Monday, 29 June 2015
On Saturday, at a conference on Catholic education, I heard a very distinguished speaker explain, among many other things, that there was still a Protestant fundamentalist adoption agency in this country, acting fully in accordance with its principles.
The Catholic agencies had long ago stopped mentioning the Faith, although they had been founded to stop the placing of Catholic orphans with Protestant families who often even changed their Irish names.
As soon as they stopped insisting that they would place children only with practising Catholics who adhered to Catholic principles, then they had no defence against, for example, being required to place children with same-sex couples, who would now include David Cameron's same-sex married couples.
But the Protestant fundamentalists had continued to insist that they would place children only with Protestant fundamentalists, and they are still doing so, untroubled by the present Conservative Government, by the previous Coalition, or by the Labour Government that is blamed for having closed down the Catholic adoption agencies.
It did not. Effectively, they closed themselves down. If they had stuck to their founding principles decades before, then that Government would have left them alone. That is not a guess. The record proves it.
In the pub afterwards, my friend and I were discussing the ridiculous list of "British values" bequeathed to England's grateful schools by Michael Gove. Political systems that are not values. Values shared with scores of other countries. You know how it goes.
But as my friend said to me, this kind of thing, "led to people like us hiding in priest holes for hundreds of years." Quite so.
Within living memory, Catholics had worse relations with the British State than were enjoyed by the Muslims of, among other places, the Arab world and the Indian Subcontinent.
Any teenager or undergraduate who had attended that conference, which also heard a Labour MP express his deepening scepticism about the EU, would have been a prime target for identification as having exhibited "radicalised behaviour".
Well, frankly, I hope that any teenager, any undergraduate or anyone else who attended that conference was indeed radicalised by it. I certainly was.