It was the church’s acceptance of female priests that proved a step too far for many Anglicans. Much like their 19th-century forebears in the Oxford Movement, they too turned to the Tiber, and so the historic strand of Anglican Toryism died with them. Conversion was not an easy decision. It involved a complete revision of their historical and political consciousness. ‘I feel rather like a man standing among packing cases and looking, for the last time, at the bare boards of his old home,’ lamented Charles Moore.
In the divorce between Conservatism and Anglicanism, the blame was put on the church. But the truth was that the party had changed too. Even in the 1980s, Anglican Conservatives were a dying breed. The new generation of Conservative MPs were more libertarian. Future Tory MPs would be sourced from a much wider pool both socially and religiously.
“Outside of the Ordinate, which creamed off the most orthodox and zealous Anglicans and set them up in a safe place where the Catholic bishops couldn't wreck their liturgy, the Catholic Church in England is doing little better than the Anglicans - and only because Catholic immigrants keep coming from healthier countries such as Poland.”