The Best Defense

Enoch Powell, Thucydides, the Beatles, and a female terrorist turned Tory

I had known that Enoch Powell, before becoming the most controversial politician in modern British history, was an intelligence officer in World War II (and a very good one, according to his boss) and a classicist before that.

But one thing I learned in London after a wine-fueled dinner at the old school bohemian Chelsea Arts Club ("dress code: none") was that Powell was one of the editors of a very good edition of Thucydides. I checked on Amazon and unfortunately it costs too damn much. 

Bonus fact: The original version of the Beatles song "Get Back" had an allusion to Powell's "rivers of blood" speech (which itself was a reference to Virgil). It is not often that you can pack Paul McCartney, Enoch Powell, and Virgil into the same song. What a bag of cats.  

I'm not even gonna get into Eric Clapton's 1976 endorsement of Powell.

While I am on the subject of what I did in London, can anyone name the one-time terrorist who is honored with a statue just west of the Houses of Parliament? Hint: She eventually became a member of the Conservative Party. 



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