Conservative Party to select candidates by religion
Mr Fealty observed unequivocally that the Conservative-Ulster Unionists (or whatever they are to be called) are ‘seeking Catholics and women as candidates’. His source of information was no less than Owen Paterson MP, the Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, and Marion Little, described as the ‘Battleground Director’ for the UK.
For the Conservative Party to discriminate on the basis of a candidate’s religion is a most profoundly un-Conservative action, and one which runs quite counter to its own aspiration to ‘modernise’. Indeed, such an overt discrimination is taking the Party back to the 18th century, to the days when patriotism and loyalty to the Crown were discerned through a member's expressed religious adherence. The Conservative Party (as a post-19th-century construct) has never discriminated against Protestants or Anglicans as it now proposes to do - even though it is itself no longer either particularly Anglican or remotely Protestant.
Cranmer does not have time this morning to expound the history of the Party, and how its Whig and Tory roots fused to de-emphasise religious polarities while adopting the via media of the Church of England – a soft Protestantism embracing Anglo-Catholicism and eventually becoming attractive to Roman Catholics. It has been a long and complex process.
But Cranmer does wish his readers and communicants to observe this:
The Conservatives in Scotland are prioritising Scots, women, the disabled, gay and ethnic minorities.
The Conservatives in Wales are prioritising the Welsh, women, the disabled, gay and ethnic minorities.
The Conservatives in Northern Ireland are prioritising the Irish, women and Roman Catholics.
The Conservatives in England are prioritising women, the disabled, gay and ethnic minorities.
He shall leave it to his intelligent and discerning readers and communicants to see what the Conservative Party is actively discriminating against.
And intelligent and loyal Conservative Roman Catholics like Edward Leigh wonder why it is left to him and his co-religionists to articulate on behalf of the Established Church of England.