The Home Office recently published a
review, undertaken on its behalf by barrister
Kenneth Hamer, into the “selection
and appointment process of independent
members of Police Authorities”.
Not surprisingly, these days, the
subject of possible Masonic membership
of candidates was raised. Mr Hamer invited
Grand Lodge to comment. The Grand
Secretary wrote, giving Grand Lodge’s
policy on declarations of interest and the
Craft’s objection to the singling out of
Freemasons for forced declaration.
In his report, Mr Hamer quoted the
Grand Secretary’s letter at length and stated:
“I do not consider it necessary, or indeed
desirable, in all the circumstances to single out
Freemasonry for declaration by applicants applying
for appointment as independent members of police
authorities. Dr Moore [Chief Executive, NHS
Appointments Commission] told me that
NHS Trusts do not ask for a declaration of
interests such as Freemasonry.”
How nice to see an independent
reviewer giving the government sensible
advice! It is to be hoped that they accept
and apply it.
MQ web site
An MQ web site is being launched which
will contain the editorial of this and the
previous issue. Extracts from other back
issues will be put on the site in due course.
Because of the enormous postal costs
involved, distribution of the magazine
to members of our Lodges overseas had
to be suspended. The web site will give
them access to the magazine, and will also
make it available to the general public who
surf the web.
The new web address is:
It was heartening to hear the Pro Grand
Master, the Marquess of Northampton,
inform brethren at Grand Lodge that
membership figures are better than they
have been for many years.
He revealed the encouraging statistic
of an increase of 286 in the number of
initiations to 8,391, which is 3.5% up on
last year. Apart from a small increase of 18
in 2001 this is the first annual increase in
initiations since 1988.
Figures are also encouraging for resignations
and exclusions – 487 lower than in 2002.
Overall membership of the Craft has
contracted by less than half a per cent to
319,725, while the number of individual
Masons has risen by 0.7% to just over 274,000.
What was revealing in his remarks was
that Provinces with an active policy of
reducing the number of their Lodges in line
with a reduction in members are starting to
report increases in initiates and reductions
in the level of resignations and exclusions.
There are genuine signs of growth in
many Provinces, which it is hoped can
Lord Northampton said he wanted to see
Lodge nights become a more enjoyable and
meaningful experience. Freemasonry, he
added, must adapt to fit the pressured lives
of its newer members, bearing in mind that
an initiate is likely to be in his late forties
when he becomes a Master Mason.
The Pro Grand Master particularly likes
going to meetings where the work is shared
among different members of the Lodge.
One step in modernisation is that the
Board of General Purposes has proposed
measures to lessen the time taken to ballot
for the Master and Treasurer, by allowing it
to be by a show of hands if there is only one
candidate and no-one objects.