ISSUE 9, April 2004

The Duke of Wellington: A Brother in arms
Quarterly Communication: Address of the Grand Master and Report of the Board of General Purposes
Life with the Stars: Masons and famous people
Hall Stone Jewel: Cyril Spackman, designer
Travel: Jamaica
Grand Charity: Annual Report and Accounts
Masonic stamps: Masonry on stamps
Library & Museum of Freemasonry: Antients and Moderns go on-line
Masonic education: Events for Freemasons
Masonic charities: The continuing work
Bowel cancer: How the Grand Charity is helping
Royal Arch: Russia and Eastern Europe
Richard Eve: A former Grand Treasurer
Book reviews

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John Jackson

Freemasonry and local government
The Standards Board monitors the register of local government councillors’ interests. On 12 January they issued a press release stating that as Freemasons, through their Lodge subscriptions, paid into the Grand Charity, Freemasonry was therefore ‘a body directed to charitable purposes.’ As such, councillors who are Freemasons had to register their membership in the Register of Interests.
       John Hamill, Director of Communications at Grand Lodge, and Rodney Pitham, Information Officer for the Province of Warwickshire, challenged that view. They argued that it was not the individual who paid to the Grand Charity, but the Lodge – part of the reason why tax cannot be claimed back on the payment.
       According to John Hamill: “Freemasonry itself is not a charity, and whilst it is hoped that members act charitably, we do not direct them to charitable purposes. As a result of this challenge the press release was removed from the Standards Board web site”. He adds that the advice on their web site was to be revised, and “the Standards Board has asked to meet with us to further their understanding of Freemasonry.
       “Our advice remains what it was when the statutory code was introduced: all Master Masons are members of the Grand Charity, with the right to attend and vote at its meetings.
       “Therefore, if a councillor is a Master Mason, he must register his membership of the Grand Charity, and of any other charity (Masonic or non-Masonic) in which he has voting rights or a management position.” Mr Hamill says that Freemasonry, Grand Lodge and private Lodges are not charities or bodies directed to charitable purposes. “Therefore, in our view, membership of Freemasonry is not registerable.”
       This shows how patience and quiet, behind the scenes diplomacy, can work. Also, there is a fundamental principle at stake: whilst Freemasons who are councillors are happy to declare their membership as part of a general declaration of all interests, they are totally opposed to being singled out. It is to the credit of the Standards Board they have been prepared to listen, and have set a standard for all other public authorities – national and local – to follow.

New-look MQ
How time flies! MQ is now two years old and this is the ninth issue since our launch in April 2002. It has now been decided to provide more Masonic editorial, and this is reflected in this issue.
       Only travel, gardening and book reviews now remain of non-Masonic features, and it is hoped that the increased Masonic content will find favour with readers.

Translators wanted
With modern modes of communication and the growth of new Grand Lodges, the Grand Secretary and his office are experiencing language problems.
       The Grand Secretary would be delighted to hear from any brethren who are fluent in a European language (particularly Eastern European languages) who could occasionally help with translations of correspondence and documents.
       Please contact the Grand Secretary’s office at Freemasons’ Hall, telephone 020 7831 9811.

Calling Concorde veterans
Middlesex Province is trying to arrange for a Concorde to be returned to Brooklands Museum, Weybridge, and is anxious to contact any Mason who was connected with the supersonic airliner. Ring the Provincial Office on 020 8891 3300.