As I enter my 72nd year I am surprised that in the second decade of the twenty first century there is no debate on the corrosive effects the ancient practices of freemasonry have on Scottish life.
I say corrosive as my personal experiences of freemasonry have, in the main been negative. My antipathy towards freemasonry may be because I have lived all my life in Scotland where there are more freemasons per head of population than any other country in the world, and where the Craft has a link to sectarianism through Orangeism.
Perhaps I am more sensitive to such things being Irish descended and nominally at least RC, but another Irish-descended man, felt the same way as I do about secret societies.
The following is a verbatim extract from a speech that President John F. Kennedy gave at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel on April 27, 1961, to the American Newspaper Publishers Association.The speech was entitled: “The President and the Press”.
“The very word “secrecy” is repugnant in a free and open society; and we are, as a people, inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths and secret proceedings. We decided long ago that the dangers of excessive and unwarranted concealment of pertinent facts far outweighed the dangers which are cited to justify it. AUDIO LINK
Given the prevalence of Masons in all walks of life I am not surprised that those who share my negative views (and the views of the late US president) do not air them openly. The Masons are not to be messed with after all.
However I am surprised that the positive case for freemasonry never seems to be made.
If it as good as the Masons maintain why are they not shouting it from the rooftops and why are they so secretive about being in the Craft?
I have not studied the subject to any extent, but have knowledge of it from being on the receiving end, so to speak, for at least half a century. So I thought that I should put my views on this taboo subject online and see if they might, perhaps, spark a debate on the merits or otherwise of the Craft.
I will divide the blog into five pages; the First Page (published) will deal with my early life, the Second Page (published) deals with the unique sectarian nature of freemasonry in working-class Central Scotland, the third my experiences during my life as a working man, the fourth will deal with my experiences as a businessman, and the fifth will monitor a public petition, PE01491 lodged with the Scottish Parliament LINK calling for legislation to make decision-makers register membership of secret societies.
The new petition page, PE01491 (published in part, link above right) will cite my own case, Stott v Minogue, and the Social Security Commissioners Appeal Decision in the case of Victor Duncan CSI/136/02 LINK
The petition has received positive support from the public with 3,116 people from 36 countries signing their support, so perhaps the parliament may be persuaded to bring Scotland in line with Norway, where for some years now judges have been obliged to register membership of the freemasons. See letter from Domstol here: LINK.
The letter from the Domstol was a written response to my enquiry in support of a previous, similar petition, I lodged in 2000. For this, my latest petition, I asked the Domstol to give me an update, and they have advised me that the number of judges who must register membership of the freemasons has been extended to include Land Court judges.
Using the number of Masons per head of population in Norway and their percentage in the judiciary and applying this in pro-rata basis, it would suggest Scotland has 88 Masonic judges/sheriffs! LINK
Scotland’s Future? The government White Paper published on 26 Nov 2013 mentions Norway Forty One times!
Given the First Minister’s admiration for the way that Norway has wisely stewarded their North Sea oil revenue, might he wish to emulate our Norse cousins in their openness and transparency in the justice system?
Who knows, but perhaps we might find out who the 88 Scots Masonic justices are!
10 June 2015 Sid Gallagher’s book on his treatment at the hands of Masonic magistrates worth a read: LINK
11 December 2015 the third part of Freemasonry, dealing with my early work experiences in the now published.