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Ref. my post of 11.46 that should read unsucessfully trying to get Chris Maines elected.

"Who said that ? Dawn Primarolo or Michae Meacher back in the Bennite 80s ?"

hehehe...Ive been called and compared to many things, but left wing Socialists have never appeared on that list.

No James Maskell you were not being compared with Primarolo or Meacher - the analogy was with those in the Bennite 80s who thought the electorate wanted much stronger doses of what was turning them off.

In other words - if people like Maude continue all Conservative seats will be marginal and the LibDems will be the kingmakers after the next General Election.................

The strategy was to protect southern seats from LibDem decapitation strategy but in fact it seems that it is making safe Conservative seats more perilous.

To say people now want Super-Strength Blu-Lab is a typical response from the ideologically motivated and signs of a clear destructive loop

This is a tragedy. Selling out to Eurobureaucracy's insatiable demands and now careering off to the left has split the party - UKIP got nearly a quarter of the Official Tory vote. Even under Ming, Bromley Lib Dems were not attracted to Mr Cameron's Eton-guilt politics. The Cameroon appeal has been shown up to be limited to the public schoolboys and girls of the media village.

Real cutting back of the public sector and taxes, real freedom in education, health, housing and pensions; and a large-scale confrontation with European institutional failure is the way to go.

This pathetic Cameroon electoral performance is giving Britain to Gordon having endorsed his principles. What a disaster - but it is all going to be spun away for another few years.

I am afraid Henry it seems to me you are far less a Conservative then I am in the way you take every opportunity there is to talk up the extremists of the right and every opportunity to talk down the Conservative Party.
My advice to you if you like the right-wing nutters and looney tunes of UKIP so much then why don`t you sod off and join them.
There loss will be our gain!

Picking a Europhile to replace Eric Forth was madness.

When you add the Masons, not being really local, the other jobs, the accusations of racism, etc. and the fact it was seen as a certain Tory win, it is not surprising the Tory vote stayed at home.

Christina Speight "We'll only vote for him if we can be persuaded that there's some point in doing so. We don't want another New Lab-Lib-Dem"

If you dont vote for him, you will get a New-Lab-Lib Dem for certain.

Im not entirely sure if we are agreeing with each other or not TomTom! What do you mean by "people like Maude"...modernisers? Im not following the thought very well.


Pay no attention to Jack Stone's comments. He is a troll who delights in trying to wind people up. Although at times he may make reasonable comments he has a history of posts which are over the top and are clearly designed to antagonise. Telling traditionalists to "sod off" is a particular favourite.

Thank goodness it wasn't an A-lister chosen, else that really would have put the stoppers on DC's flagship 'change' policy. Many lessons need to be learnt, not least concerning the arrogance of local associations who think they can go it alone. Cameron is a vote-winner, the decision to distance the campaign from him was bizarre. Hopefully the bad result will encourage other local associations not to do the same in the future.

Back to your childish, immature, personal abuse. Cameroonism has just failed spectacularly to attract votes, yet the alternative - tackling the country's problems with exciting policies - is derided by you as being right-wing. You have drunk deeply of New Labour KoolAid I fear Squire.

Im not entirely sure if we are agreeing with each other or not TomTom! What do you mean by "people like Maude"...modernisers? Im not following the thought very well.

I don't know what Maude is..............I just find his persona and his avowed intentions unappealing. The Conservative Party had a presentational problem and some bizarre policies which had clung like barnacles to its traditional hull.

It does rather appear as if Maude has opened the seacocks and turned off the bilge pumps and might well capsize the boat.

The path to gaining a presence in Northern England is steep; to make seats marginal in the South is a clear sign that the next election will not be a great success for the Conservatives as noone is quite clear on which course they are sailing

Jack has had his wish: having told the core vote to sod off, they did - to be precise, 10,000 of them seem to have stayed at home. A really smart strategy which should be repeated at a General Election.

Shouldn't you be pleased, Jack? Your guys nearly took B&C from the Tories.


Have a read of Iain Dale's Diary.

" I didn't see all the literature at the by-election but the pieces that I did see seemed to be too reminiscent of the literature we used to use under Michael Howard's leadership. David Cameron is our main electoral asset, yet we didn't make the most of him in the literature. There were rumours that the local Party had too great an influence on the campaign literature. If true, that was a mistake. We didn't stick to the CHANGE brand. When I was delivering letters on Saturday I was rather appalled to read the text. It was straight 'dog whistle' appeal stuff. "

So Cameroonism failed to attract votes?

I've no idea why our voters stayed at home (as did most Labour ones) but IMO Cameron's message wasn't tested. So we don't know if it was the same old Tory campaign at variance with the Change message or the Change message that lost. In local elections the LDs came to a halt and Labour lost - Cameron's campaign won (and brought the voters out in Bromley).

What we do know is that B&C following Dunfermline, Moray etc should be a wake up call. CCHQ should live up to its new name and by-elections should be a priority.

Eric Forth won 51% of the vote, campaigning on solidly right wing issues.

I doubt if emphasising the "Change" message would have done us any favours in this campaign.

FWIW I think our problems in by-elections are organisational, rather than being too right/left wing.

Membership of a lodge is a symptom of a personality that s not compatible with being an MP. The public is not so blind to this as the party."

Only someone who has no idea about freemasonry would make that comment. If anything the traditions of masonry with its commitment to service and support for those less fortunate is exactly what is needed in more politicians.

Whether or not the local association drafted the literature (hard to believe as that would be one of the first times CCHQ has allowed an association total autonomy during a by-election, that fact is we live in a media world where people are cognisant of and influenced not by the scrap paper put through their doors but by the direction the leader of the party is going in.

Everyone knows of the Cameron project. The electorate yesterday didn't wake up and think I'm not voting Conservative because the local party has fought a campaign not quite in line with David Cameron's project.

Now is the time to shelve the agenda politics and gestures and actually get something tangible and positive to say on the issues that really matter to people. Then and only then will be see good polling figures translate into votes.

Please don't get carried away by the LibDems and the huge amount of junk mail they delivered.

They only got 800+ more votes than when they stood in 2005. Their campaign was not a victory - it was a disaster - they did not achieve 5,000 or 10,000 more votes.

Complacent Conservatives stayed at home in their thousands.

The UKIP threat was non existent - and even when they chuck £75,000 at a campaign can only achieve a pathetically small vote (and why did UKIP lie to the media and claim 22% of the vote when they only got 8%?)

Lesson to learn = LibDems can motivate their supporters to come out and vote - why can't the Conservatives motivate their voters in the same way?

Henry Cook writes "Cameron is a vote-winner" . Eh? The party lost half its vote though the turnout was down by a third. Some vote winner.

The LibDems INCREASED their vote in a 33% lower poll!! Now THAT's what I call winning votes.

The core Tory voter will not vote for a wishy-washy me-too cuddly Wet. They'll just sit on their hands until somebody offers them a Tory policy to vote for.

Re Hmmmm:

Steve: Did you go to Bromley to help?

Yes I did as I've helped in most by-elections and all general elections in the past 20 years. But so what if I hadn't?! What has that pointless question to do with my view that CCHQ are inept at running by-election campaigns?!!

This is the best result the Tories could have got. We still won the seat and the Lib Dems will not now get rid of Ming. My real concern was that they do terribly and ditch Ming in favour of one of their more capable and more appealing younger types.

We are still well ahead in the polls, the local elections saw the Lib Dems collapse and Ming will stay as leader. It is a win, win, win for us Tories.

Andy ... are you on illegal substances ?

Good Steve - Im glad - however I suspect quite a lot of the criticism on here is from people who didnt bother to show up at all.

Isn't there something just slightly concerning about the 'DC is our best electoral asset' line? What happens when he's gone or past his sell-by date? We end up in exactly the mess Labour is in now.

And isn't there something slightly worrying about politicians assuming the voters are just stupid - which is what some of this smacks of. Maybe we just think we have a God-given right to govern the mere mortals who will vote for a pretty face. And maybe one day we'll reap the rewards of our 'dumbing down of the electorate' as we descend into anarchy and mob-rule.

That's quite a lot about B&C, but there were two parliamentary elections. What about the Tory candidate coming fifth in South Wales?

It would be better if we didn't have to worry about UKIP we need to slay that dragon. Just as important coming well behind in Wales means we have a lot of work to do there. We need seats in all parts of the country. The good news is that there is probably 3 years to election. Assuming that we actually start fighting now. If we leave it then another Labour administration. We should always start the next campaign one day after the previous election, well we need a short holiday.

This was the first by-election in years that the Lib Dems did not plaster the area with their "LIB DEMS WINNING HERE" posters - Why? They wanted our traditional voters to think the seat was "in the bag" and either protest (UKIP vote up) or stay away.

On the streets of Bromley, the traditional tory voter struck me as disheartened about Britain today - of course they were - we all are!

In my days in Bromley I was heartened by the 20 year old and the working mum who pledged us their vote. These were people who felt that Conservatives are focusing on issues that matter to them. For these voters it did not matter that we had no golden solution to their problems - it was enough that we understood the problem and were discussing possible solutions.

We need to listen to the protest voters and understand their concerns, but to move forward, we must follow the aspirations of the voters who gave Bob their mark for positive reasons.

Subliminal BBC Bias?

I've just watched the 10 O'Clock news from Friday night and watched Jeremy Vine's package on the You Gov poll. Elsewhere in the package the traditional party colours are used. But when the latest You Gov poll was discussed, the BBC techie that loaded the digital presentation up couldn't help themselves - Con was red, Lab was blue - making it look as though Labour was ahead unless you paid attention to the party labels on the bar chart!

Of course I could be overreacting...

I do concur with most people on this board that better organisation is needed and a set of values needs to be clarified, but give Cameron some time and some credit for lifting us in the polls from the 1997-2005 stagnant value of 31%.

"The core Tory voter will not vote for a wishy-washy me-too cuddly Wet. They'll just sit on their hands until somebody offers them a Tory policy to vote for."
Well Christina, if all you "core voters" sit on your hands, then that is the best way to get a Wishy-washy me-too cuddly wet but of the malign left wing variety. Any conservative is better than Labour/Lib-Dem surely???

He has been the leader of the party for how long? 6 months? Is there no loyalty left? He hasn't even revealed the bulk of policies, yet people have already made up their mind. Maybe some loyalty during the consolidation period? Conservative policies always had appeal, it was the brand that was damaged, which I think Cameron is addressing, so for God's sake cut him some slack.

As for UKIP don't make me laugh. Masquarading as patriots on a right wing ticket the only thing they achieve is a bigger number of Labour/Lib-Dem MPs by splitting the right wing vote.

Sorry, I had to get it off my chest

"As for UKIP don't make me laugh. Masquarading as patriots on a right wing ticket the only thing they achieve is a bigger number of Labour/Lib-Dem MPs by splitting the right wing vote."

Excuse the short memories, but I vividly remember sitting in a meeting just 12 months ago with many Tory supporters, MP's etc who all accepted the Tory party had a nasty, right-wing, poison brand.

12 months is a very long time in politics and ukip is also about to undergo a leadership election, which is why moderate centre-left progressives like myself can see the huge similarities between the 2005 Tories and the 2006 UKIP.

I can tell you, the task of shedding the Tory Party of this negative image is a lot harder than for a smaller party, but the polls now show how achieveable it is. If you write of change in ukip, you are in effect accepting that the change in the Tories in not real, but I do not believe that.

Cameron deserves a lot of credit for his work so far, but he'll never be able to deliver if his members like yourself cannot move on from personal insults and actually "be the change" too.

With all due respect Chad, you're talking balls. There's nothing moderate or centre-left or progressive about UKIP and the election of Nigel Farage or David Campbell-Bannerman as leader is not going to change that.

Yes, I completely agree with you Daniel, that was the whole point.

12 months ago, the Tory party was not progressive either, it was viewed as a nasty right-wing party. The Tory party's own research admitted that it had a "poison brand" (their words not mine).

However, where you are completely wrong (and I assume for partisan reasons) is refusing to accept that there is a very similar interest in modernisation and change.

I saw it last year with the Tories who looked dead in the water, an out-of-touch bunch of nasty right-wingers and I can see it with UKIP. I can tell you, there are a growing number of modernisers in ukip too.

I know you don't want to here it, but let's deal in facts. UKIP now has a very similar perception as the Tories in 2005.

The Conservatives lost ten thousand votes because twenty per cent of those who voted at the last election simply thought the party were so certain of winning they didn`t bother to vote.
The way to win the next election is by following the agenda David Cameron is setting out and by following the best leader we have had since Margaret Thatcher. It is not going to be wion by barnstorming back to ranting about immigration, Europe and the other hobby horses of the extreme right.
We need to convince people we have changed anf the best way in my opinion of doing that is to take the right-wing nutters in the party and outside on and say we no longer stand for there narrow attitudes, prejudicies and out of date attitudes and want the Conservative Party to reflect todays Britain not the Britain of the nineteen fifties.

..I should add as well Daniel, I received similar abuse from centre-lefties (I come from a working-class Labour household and my in-laws are Lab/Lib lefties too) last June for being a progressive and seeking to join the "nasty right-wing Tories".

It's amazing what a difference a year can make!

I think people also stayed away because they were sick of it by the end of the campaign.

Well Chad, I used the word masquarade not because of the image, but because I do believe that for all the noise, they are just a pressure group, and higlighting the problems of too much European integration can be achieved without splitting the right wing vote. Surely if they do hold sensible center right views the results of their actions has exactly the opposite effect i.e. split the vote and get Lab/Lib MPs.

With all due respect I disagree with Christina, as I do believe that any Conservative is better than no Conservative.

I totally agree with you re. your view about the [damaged] brand.
Our policies had been proven to work but in polls, people would distance themselves from them as soon as hearing they were told these were Conservative party policies.
In fact after re-reading my post I don't think we were in disagreement at all. If, as I believe, UKIP are a one issue party then if they rebrand, what would be left? A diluted version of the Conservative Party?

I am prepared to give David Cameron time, because I do believe that we will come up with good policies.

"If, as I believe, UKIP are a one issue party then if they rebrand, what would be left? A diluted version of the Conservative Party?"

Hi Matthews,

LoL :-)

Well many are arguing that Cameron's Conservatism is just diluted Blairism, but digs aside, you see, any argument against ukip succeeding from a progressive path is an equal argument against the Tories doing the same. It doesn't work.

The success the Tories have seen from talking progressive is not an USP, it can be easily replicated. It's good but too easy to negate.

Cameron quite rightly identified that parties do not have to espouse polar opposite views. However he, like Blair before him is having difficulty winning round the troops to make the change real.

Of course it is a very difficult task changing decades of entrenched views, and thus, it is less difficult to turn around a much smaller party as only a minor change in membership would effectively achieve the change.

The question is, if UKIP adopted a progressive agenda and resulted in a positive image like the Cam Cons, that in itself would have removed many of the barriers that are currently stopping people from switching to UKIP.

So if there were two very similar modern, progressive small c conservative parties, one committed to eu withdrawal and the other against, I can see that hurting only one of them.

Of course, the benefit of the fused approach is that it appeals to Libs and Labs too, so it is not two parties fighting over the same territory but four similar looking and sounding parties with important differences in policy.

If all parties look the same, then image will be negated and policy differences will shine through.

However, a quick reailty check; ukip have not made that decision to adopt a progressive path, and they are more than likely to shoot themselves in the foot and miss this opportunity. However, with this upcoming leadership election there is a faint chance, so if they grab it, then can make a similar turn around as the Tories have.

I'm not betting on it though, but I am fighting for it.

"Well many are arguing that Cameron's Conservatism is just diluted Blairism"

Well Blair had much more time to come up with "recycled or just reworded" Tory policies, so I do not think that is bad!
Labour had not reversed union laws
Labour had not nationalised the privatised companies
Labour had decided to push for more independence for schools, and was it not for a "communist" revolt on their back benches, they would have produced quite a good Bill (They should have used the Tory votes first time around)
So policy wise that is not an indictment.
If your comment reflects to the so called style over substance, well it is part of the rebranding rather than anything else - 6 months only remember?

The point about UKIP is that they are a far smaller party and as far as "perception/image inertia" they would be a lot easier to turn around.

If Labour could turn around their image in their early 90s from a party of "communist thieves" then any change of image should be possible.

Just as the Winter of Discontent faded into memory so will the Black Wednesday.

The point being that Europe is not as big an issue as people might believe. As long as the pound is not dropped or something on that scale. Therefore for UKIP, as I maintain a single issue party, if they do have right wing policies/principles, should have campained to raise the issue of Europe until the profile reaches the critical mass when ALL parties stand up and take notice, rather than splitting the right wing vote. Because apart from "Let's leave EU now" I can't think of another UKIP specific policy.

And as far as I can tell UKIP are not even perceived as a nasty party.

Of course UKIP aren't perceived as nasty. They are perceived, as you point out Matthew, as a single issue party as that is what they are.

However, a majority of people in the country would I suspect support their single issue. I would, but don't vote UKIP as I realise that to do so would split the Tory vote.

UKIP's supporters are by nature Conservatives. Sadly, they feel as let down by us over the EU as by NuLab - and with good reason. It is the Tories that joined the EU, signed the Single European Act, and the Mastricht Treaty. It is a party that still puts failed and discredited Europhiles such as Clarke and Heseltine in positions of power. If the Tories would adopt the UKIP approah to the EU, we would get nearly all their votes overnight.
Indeed the raison d'etre for UKIP would dissapear. A huge vote winner for us.

Sadly, of course, it won't happen.

"Because apart from "Let's leave EU now" I can't think of another UKIP specific policy."

Yes, I agree Matthew. UKIP's policy is EU withdrawal. That is 100% clear. Of course they have others, but they can't make up their mind whether they are an eu withdrawal pressure group or a political party. They've been around for 13 years, have no MP's, made zero gains in the latest local elections and eu withdrawal is no nearer. Not a success.

But despite that confusion, despite being a confused, organisational shambles, they still received 600,000+ votes in the general election. That is a useful base of firm support to build on.

Now is time for them to move on and stop focussing on the journey (eu withdrawal) and focus on the destination (what they would do).

However, there are an increasing number of voices within the party calling for the formation (perhaps working with BetterOffOut) of a spin-off eu withdrawal pressure group to leave the political party itself to focus on the other issues, whilst also being the vehicle to deliver the withdrawal.

That's why I have set up ukiphome, to push for and promote the voices of change and you will see an increasing number of local chairman, activists etc writing articles about everything but the eu.

"And as far as I can tell UKIP are not even perceived as a nasty party."
I agree, they are not nasty but they are a bit of a joke, that being the feedback one activist reported during his B&C campaigning.

Yes, they've got their fruitcakes, but promisingly, they also have an increasing number of modernisers calling for change and the reason I believe it has a chance of success is that the call for success is the opposite to what has happened with the Tories in that it is coming from the bottom up, not the top down.

As Jon notes, fortunately the Tories will never steal the UKIP eu withdrawal policy, but ukip could converge on the new Tory approach. The difference will seem small, but it would be fundamental.

The upcoming leadership election is as vital to ukip as the Tory one was last year.

If the Tories would adopt the UKIP approah to the EU, we would get nearly all their votes overnight. Indeed the raison d'etre for UKIP would dissapear. A huge vote winner for us.

Would that be the "stop the world, we want to get off" approach, or the "we don't agree with the European Parliament, but we'll take every allowance we can get and not represent our consituents" approach?

The Conservatives, even if we wanted to, would not beat UKIP by trying to be tougher than them on the EU. That is their raison d'etre. Mainstream party offers EU withdrawl? UKIP nutters offer scorched earth policy against France (lawyers note - tongue in cheek)...

And btw, you don't mention how many moderate votes we might lose.

UKIP (for the 200th time of my saying it on this blog) is our opposition - however much the EU and it's insitutions need reform, I don't want to pander to the idiots who parked an armoured personnel carrier in front of our conference centre this Spring, I want to BEAT them.

"UKIP (for the 200th time of my saying it on this blog) is our opposition"

(adopts Michael Winner voice)
Calm down dear, it's only a blog!

Hi Richard,
I'm an internationalist, opposed to regional private members clubs that carve up regional power bases for their own benefit. I'd love to see the eu reformed to protect nation state status and cede more power to international orgs but I don't believe it is going to happen.

There are internationalists in all the parties (yes even in the LibDems) but they are few in number unfortunately.

Of the three, internationalist, regionalist or isolationist, it is hard to disagree that ukip seem to fall into the last group, but their unequivocal pledge also matches the aims of the first.

So now it is time for the internationalists to stage a reverse take-over! We'll keep the existing support and be able to build on it ;-)

There are internationalists in all the parties

Sorry, can't resist, but - that must be pretty convenient for you, seeing as you'll soon have been round all of them!

I'm starting to wonder if this is some kind of form of political Tourette's with me...

:-) LoL

No, attacking the man not the argument is something I have got used to from you Dicky.

..I love the way you and Iain Dale constantly have a go at me for changing, whilst ignoring that your own party has had 5 leaders in just 9 years!

It will take me some time to achieve that level of indecision! ;-)

Firstly, please don't call me Dicky - even my friends don't, they know better than that, so I'm really not sure why my opponents would think being patronising is a good idea.

Secondly - you're changing parties, I'm working along with the leadership to change the Party - it's a very different proposition.

Finally, in the interests of keeping things civilised, I have a feeling we should now halt this conversation here before the Editor locks this thread!! I shall not reply further on this thread.

I agree, end of comments, but at least I know that every time you attack me not the issues in the future, I just need to call you Dicky, Dicky! ;-)

Mark Fulford posted:

"Membership of a lodge is a symptom of a personality that s not compatible with being an MP."

Really? So Winston Churchill and Willie Whitelaw weren't fit to be MP's. (Both Masons). Narrow minded and biggoted attitudes like yours Mark are abhorent. Few things get me really angry, but you have succeeded. I am proud to be a Freemason - an organisation that contributes HUGE amounts of money to charitable causes and is a true force for good in this world.

Freemasons are exactly the people that we do want as candidates.

Your attitude smacks of conspiracy theory loonies. What's your problem, get black-balled did you?


It is a false argument that because a respectable person has done something, that something is respectable. Even so, I’m happy to deal with Churchill and Whitelaw (just don't expect me to knock-down every MP mason that you can drag out).

Willie Whitelaw replied to the researcher Martin Short that "I have never been an active Mason since I entered the House of Commons in 1955." He obviously realised that being a Freemason was incompatible with politics.

Churchill’s membership is the cause of much debate. The Churchill Society is adamant that he resigned in 1912 and that Freemasons claim him for PR reasons. Surely not! Your Grand Secretary says that Churchill was a member for very many years, rarely attended meetings and was not a lifelong member. The dispute is therefore over when an inactive member resigned, with the Grand Secretary providing no alternative date.

As to me being blackballed... having written this I’m sure I would be! An ex-Commissioner of the Met wrote "The discerning officer will probably consider it wise to forego the prospect of pleasure and social advantage in Freemasonry so as to enjoy the unreserved regard of all those around him." I think this is good advice. I would never want any suspicion about how my success and advancement was achieved, even if suspicions of nepotistic back-scratching are loony.

I’m never going to knock charity, even when it comes from surprising places like Hell’s Angels. But Jon, I find it hard to imagine that most Freemasons join for the opportunity to do charitable work. There are simpler ways!

You see it as a great honour to be chosen to be a Freemason. I see that honour as vanity at the expense of transparency and suspicion. Being transparent and above suspicion is essential for an MP.

I can't think of any aspect of freemasonry which is incompatible with public service in general, and being an MP in particular.

It's noteworthy that those governments which are most hostile to freemasonry are those of the extreme right and left, or else made up of religious fundamentalists, to whom the masonic philosophy of political and religious tolerance is anathema.

I really can't understand why some people take against freemasonry.I know a few and they seem decent public spirited people.As I understand it the Hospice movement largely relies on Masonic support for its continued existance.A worthy cause indeed.
PS I'm not a mason.

Thank you, Sean. Never forget that Hitler imprisoned Freemasons alongside the other people that he oppressed.

Masonry teaches honesty, tolerance, a loyalty to one's country, and general morality. If any of these are incompatible with being an MP, then frankly we are in big trouble.

"If any of these are incompatible with being an MP"

Perhaps they are.


I agree that it would be pointless to start naming all the MPs who have been Freemasons. Suffice to say that many have - both good and bad MPs, as well as US Presidents.

'Social advantage in Freemasonry'? No more than the social advantage in belonging to some Golf Clubs, Gentleman's Clubs or indeed some Churches.

I do see it as an 'honour' to be invited to become a Freemason. Many do join for exactly the reasons that you dismiss - the opportunity to put something back into society. Malcolm's point about hospices is very valid. We don't shout about the good works that are done, we just get on and do it. Sadly, because we are perceived as clandestine, we are immediately pilloried. We are NOT a secret society, we are a society that has some secrets - basically confined to means of recognition of other members. It is a society steeped in historical tradition, which admits any race, creed, or religion. I cannot understand why you claim that accepting membership is 'vanity'. I have been a member for over 14 years, and have never gained ANY financial or career benefits. Indeed, my employer is unaware of my membership.

It's not entirely selfless to be sure. It is a wonderful social organisation, in which I have been priviledged to meet some interesting people who are now valued friends. A bit like belonging to a Rugby Club, or a debating society, or any such organisation where people enjoy getting together, chatting, and having a few drinks.

Would you extend your argument to excluding members of the Lions, or even the Women's Institute from being MPs? That would be the logical conclusion of what you are saying.

I respectfully suggest that you learn more Freemasonry before knocking it so strongly. If you are genuinely interested in increasing your knowledge, I will happily direct you to some very informative web-sites.

Mark you are fundamentally wrong about the origins, rationale and objectives of Freemasonry. You clearly have never been in a lodge room, or have anything but a passing knowledge of the craft.

Freemasonry is a society with secrets not a secret society. You are free to join. Indeed many lodges due to falling numbers (largely as a result of the fact that it isn't all about getting an illdeserved leg up) are advertising for members.

There is nothing incompatible with being a freemason and becoming an MP. If the party thinks there is then they better remove me from the candidates list.

Jon, you say there’s no “social advantage” in being a Mason (other than good company – a reason I wholly respect). I have read that Masons promise to give their ‘brothers’ the benefit of the doubt. Is what I read true and, if so, can you see why outsiders would infer that brothers are potentially favoured by Mason employers, judges, policemen, etc?

The Mason’s members list is secret so it’s impossible to know if or when favouritism is taking place. Were a judge to be consistently lenient towards the members of her golf club, eyebrows would raise. A level of scrutiny is denied that, in my opinion, is required for public service.

I understood that freemasonry is also secretive in that what’s communicated to you under the fraternal bond can’t be repeated. I admit that I don’t know the distinction between brother-talk and other-talk, but once again this is an open invitation to suspicion.

If you were to read John Hammill's "History of English Freemasonry", I think it would answer a lot of your questions, and dispell your concerns.

The oath of a freemason requires one to keep a fellow freemason's *lawful* secrets, and to provide charity to fellow freemasons and their families if necessary. There is no requirement to advance a fellow freemason's career.

In most cases where a freemason applied for a job and was interviewed by a freemason, the latter would have no idea whether the former was a mason.

[i] most cases where a freemason applied for a job and was interviewed by a freemason, the latter would have no idea whether the former was a mason.[/i]

Not unless they shook hands first.

The problem here is it is a SECRET society with secret loyalties, rules and regulations, keeping connections from the public eye. The WI doesn't have secret cake-making ceremonies, at least to my knowledge.

If you want to be an MP, resign from masonry.

Mark, don't believe all that you read.

I am not a senior figure in the organisation, just a 'brother' who enjoys 'the craft' enormously. I am not qualified to answer the questions that you put, but if you wish to know answers to your questions, you have two options:

1. Direct them to the press office at Freemason's Hall, Great Queen Street, and they will be very happy to answer them.


2. Join.

I will say that whilst the Members list is secret, brethren are encouraged to admit their membership. I have no problem in telling ANYONE that I am a Freemason. I have not told my employers, however, as I have detected some anti-masonic sentiment and have no wish to jeopardise my career.
This is the only reason that the list is secret - for some Brethren, because of the suspicion that the Craft is regarded in by some people, knowledge of their membership could be a DIS-advantage, and not the undeserved 'leg-up' that many think. Provided the organisation is not in any way subversive, which Masonry certainly is not, surely in a free society we have the right to keep private what clubs or societies we belong to?

Perhaps, and this is a personal not 'official' view, when society is less judgemental of Freemasonry, the reluctance to publish lists of members will desist.

Passing Leftie:

If it is a SECRET society, then how the hell do you know about it?

Your attitude is petty and small minded.

I'm closing this thread now as we've got a bit off subject (just for a change!)

The comments to this entry are closed.



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