There is, as the saying goes, nothing so illiberal as a liberal. But Jo Swinson’s party seems recently to have been seeking to vindicate the caricature by its opponents as neither Democratic nor Liberal.

Step forward Bob Flello, a former Labour MP who put himself forward as a Lib/Dem candidate in the forthcoming election. He went though the usual process, and was duly notified of his selection. It was then that the problems began. Things he had said – posts on social media – clearly indicated that, as a Catholic, he was opposed to abortion and same sex marriage and had difficulties with the transsexual agenda. Whist it was agreed that he had done nothing plainly to disqualify him, and though these facts were not specifically brought up in evidence, there was a ’feeling’ that his sentiments did not fully accord with ‘our values’. (And this in a party whose former leader had retired from politics for holding much the same views!) He was stood down.

A week is said to be a long time in politics – and we can also reasonably conclude that ‘wokeness’ in political parties is progressing at an exponential rate. Difficulties in the media over Jacob Rees-Mogg’s uncompromising Catholicism indicate that this is a development not restricted to the Liberal Democrats.  And the stance of Momentum is very clear.

As we approach the bicentenary of the Catholic Relief Act of 1829, it is surely necessary to ask: How long before Catholics are once more excluded from Parliament?  It is obvious from many indicators that wokeness has ceased to be an attitude and has become a religion. And, like religions in their first flush of enthusiasm, it is eager to persecute those who differ. Of course, there will be no burnings at the stake or even penal laws this time; but, by a process of deselection and ‘no-platforming’, the alternative voice will be silenced.

Are Catholics to become the new Jews of the left-liberal consensus?  It is a question to be asked.

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