Penarth’s former Labour MP and now Labour’s South Wales Police and Crime Commissioner – Alun Michael – is demanding that freemasons should be forced to publicly declare their membership of the movement.
Commissioner Michael – who is hoping to be re-elected in May – is calling for it to be made compulsory for all public servants, including police officers, council officials and politicians, to divulge their membership .
Commissioner Michael is setting out his arguments in tonight’s edition of the S4C Welsh-language current affairs programme “Y Byd Ar Bedwar” ( The World on Four).
The Police Chief”s proposals have had a cool reception from the senior freemasons representing some 13,000 members in Wales .
Provincial Grand Master Gareth Jones says members of the order should not be forced to declare their membership – and says that it’s “a little offensive” for anyone to be instructed to declare their membership.
The Byd Ar Bedwar programme – which includes video of freemansonry rituals in rehearsal – has been told by Mr Jones that he sees “ no reason at all why individuals should have to declare membership of freemasonry. I and my members in South Wales are happy to tell people that we’re freemasons and celebrate that. I think it’s the fact that one is being instructed to declare one’s freemasonry that is a little offensive.”
Mr Jones says freemasonry “makes good men better men” . He says there is “nothing sinister or mysterious” about it. The “very small number of secrets we still have ” he says ” are simply modes of recognition.”
When Alun Michael was a Home Office Minister a legal requirement that police officers should declare membership was challenged and overruled. South Wales Police has a “voluntary disclosure system” . He now wants a common declaration system for all local authorities, police forces and health boards.
Y Byd ar Bedwar is on S4C tonight at 21:30. English-language subtitles are available.