The Cardiff Masonic Temple in Wales.
Our brethren in Great Britain are under fire once again. UK laws requiring Masons involved in the police and judiciary to publicly declare their Masonic membership were struck down as being discriminatory by the European Union Court of Human Rights back in 2009 (see this article from the Guardian about the UK rescinding their rules about it in the wake of the Court's decision).
Unfortunately, this issue crops up again and again in the UK, where allegations run rampant that Masonic police officers and others are somehow subverting justice because of their fraternal membership. Not that there's ever any proof.
The latest comes from South Wales. The South Wales Police and Crime Commissioner, Alun Michael, is arguing that it should be compulsory for all public servants - including police officers, council officials, and politicians - to declare their membership in Freemasonry, because he alleges it is a 'secret society'.
Michael is not new to this - he was First Secretary of the Welsh National Assembly back when the UK had these requirements nationwide, and he was a former Minister in the Home Office. He looks back on those halcyon days when he could flush out Masonic cops fondly. So, he's trying to resurrect the idea in Wales.
Yes, even though it's illegal in the EU.
From an article today on WalesOnline:
He said declaring membership of any society increases transparency and quells conspiracy theories.
“If members of a club or society have to disclose, it takes away any hidden agendas,” he said.
“If freemasons don’t disclose, you can get whisperings of wrongdoing. Declaring gets rid of all that.”
Public bodies all have different policies on staff or members declaring their membership of the masons.
In Westminster, MPs don’t have to disclose membership. In Cardiff Bay, AMs are expected to declare but no current member has done so.
In local authorities, the rules are unclear, with policies varying between authorities. Just 25 councillors across Wales have stated they are members.
Dyfed-Powys Police and Gwent Police have no requirement for staff to declare membership of the freemasons.
But both North Wales Police and South Wales Police operate a voluntary disclosure system.
South Wales Police told Y Byd ar Bedwar that two officers and three civilian support staff have declared membership whilst in North Wales, three sergeants and six constables have stated that they are freemasons.
Mr Michael said: “It would be best to have one common system for local authorities, police force and health boards. Only then can we ensure everybody is being treated equally.
The article today is unclear as to whether this would be voluntary, or a requirement for continued employment.
When will the British people get over their completely irrational distrust of Freemasonry? There has never been a provable case of a police officer or judge who let a brother Mason off the hook just because of their shared membership, despite all of the witch hunts conducted on the subject over the last four decades. Lots of the taxpayers money has been spent on these pointless investigations, and nothing ever comes of the effort.
Michael is a longtime Labour member, and is no stranger to stupid ideas. In 2010, he proposed that 14 year old children be given the right to vote, to improve turnout at elections.
According to the article, there are 13,000 Masons in Wales alone. I gently suggest that they contact Mr. Michael and let him know their feelings on the matter. His email address is: email@example.com and his phone number is: 01656 869366