Gransnet forums

News & politics

Something rotten?

(129 Posts)
Eloethan Thu 08-Feb-18 09:48:55

A recent headline in the Independent:

"Secret Freemasons' lodges for politicians and journalists operating at Westminster:

"Lodges for MPs, peers, parliamentary staff and journalists said to be so covert most lobby reporters were unaware of their existence"

I don't think this should be allowed. What do others think?

whitewave Thu 08-Feb-18 09:54:35

The chap in charge was on television this morning, saying in essence that they are a jolly fun organisation, where members go to become upstanding members of society take part in silly little ceremonies and then go for a jolly nice meal. Oh and we do a lot for charity.

What a load of b.........ks. In our family we have had members and grandmasters and there is no doubt that they continually scratch each other’s back as well as work against non-members.

People in positions of power should be forced to declare their interest.

Eloethan Thu 08-Feb-18 10:11:44

I agree whitewave. If it's all so above board and innocent, why the need for such secrecy?

I had thought it was illegal for a police officer to be a Freemason, but apparently not. I read that Sadiq Khan is refusing to make London police officers declare if they are in the Masons. Perhaps he has been advised that unless laws are specifically brought in, it would be illegal to do this. Anyway, I find it disappointing.

SueDonim Thu 08-Feb-18 10:46:22

I see that the Freemasons are complaining about being discriminated against. As someone points out here, how are they discriminated against when they're a secret society and we don't know who they are? confused

Tegan2 Thu 08-Feb-18 11:48:08

I find it wrong that it's people like the police, solicitors and barristers etc that tend to be members especially as it's a 'scratch my back' sort of set up hmm...

Christinefrance Thu 08-Feb-18 12:09:39

And a male only club isn't it ?

Anniebach Thu 08-Feb-18 12:16:16

My husband was invited to join a lodge, advised it would speed up his promotion , cannot repeat what his reply was , I will just say he sort of said no thank you , but stronger language , I doubt I could have stayed in the marriage if he had , such corruption

tessagee Thu 08-Feb-18 12:30:31

I can't pretend to know very much about Freemasonry but I will say that in forty years of working life, my very best employer was a Freemason. I just found that out by accident. Many years later, I still get cards at Christmas from him and his lovely wife.

annodomini Thu 08-Feb-18 13:34:07

Born and brought up in Scotland, I never thought of the Masons as unduly secretive. Everybody in our small town who was anybody was a Mason, though my Dad declined the invitation. In the small town we moved to, when I was a student, the Masons had an annual church service, alternating between the two churches - both ministers wore their Masons' aprons. Our minister's two sons, one a medical student, and the other who later became a well known MP, both paraded as Masons, with no secrecy whatsoever.

lemongrove Thu 08-Feb-18 14:19:12

The police have always ( or as long as I remember) been allowed to be Masons.
It’s a secret society that is not actually all that secret really.
Am not a fan of continually banning things simply because other people ‘don’t like them’.

Eloethan Thu 08-Feb-18 14:45:14

As I said, I had mistakenly thought that at some point it became illegal for police officers to be Freemasons.

As some people on here think that it is a matter of no significance, I decided to research a bit further and found an article from 2013 in the Independent. Here are some extracts:

"Secret networks of Freemasons have been used by organised crime gangs to corrupt the criminal justice system, according to a bombshell Metropolitan Police report leaked to The Independent.

"Operation Tiberius, written in 2002, found underworld syndicates used their contacts in the controversial brotherhood to “recruit corrupted officers” inside Scotland Yard, and concluded it was one of “the most difficult aspects of organised crime corruption to proof against”.

"The report – marked “Secret” – found serving officers in East Ham east London who were members of the Freemasons attempted to find out which detectives were suspected of links to organised crime from other police sources who were also members of the society.

"Famous for its secret handshakes, Freemasonry has long been suspected of having members who work in the criminal justice system – notably the judiciary and the police."

The full article for those interested:

More recently, some extracts from an article in the Guardian last year:

"Reform in policing is being blocked by members of the Freemasons, and their influence in the service is thwarting the progress of women and people from black and minority ethnic communities, the leader of rank-and-file officers has said.

"Steve White, who steps down on Monday after three years as chair of the Police Federation, told the Guardian he was concerned about the continued influence of Freemasons.

"White took charge with the government threatening to take over the federation if it did not reform after a string of scandals and controversies.

"White told the Guardian: “What people do in their private lives is a matter for them. When it becomes an issue is when it affects their work. There have been occasions when colleagues of mine have suspected that Freemasons have been an obstacle to reform.

"White would not name names, but did not deny that some key figures in local Police Federation branches were Masons.


"Baker [Freemasons representative] said Freemasonry was open to all, the only requirement being “faith in a supreme being”. He said there were a number of police officers who were Masons and police lodges, such as the Manor of St James, set up for Scotland Yard officers, and Sine Favore, set up in 2010 by Police Federation members. One of those was the Met officer John Tully, who went on to be chair of the federation and, after retirement from policing, is an administrator at the United Grand Lodge of England."

Full article for those interested:

Day6 Thu 08-Feb-18 14:47:01

MY brother lives in a village and he reckons the WI and the Quilting Circle between them have more clout than the Spanish Inquisition. Nothing goes on without details being run by them first! grin

I too know masons who really are the salt of the earth, and if they want to roll their trouser legs up and greet fellow members with a silly handshake it doesn't worry me. I like transparency and would question 'secret' societies if they can bring influence to bear, but being open and accountable are the bywords of local government today. I think there are worse things to worry about.

Deedaa Thu 08-Feb-18 14:50:24

The lodges DH belonged to were definitely not secret. They also didn't seem to involve much back scratching, in fact nobody seemed to get much out of it except a night away from the wife and a reasonable meal. They tended to be groups of men with similar interests and did quite a bit of useful fundraising. DH eventually left when the lodge he joined after we moved house turned out to be a lot of boring old farts.

Fennel Thu 08-Feb-18 16:22:59

My Dad's father belonged to the local Mason's lodge. I remember seeing his leather pinny.There never seemed to be anything secretive or sinister about it.
I thought the Rotarians were another example of that kind of men's clubs.

M0nica Thu 08-Feb-18 16:28:54

The Freemasons do have women members, not many. I suspect we are all too busy to join such organisations.

I think once upon a time Freemasons did help each other and scratch each others backs but nowadays I think they are little different to Rotarians, WI members, members of the local golf club or any other organisation where like minded people get together for primarily social reasons.

Luckygirl Thu 08-Feb-18 16:34:20

The whole thing makes me want to puke. I am sure that there are masons and lodges who are entirely benign (just as there are some religions, or aspects thereof, that are benign) and others that are sinister.

My FIL was a mason and he was truly horrid - so that probably colours my thinking somewhat. He invited us to a "Womens Night" when he was worshipful master (worshipful, my arse!) and it was the most patronising crap you can imagine. He seemed puzzled that I was not beaming with great joy on being bestowed with this great honour. !

As long as there is back-scratching involved in any lodge, then those in public life and the public services should be banned from joining.

Eloethan Thu 08-Feb-18 16:39:03

I don't suppose Freemasons go round advertising the fact that there is a somewhat dubious side to the organisation of which they are a member.

I notice those whose relatives or friends have been part of the Masons and who feel that it is quite a benign organisation have studiously ignored the damning reports on this issue and the comments of Steve White, former chair of the Police Federation.

jura2 Thu 08-Feb-18 16:42:24

Totally agree Eloethan- anyone who is in Politics, police, Judiciary, or business that bid for public services contracts- should have to declare affiliation to FM.

There is a begnin, benevolent, side to FM- but there is also the very dark side. FM have to swear to put their Lodge and members above the Law of the Land - and surely anyone in the above services and trades, should have to declare.

jura2 Thu 08-Feb-18 16:43:20

No comparison to Rotary of Roundtable, etc- none whatsoever.

Fennel Thu 08-Feb-18 16:46:48

I just knew from experience you would soon be on this one jura.

jura2 Thu 08-Feb-18 17:46:20

So if just for Charity and- why not agree to disclose for all the above groups. Simple, no?

Tegan2 Thu 08-Feb-18 18:08:44

'I see that the Freemasons are complaining about being discriminated against. As someone points out here, how are they discriminated against when they're a secret society and we don't know who they are? ' Told the S.O. about this today and he chuckled and said someone should say 'hands up who feels discriminated against for being in a secret society'....GOTCHA!!

Eloethan Thu 08-Feb-18 18:14:48

Ha !

Wally Thu 08-Feb-18 18:53:45

I don't know a great deal about the freemasons but as a musician I did a lot of work in various lodges. The band of which I was a member was hired to do one of their annual dinners. All of a sudden there was a hullabaloo when some members names were not printed out and laid next to their places at the table. They would not sit down, so the band were asked if we would like to dine with the members. It was a wonderful meal finishing up with sherry trifle.

Wally Thu 08-Feb-18 19:05:16

Just a by the by but my Uncle Harry was a member of the Rotary Club and he was a lovely man.