ISSUE 23, October 2007

Quarterly Communication: Speech of the Pro Grand Master : Quarterly Communication
Grand Secretary: Exciting times ahead
Historic: Telford - Mason extraordinary
Travel: Cruising round Sicily
Samaritan: Helping the distressed
Younger Masons: The common bond
Jersey: Local Masons guard the Duke
   Classic car run: Down memory lane
International: Joseph Brant - a Masonic legend
Universities Scheme: The way ahead
Grand Chancellor: The importance of external relations
Education: Events : Understanding the symbols of the craft
Specialist Lodges: Australia link
Royal Arch: Why join the Royal Arch?
Lbrary & Museum: Major award for Library & Museum
MQ Signs off
Masonic Charities: Grand Charity : NMSF : RMBI : RMTGB
Letters, Book reviews, Gardening

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Seeing Red by Graham Poll, Harper Sport, £18.99. ISBN 9780007262823.
    It has become increasingly common for referees to hang up their whistle and then put pen to paper. This is hardly surprising in the wake of Pierluigi Collina’s hugely successful foray into publishing.
     Then came David Elleray’s account of how a top-flight official combined his work as a Harrow house master, followed by Jeff Winter’s rather more tedious account of his life in the middle. It was therefore with some pessimism that I picked up Graham Poll’s Seeing Red.
     In fact, whilst not a Pullitzer prize winner, this is a surprisingly entertaining behind the scenes foray into the pressures of life as a premiership referee. Controversial both on and off the pitch, the author is not afraid of recounting his experiences with managers, players and officials alike. Indeed he succeeds in injecting an easy humour into his narrative, which helps him describe what happened at last year’s World Cup when he performed his notorious three-card trick.
     A Premier League referee since 1991 and with ten years experience as an international referee, Graham Poll handled some of the toughest games in the Premiership involving Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea, as well as European Championships and World Cups – in total more than 1,500 matches.
     Not surprisingly, therefore, he has witnessed the worst of football’s excesses and its inherent greed, as well as its characters and glories. With such experience, he has a wealth of anecdotes and stories which make for interesting reading.
     For all those who enjoy the ‘beautiful game’, this is a must read as we learn about what really goes on between the players as they stand in the tunnel. Poll rarely lacks an opinion and it is this honesty that makes this book so compelling.

Freemasonry in Ulster: 1733-1813 by Dr Petri Mirala, Four Courts Press, Dublin, Hardback £45. ISBN 978 1 84682 056 4.
    To the modern Freemason, the outright involvement not just in politics by their Irish brethren of the 18th and 19th centuries – indeed actively engaging in revolution – will seem totally at odds with Masonic principles.
     But the place of Freemasonry in the social and political history of the British Isles has long been neglected. It is an area of research that requires to be looked at more seriously.
     Dr Petri Mirala, a Finn and graduate of Trinity College, Dublin, has made a superb study of the Irish Masonic movement in the turmoil that engulfed that country during that period.
     Catholics as well as Protestants were Masons, but sides were taken as the former set up organisations such as the Defenders and the United Irishmen, and the latter joined other Volunteer movements such as the Orange Order.
     The split in Irish Masonry with the formation of the Grand Lodge of Ulster in 1808 and its demise in 1813 is chronicled, as is the decision of the Catholic bishops to invoke Papal Bulls against Masonry, previously ignored by the clergy.
     Despite progress with Catholic emancipation after the scrapping of many discriminatory laws – a move supported by many Masonic Lodges – the exodus of Catholics from the Order began.
     As Dr Mirala points out: “There was no one interpretation among Irish Freemasons of what a Mason should be, whether an enlightened conspirator for the rights of man, a peaceful subject concerned with fraternal dinners and charity, or a loyal defender of the constitution. In short, the Masons of the 1790s were just as divided among themselves as Irishmen in general.”
     Despite its price, this book is worth every penny, putting Freemasonry into its proper social and political context in an Ireland whose divisions have lasted well into the 21st century, although Irish Freemasons today sit comfortably under one Grand Lodge of Ireland, based in Dublin.

John Jackson

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