You get the distinct impression that fanatics like Joyce Thacker and her colleagues would rather half the children in Britain were raised by the benevolent and right-thinking state than by any parent — however responsible and loving — who dares to deviate from the party line. It’s difficult to imagine a more cruel and perverse manifestation of “progressive” left-wing thinking.

But by handing a moral victory and acres of publicity to the very party whose rise they most fear, and by acting in a manner so indefensible that even the leaders of their own party have abandoned them, they have hopefully inflicted lasting damage on their brand.