Or maybe just think at all about him, if you have bought the standard view of him, all based on one rightly notorious speech. If the late Paul Foot's book is still available I recommend it strongly. Obviously Foot starts from a far-left perspective, but actually that is not especially apparent in this interesting piece of analysis, researched with Foot's typical diligence. Foot points out that Powell had been canvassed by those in his own party with racialistic outlooks and had shown no more interest in the issue than he had ever shown in the Red Menace, which he considered nonsense. What made the difference was the 1964 general election. In that poll there was a general swing to Labour, but the west midlands went the other way, and the issue that sent them the other way was ethnic immigration. In particular the shadow foreign secretary Patrick Gordon Walker was defeated at Smethwick. The Conservative defeat in 1964 led to the resignation of Douglas-Home and an election for Tory leader, and Powell, a west midlands MP, saw a chance for himself. He seized on what he perceived as the hot issue and made the 'Tiber foaming with much blood' speech, a new theme for him, taking a dramatic not to say apocalyptic view of immigration from the Commonwealth. Heath expelled him from the shadow cabinet, he left the Tory party and voted Labour, and he reverted, as a very independent Ulster Unionist, to his well-established but less well-reported standpoints. He voted to abolish the death penalty, he voted for liberalisation of the laws on divorce, homosexuality and abortion, and he voted against the Commonwealth immigrants bills introduced by Callaghan and Maudling, describing at least one of them (very plausibly) as 'racialist'.
Not exactly your standard 'right-winger' then! In addition to all the above, he had argued as shadow defence secretary for British withdrawal from east of Suez, and he was consistently anti-American and anti-European, an opponent of nuclear weapons in or for Britain, and an advocate of an alliance with 'Russia' (as he always called the Soviet Union) based on his own view of European history. In all these positions he was relatively consistent, or at least owned up to a change of mind in the case of east of Suez. So what are we to make of that speech? Foot's analysis leads me to the view that the temptation to bid for the Tory leadership was just too strong, but Powell was such a monster of self-justification and auto-suggestion that he could not admit to himself that the speech was downright disingenuous.
I am no historian, but I guess that by 1979 a right-wing government was a historical necessity. Given the antics of the left at the time we probably got off pretty lightly -- there may have been a danger of outright fascism. Supposing we needed a right-wing prime minister, I still suspect we missed our chance of getting the best one. Powell's economics were standard free-market, like those of Keith Joseph and Joseph's disciple Margaret Thatcher. However as minister of health Powell had put them into practice with flair and imagination, to the advantage of the National Health Service which probably benefited more from him than from the lumpen Labour ministers, claiming of course the mantle of Bevan, who followed him. And we will never now know how the history of the cold war might have been different if Powell had got loose on British foreign and defence policy.