(At least) five of EDDC’s councillors are also Freemasons

Ian Hall – Axminster Rural and Axminster DCC
Ian Chubb – Newbridges and Whimple and Blackdown DCC
Tom Wright – Budleigh
John Humphreys – Exmouth Littleham
Andrew Moulding – Axminster Town

http://www.devonlive.com/news/devon-news/dozens-devon-councillors-are-freemasons-342713

That’s a clean sweep for Axminster which must give the boys plenty to talk about at their Lodge(s). And all of them Conservative majority councillors wearing many hats in many posts, both at DCC and EDDC.

And that’s only the ones who declare it!

Why is it a problem? This very old article (1966) is still pertinent today:

Freemasons who sat on a council’s planning committee have been found guilty of malpractice after a lengthy inquiry by the local-government ombudsman.

The investigation into their activities on the council at Canvey Island, Essex, began after complaints that they had given a fellow lodge member the go-ahead to build a leisure complex. …”

The ombudsman said:

“Freemasonry is generally viewed with suspicion among non-Masons not least because of the secrecy attached to the `craft’ … in my view, knowing that a councillor and a planning applicant are Freemasons and members of the same lodge, members of the public could reasonably think that such a private and exclusive relationship might influence the member when he came to consider the planning application.”

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/in-a-small-town-where-the-tories-and-masons-hold-sway-1312466.html
(where you can also see details of other councils and councillors in Devon).

Though, nowadays, we don’t have a national standards board or a “National Code of Local Government Conduct” – both were abolished by national government some years ago.

Leaving each council to decide on its own standards – hhhmmmmm!

6 thoughts on “(At least) five of EDDC’s councillors are also Freemasons

  1. What I want to know is why there are no non-Conservative Freemasons. If Freemasonry was truly only a charitable institution, then we might expect there to be a broad base of members including non-Conservative councillors.

    It seems to me that there are several possible reasons for this:

    1. Freemasonry is actually run by the Conservative elite as an elite club for Conservatives.

    2. Any society’s culture will inevitably recruit new members who share those cultural values – so with a preponderance of Conservative members, other Conservatives will feel comfortable in their company whilst non-Conservatives won’t.

    3. Because Freemasonry is open by invitation only – you can’t apply like you can to e.g. a golf club – then Conservatives will naturally tend to invite other Conservatives.

    4. Non-conservatives are too sensible to want to be Freemasons.

    There may be other possible explanations which I haven’t thought of. But whilst the above possible reasons vary, I don’t personally find any of them very attractive – they all tend to create a Conservative secret society where dodgy deals can easily take root, and because of the secrecy oaths required to join, membership seems to me to be entirely contrary to the Openness principle of Lord Nolan’s Seven Principles of Public Life ( https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-7-principles-of-public-life/the-7-principles-of-public-life–2 ) “which are the basis of the ethical standards expected of public office holders”.

    Like

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