London has changed to the point of being almost unrecognizable. Not just in the organic way that history usually demands but drastically, irrevocably, and in the space of a generation. It is not really a British city, much less an English one. Unprecedented and blindingly fast demographic change through immigration has seen to that. And its character, its very essence, once based on centuries of shared history and experience, is now defined by what is called its “values”, a synthetic set of modern beliefs to which the modern Londoner should sign up. It is a “home” now, seemingly, to the whole world. A place of countless identities… and none.
When Enoch Powell stood up at lunchtime on Saturday 20 April 1968, his audience of local Conservative activists at the Midland Hotel, Birmingham could hardly have known that they were about to hear the most inflammatory and divisive (and prescient) speech by a British politician in their lifetimes. His speech is a master class of the English language, you can tell he was a writer and poet. Sadly his predictions came true.