.You reap what you sow my friend!

  46. Philip

    Excuse me, matey, open up your politically correct eyes, and show me a race or nation that hasn't slightly abused their power over another given the opportunity. In the grand scheme of things, the British have nothing to be ashamed of in their acquisition or running of their empire.

    The British certainly do not deserve the demographic genocide bestowed upon them as phrophesised by Enoch Powell. The way things are going the British race will be extinct within twenty years. A great race that produced Shakespeare, Newton, Churchill and numerous unique inventions, discoveries, talents and laughter is dying before our eyes. Unless!

  47. Philip

    Ahem, Britain took over the Netherlands as the most densely populated large country in the European Union a couple of years back.

    Britain is full! We do not have room for any more immigrants even if we wanted them.

  48. Philip

    "What not" about sums you up, squire.

  49. cezy

    Since you like to quote data, have a look at the UK demography on wikipedia.
    You'll find out that 85.2% of the inhabitants in the UK are white british, another 6.5 % white (other) and the remaining 8% is indian, pakistani, black, chinese etc. As you can see, the British race, as you call it, is quite far from extinction.
    What you might also find interesting (if you type income distribution UK), is that the top 10% owns 53% of the country's wealth. That is, if you have a pie and there is 10 of you, one person will get half the pie, and the other 9 will share the rest.
    Are you sure immigation is your biggest worry?
    Don't you think the Brits should concentrate on more important subjects?
    Unless of course, you are the one who gets half the pie.

  50. Philip

    I agree with you about the inequity of income and resources in Britain and would duly like to see it rectified. However, saying that, this does not detract from the negatives of mass immigration and ensuing associated problems. One evil does not make a right! By the way (I say this as an observation not a criticism) those figures you quote from Wikepedia (hardly a legitimate source!) are either outdated or inaccurate. As I am not attempting to engage in oneupmanship with you, I will leave it to you at your own leisure to find the more accurate and contemporary racial breakdown of various groups in Britain.

    For the record, sir, I did not quote any "data" but referenced a demographic trend = a very significant difference. Anyhow, if thus inclined, look up more reputable and up-to-date figures if you so wish and undoubtedly you may find them rather frightening!

    Best of British luck to you, my ol' mate.

  51. cezy

    First, wiki might not be 100% accurate, but it's a good enough source for a pseudo debate on an online forum.
    Second, what is your source?
    Third, I am an immigrant, so saying that immigration is evil, affects and offends me personally.
    I am italian, I lived in London for 9 years. I studied, worked, paid taxes and, unlike manyof my fellow contrymen, I never took advantage of the British system (i.e. benefits). I always loved english culture and language, so much that I got myself a wonderful english man. Now we both live in Italy, so he too can have the chance to live abroad and learn another language.
    You want to defend your roots, that's fine. So do I. But embracing other cultures does not necessarily mean losing your identity. It's an opportunity to learn and grow and at the same time teach other people what your culture is about.
    I don't know why part of the british press is instigating hatred. Maybe, as I said before, it's their way to distract you from the real evil that is going on.

  52. Philip

    Cezy, Your personal details are irrelevant to me, but I am pleased that you have found love and happiness with an English person - you have good taste. Good luck to you both!

    Listen, I too profoundly respect and am interested in other cultures. Precisely for this reason, I endeavour and advocate that Britain retains its unique, rich and homogenous culture and identity. I don't know about you but I want distinctly different cultures for each diferent country NOT a globalised monochrome sameness. For Britain to retain its unique characteristics it must keep predominantly (not absolutely exclusively) its indigenous people, so must each individual country.

    Since Enoch Powell's speech, opinion polls have consistently shown that the British people overwhelmingly (85%) do not want mass immigration nor multiculturalism. You can debate the myopia of this viewpoint but what you cannot debate is that democracy has been flagrantly flouted by going against the overwhelming wishes of the British people. Why has this been done? Put simply, it suits politicians to be in cahoots with big multinational business not the little man/woman. These actions have been replicated in your home country of Italy and across the western world.

    Finally, the west is no longer in a financial or social position to solve the problems of the Third World. It is an endless problem with never ending increasing populations. Enough is enough! They must get their own house in order and stop blaming evil whitey and at the same time asking for endless hand outs.

    The minority whom still advocate mass immigration and extol the virtues of multiculturalism are usually comfortably off and detached from the reality of it. I suggest we should send these liberal hearted folk to live in our inner-cities for a while in order to experience a healthy dose of reality.

  53. Ron

    "In the grand scheme of things, the British have nothing to be ashamed of in their acquisition or running of their empire."

    I was going to assert that your myopic idiocy can be attributed to your ethnic prism which glorifies all things Anglo. But now I shan't bother, thanks to your above quote. Case closed.

  54. Guest

    Any time people in the U.K get a bit confused about immigration or what I consider to be a wonderful blending of cultures and people they drag out the Rivers of Blood speech, dust it off and hide behind it. That way they can voice their concerns and not take the blame, Enoch has become something of a whipping boy. Lets face it, he probably deserves it.

  55. Space_Cadet_1952

    Video terminated...

  56. James Colwell

    Video terminated...

  57. Still Friday Pic

    this is so racist

  58. Jennifer Munger

    Could not of put it better myself, England should be for the English and allow us the opportunity to look after our own for a change instead of every other nationality. The past is the past but a lot of men women and children have sacrificed their youth and their lives for this country,dont we owe it to those people to be better caretakers of our land!

  59. rzabsko

    hey Jennifer! It would be good if the English let the Middle East nations care about themselves too! Do not you think? Not bombing them all the time alongside with US troops.

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