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From “Willing Hands” to “Rivers of Blood”

“There were strikes, there was unemployment and the usual balance of payments deficit. But Enoch Powell implied that most of these troubles were caused by blacks. They all should be sent home, he cried, forgetting that only a few years back he had welcomed the black nurses from the West Indies with near hysterical enthusiasm. Those workers from Africa and the West Indies had been referred to as “willing hands”. The press said black people had fought gallantly to help save the mother country during the Second World War, and now they were here to help rebuild her industries. Everybody wanted the black people then. As most of the ravages of war had by now been repaired, the willing hands became the root cause of all the British ills. In Enoch Powell’s vision, they were going to cause blood to run in the streets.”

Buchi Emecheta – Head Above Water, Chapter 7