To anyone who thinks that a political process dominated by a specific religion, its doctrines and its concepts of ‘sin’, and ‘family values’, one that has moved from being a secular democracy to becoming effective a theocracy, I recommend a study of Franco’s Spain, or the Republic of Ireland, or of anyone of a number of Muslim states. And we don’t have to delve into the distant past to see such ‘values’ in operation — the recent history of the Catholic Church in Ireland, in Britain and in America and the abuse scandals, from the Magdalene laundries to child abuse and the protection of child abusers by the hierarchy, tells an appalling story. One might think that the appalling brutalities and persecutions of minorities and the opposition in Franco’s regime in Spain, fully and unequivocally supported by the Catholic Church, are a distant memory. Not so. A documentary on BBC2 last night — Spain Stolen Children — demonstrates with chilling force the application of the ‘family values’ of the Catholic Church, with the connivance of the law, the police and the state, that resulted in the theft and sale of children by nuns, priests and doctors, a scandal that has been suppressed since the death of Franco in 1975 by the supposedly democratic regimes that replaced him, but is now growing to a scandal of monumental proportions — a crime against humanity.