Sunday People, 13th July 1986
POWER OF THE MASONS – MYTH OR A MENACE? (Sunday People, 13th July 1986)
It’s a bit like a Partridge in a Pear Tree: One Law Lord, four Lord Justices, 13 High Court Judges, [?] Circuit judges, two Royals, three MPs, 22 Lords and 99 lawyers, doctors, policemen and civil servants … with the odd bishop and canon thrown in for good measure.
This then is the membership list of the mildly-secret 1986 Masonic Year Book, the freemason’s hierarchy.
These pillars of society are only the tip of the iceberg however, the ones at the top who do not mind being identified, although the Year Book is supposed to be available only to other masons. Like the iceberg, the more formidable part is hidden beneath the surface.
There are somewhere between 500,000 and 800,000 masons out there in Britain today, divided between 3,350[?] lodges or branches. Nobody is quite sure how many there are because some masons are members of more than one lodge.
Everything they do IS secret. So secret in fact that one lodge cannot communicate with another. The only official link between them all is a quarterly newsletter sent out by the Grand Lodge.
But of course there is a lot of UNOFFICIAL communication. Secret signs[?], secret stances, secret handshakes (thumb pressing first knuckle for an apprentice, second knuckle for fellow, and third for a master mason).
Most people have heard the story about the defendant in the dock who stood a certain masonic way—left hand stiffly down the side, right had shielding the eyes from an indoor sun—in the hope it would get him a lighter sentence. Nobody is saying it did—but the seed of doubt is sown.
Take instead the case of North London police Chief Inspector Brian Woollard who claims he was put back in uniform after discovering masonic involvement in a local government fraud he was investigation in Islington.
Right or wrong, his allegation is not the important point here. What is important is that he could not ask for an inquiry into his allegations without running into freemasons.
Senior police officers, people in the Director of Public Prosecutions’ office, the then Scotland Yard chief Sir David McNee and Home Secretary Lord Whitelaw were all masons.
The essence of British justice is that it must be seen to be done.
Chief Insp Woollard, 22 years a detective and with seven commendations, had to petition the House of Commons last December to get what considered a fair hearing.
“I was removed from the inquiry, then from the company fraud department and CID by officers who were themselves freemasons,” he wrote in his petition.
His case is still rumbling on. Labour MP Austin Mitchell, who presented Chief Insp. Woollard’s petition to Parliament, last week wrote to Home Secretary Douglas Hurd calling yet again for an inquiry into the case.
Mr Mitchell believes there should be available to the public a national register of all people in authority who are freemasons.
“The present situation is very unhealthy,” he said. “Leon Brittan, the former Home Secretary, did ask whether it was compatible for people in senior offices also to be freemasons, which was a major step forward by Government, but even that did not go far enough.
“I’m not persecuting freemasons—some of my best friends are masons—but here is a secret organisation which needs to be more open.”
Mr. Woollard’s case has led to a carefully-worded directive from the current Yard chief Sir Kenneth Newman—who is NOT a freemason—to the 27,000 men in his force advising them that it is “unwise” for them to join or remain in the masonic movement.
Two other chief constables, James Anderton in Manchester and David Owen in North Wales, threw their weight behind Sir Kenneth’s directive.
But it is Mr. Anderton’s Manchester force which is now accused of being riddled with masons who are out to stop Stalker.
In an explosive book, The Brotherhood, author Stephen Knight claimed that 50[?] per cent of all Britain’s chief constables are masons.
The point is the organisation is so secretive it is virtually impossible to sort the fact from the fiction.
Various authors and journalists—usually the most critical of freemasonry because they loathe secrecy—have discovered that masons are strong in the Glasgow police force, which has its own lodge, also in British Airways, Granada TV, most major teaching hospitals, the Central Electricity Generating Board, the Post Office, British Telecom, the AA and the Church of England, which is currently carrying out its own investigation.
In the last 25 years 15 lord mayors of London have been masons.
A past Director of Public Prosecutions, Sir Norman Skelhorn, has been one, as had the late Lord Widgery, a former Lord Chief Justice, and former Solicitor General Sir Ian Percival.
Other top people named in the Masonic Year Book are:
Lord Templeman, one of the law lords who blocked the GLC when it wanted to give £25 million to voluntary bodies shortly before it was disbanded; Lord Belstead, a junior minister at the Agriculture Department; Lord Caradon, Foreign Minister in Harold Wilson’s Government; the Earl of Derby, president of Merseyside Chamber of Commerce; Lord Townshend, chairman of Anglia Television.
MPs include Sir Ian Percival (Con) Southport, Lt-Col Neil Thorne (Con) Ilford South, Sir Gerard Vaughan (Con) Reading East and former health minister.
Now it’s not illegal to be a mason. Prince Philip is one, although he no longer practices and advised Prince Charles against joining.
Eleven members of the Queen’s household are members including past surgeons and a former chaplain.
Prince Michael of Kent is a mason and the Duke of Kent is Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of Great Britain.
He wants masons to be less secretive and was the driving force behind a permanent exhibition which he officially opened last week at London’s Freemasons’ Hall.
The exhibition tells the 300-year story of “modern” freemasonry and emphasises its good works and charitable deeds.
It does NOT explain why women are not allowed to be masons – and why consequently women do not make it to the top in companies with strong masonic influence.
Or why small town businessmen find they have to become masons to win contracts.
Or why grown men are so frightened to admit: “Yes I’m a mason.”
What have they got to hide?