GB News host Calvin Robinson openly quotes one of most racist speeches in history of UK politics

side-by-side photos of Enoch Powell at the 1980 Conservative Party Conference and GBNews presenter Calvin Robinson at an anti-abortion march

Anti-LGBTQ+ GB News host Calvin Robinson has spent much of this week persistently using Enoch Powell’s horrifically racist “rivers of blood” speech on social media to illustrate his thoughts on immigration.

As well as a GB News host, Robinson has been a deacon of the Free Church of England since June 2022. He has claimed he struggled to be ordained in the Church of England because he opposes the ordination of women. 

Robinson is no stranger to making hateful remarks, having claimed that describing children as trans is “child abuse”, insisting “gay marriage is not marriage”, and even saying that “we now live in a society where LGB persons are no longer marginalised”.

But on Tuesday (29 November), Robinson managed to shock even those familiar with his brand of bigotry. 

In a Twitter thread about immigration, Robinson posted a photo of Enoch Powel and, quoting the politician, wrote: “As I look ahead, I am filled with foreboding. Like the Roman, I seem to see ‘the River Tiber foaming with much blood.'” 

Powell, who ran against Ted Heath for the leadership of the Conservative Party in 1966 before becoming an Ulster Unionist MP between 1974 and 1987, was deeply racist.

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In 1968, Powell gave his infamous “rivers of blood” speech to a Conservative Association meeting in Birmingham, in which he argued that continuing immigration would mean that “the Black man will have the whip hand over the white man”. 

The speech was a response to the proposed 1968 Race Relations Bill to make it illegal to refuse housing, employment, or public services to a person on the grounds of colour, race, ethnic or national origin, and in it Powell referred to Black children as “wide-grinning piccaninnies” who “cannot speak English”. 

Of the bill, he said: “Here is the means of showing that the immigrant communities can organise to consolidate their members, to agitate and campaign against their fellow citizens, and to overawe and dominate the rest with the legal weapons which the ignorant and the ill-informed have provided. 

“As I look ahead, I am filled with foreboding; like the Roman, I seem to see ‘the River Tiber foaming with much blood.'” 

Despite furious backlash against his initial tweet, Robinson continued to promote Powell’s ideology, following up with a Substack post titled: “Why Enoch was right”, and changing his Twitter banner picture to a photo of Powell. 

Oddly, Robinson said in his Substack post: “My father’s family are from Jamaica, originally Nigeria, and my mother’s family are from England. 

“I am, therefore, ethnically half Afro-Caribbean and half English… Many of the Left says, ‘But you wouldn’t have been born without immigration’, which is true but does not mean we should have a policy of open borders and endless immigration.”

Robinson pointed to the Windrush scheme, under which his father came to the UK, as “a good example… of attracting the skills/talents we need to improve society”. Yet the Windrush scandal, exposed decades later, showed the severe and lasting damage caused by a hostile British immigration system

Robinson later tweeted: “Diversity is not always a strength. In this context, diversity means fewer white people, fewer Englishmen, and fewer Christians. There are those who would celebrate that. I would call them the racists.”

Despite ‘reprehensible views’, LGBTQ+ advocates are determined to still challenge GB News on-air

As the views of those platformed by GB News appear to become more and more extreme, it sparks the question of whether those who disagree with those views should continue to appear on the channel in an effort to change minds. 

As the channel continues to put out content that mocks and denigrates the rights of LGBTQ+ people, several advocates have appeared in segments to attempt to engage in conversation, often with little success. 

But they told PinkNews that they would not stop trying. 

Long-time human rights activist Peter Tatchell, who has appeared several times on GB News, responded to Robinson’s posts: “Such views are toxic and reprehensible. 

“Much as I disagree with many GB News presenters, it is important for progressive people to challenge their rhetoric and present an alternative point of view. Otherwise, we can’t show viewers why those opinions are wrong. 

“Engagement is vital in order to undermine right-wing ideas and change viewers’ hearts and minds. That won’t be achievable if we boycott the channel and stick to more liberal echo chambers like mainstream channels.” 

Jayne Ozanne, director of the Ozanne Foundation and chair of the Ban Conversion Therapy Coalition, added: “I have always believed the best way of tackling prejudice is to model something better, and to ideally do that in media channels where hate is being sewn – you’re not likely to change the hardliners, but you may well impact those in the ‘reasonable middle’. 

“That said, there are limits. As Jesus said, ‘Don’t cast pearls before swine’, and some people, as we have seen recently, are just beyond the pale!”

PinkNews has approached GB News and Calvin Robinson for comment.