Daily Archives: February 23, 2012

County councillors challenged to reveal their links to secret societies

thisisgloucestershire.co.uk | Feb 15, 2012

COUNTY councillors have been challenged to reveal their membership of private organisations such as the Freemasons.

Shire Hall Lib Dem group leader Jeremy Hilton (Westgate) called on all members to declare their interests publicly after a report about the Cotswold Water Park scandal highlighted the issue.

Last month Graham Garbutt, who wrote the report, highlighted failures in the council’s systems, including confusion among members over whether to declare their membership to “secret societies”.

Mr Hilton said connections to networking organisations such as the Freemasons could influence matters of public interest.

“This report has highlighted some serious concerns,” he said. “I am, therefore, calling for it to be made a standard procedure that both officers and all elected members have a duty to declare that they are or have been members of secret societies like the Freemasons.

“Graham Garbutt’s report brings to light the need for more transparency and tighter scrutiny procedures within Shire Hall. In my view, this needs to start happening now.”

The Freemasons are a worldwide fraternity dedicated to charitable works. However, members usually keep their links to the organisation secret and carry out meetings in private in a ritualised format.

There are five Freemasons serving on Gloucestershire County Council, all of them are in the Conservative group.

They are councillors Brian Tipper (Cam and Dursley), Chaz Fellows (Chalford), Stan Waddington (Minchinhampton), Terry Glastonbury (West Dean) and David Cooksley (Lydney).

Each of them has declared the membership on the register of interests, in line with the authority’s policy.

Mr Tipper said Mr Hilton’s suggestion was unnecessary.

“I resent the way the Freemasons are being presented as a secret society,” he said.

“We do a lot of charitable work and we do it in a modest way, so those who benefit don’t know who has done it.

“All council members are well aware of the rules and I’m sure all of them who are members of such groups have already declared it.”

Mr Garbutt is the independent author of a report being drawn up about Shire Hall’s dealings with the Cotswold Water Park.

At an audit committee meeting last month he presented an interim verbal report, stating that his final report would include recommendations about declarations of interest relating to secret societies.

An investigation was called for after the £660,000 fraud carried out by Cotswold Water Park Ltd’s chief executive Dennis Grant.

Conservatives yesterday accused Mr Hilton of carrying out a stunt to get his name in the paper.

Council leader Councillor Mark Hawthorne (C, Moreland) said: “There’s nothing confusing about the rules on declaration of councillor’s interests.

“All councillors are required to publicly declare on their register of interests if they are members of the Freemason’s Grand Charity – which Conservatives councillors have always rigorously followed.

“I think there is cause for concern if the Liberal Democrats are admitting that they do not understand the rules that apply on this important issue.”

Frozen River Danube causes chaos in Europe


The “Danube Grace” ship tries to break the ice on the frozen Danube river near the city of Giurgiu, 70 km (43 miles) south of Bucharest February 10, 2012. Romania and Bulgaria suspended all shipping on the Danube River due to severe frost. Reuters Pictures

kms.ee | Feb 21, 2012

European and Baltic forestry investors have been severely hampered following the freezing of the River Danube, one of Europe’s main waterways.

Many within the industry as well as other sectors across the continent are suffering because of what has been described as the longest freeze of the river in recent memory.

Huge ice chunks have been floating down the river in southern Romania while water close to the banks have remained iced over in several other nearby nations.

Related

Record-low temperatures cause sauerkraut disaster in Germany

Costache Constantin, manager of Europolis Shipping and Trading shipping company, told the Associated Press: “This is costing millions of euros. The transportation of raw materials, coal, minerals, cereals … are all affected, construction materials too.”

He added that this was the worst freeze he had seen in his working life, which began in 1981.

The Danube flows for 1,785 miles and travels through nine countries, including Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania, and Ukraine.

Former Member of Parliament is new Grand Master of Freemasons

Sir David was Conservative MP for Rossendale from 1979-83 and for the Darwen and Rossendale constituency from 1983-92 when he was also a junior minister for Trade, Industry and Employment and later Environment and Countryside minister. He was deputy chairman of the Conservative Party in 1990 and appointed High Sheriff for Lancashire in 1997.

A member of the Stock Exchange since 1968 and Sir David is also a director of Granada TV.

lancashiretelegraph.co.uk | Feb 22, 2012

David Trippier, Minister of State for the Environment and Conservative party Member of Parliament for Rossendale and Darwen, speaks at a party conference, London, England - June 27, 1991. (Stock photo)

A FORMER Rossendale MP has been appointed as the highest ranking Freemason in East Lancashire at a ceremony King George’s Hall.

More than 1,000 people were expected to watch Sir David Trippier receive the title of The Provincial Grand Master, which will see him lead the area’s 6,000 Freemasons.

Speaking before the appointment, Helmshore-based Sir David said that he hoped to encourage more men to join the Freemasons.

“My aim is to try and raise the profile of the Freemasons and hopefully further improve the number of members we have in the East Lancashire province.

“In the past Freemasons were quite secretive and closed off which may have put people off joining.

“During the past 30 years it has changed beyond all recognition. Now you only need look on the internet or in the library and you will be able to find out about all the Freemasonry and we are actively encouraged to talk about it. “ Sir David was Conservative MP for Rossendale from 1979-83 and for the Darwen and Rossendale constituency from 1983-92 when he was also a junior minister for Trade, Industry and Employment and later Environment and Countryside minister. He was deputy chairman of the Conservative Party in 1990 and appointed High Sheriff for Lancashire in 1997.

A member of the Stock Exchange since 1968 and Sir David is also a director of Granada TV, a founder of Rossendale Enterprise Trust and Rossendale Groundwork Trust and has been honorary Colonel of the Royal Marines Reserve Merseyside since 1996.

He was initiated into the Freemasons when he was 21 in 1968, following in his father’s footsteps.

He worked his way up through the Freemasonry ranks from Master of the Lodge to Past Provincial Junior Grand Warden then to Grand Officer in the acting rank of Assistant Grand Sword Bearer.

He added: “I respected and looked up to my father and his friends who were all Freemasons and thought that is how I wanted to live my life.

“If it wasn’t for being a Freemason then I wouldn’t have met my wife Ruth, who I have been married to for 37 years.

“My father was friends with her father and I had been asked around to her house for a lodge meeting rehearsal and saw her photograph. I deliberately got it all wrong so I could go back to the house again in the hope of meeting her.

“I owe a lot to being a Freemason so it was a privilege to be asked to be The Provincial Grand Master for East Lancashire.”

The chapter covers a vast area including the current six boroughs of East Lancashire and historic ‘Lancashire’ including large parts of modern-day Greater Manchester.