Is Simon Duckworth’s Register of Interests As A City Of London Councillor Transparent?

Many City of London councillors who are masons indicate their subscriptions to this boys club on their register of interests without specifying which lodges they belong to. Given the huge influence of specific masonic lodges on City politics, in the interests of transparency City councillors listing all the lodges to which they belong on their register of interests would be a huge improvement on the current situation. To give a specific example, while Bishopsgate common councillor Simon D’Olier Duckworth is a senior mason, he only indicates this involvement through listing ‘Masonic Charitable Foundation’ on his register of interests. This is not unusual and we are NOT suggesting that Duckworth has in any way failed to meet the legal requirements for his register of interests. Our point is rather that given the disproportionate number of masons from specific lodges at the top of the City of London council, the current legal requirements to do not go far enough.

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Diversity & Freemasonry At The City of London Council

The way in which men only freemasonic groups impact upon diversity within the City of London Corporation is disturbing. To date there have been 688 Lord Mayors who were men and 2 who were women. Since the founding of the Guildhall Lodge in 1905, 78 Lord Mayors of London have belonged to this men only freemasonic group. So over the past 113 years at least 69.03% of Lord Mayors of London have been masons, whereas 1.77% have been women. Although well under 1% of the English population are masons, members of the brotherhood have a better chance of becoming Lord Mayor of London than non-masons; and women who aren’t allowed to join influential all male lodges are largely excluded from such leadership roles.

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Giles Shilson, Freemasonry & Democratic Transparency at the City of London Council

We have previously addressed the opacity of a couple of council register of interest entries. Here we will deal with the same issue as regards Giles Shilson, a councillor for Bread Street ward. Despite the fact that he would appear to be a high flying freemason, Shilson failed to make an appearance in a recent Barbican Talk discussion that among other things attempted to work out the percentage of councilors who are masons – we suspect the figure mooted there is an underestimation. That Shilson is a freemason was not apparent to the City residents involved in this discussion because the way this is indicated on his register of interests is not transparent to many of those who do not belong to The Brotherhood, and will be seen by some as disingenuous.

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Matthew Richardson, Diversity, Gender Identity & Freemasonry in the City of London

Aside from his insistence that women should be excluded from all male institutions such as the Guildhall Lodge, Edward Lord – who plays a lead role in the council’s diversity initiatives – shared a flat with his fellow freemason and City of London councillor Matthew Richardson around the time the latter made a transphobic speech in the USA: “Matthew Richardson, Ukip’s party secretary and a close ally of Nigel Farage, branded trans women undergoing surgery ‘she-males’ and said the NHS should not help people who needed gender reassignment surgery. He blamed ‘socialists’ who he said supported people whose gender needed to be reassigned. ‘Socialists think that if somebody wants to reassign their gender the state should pay, they think that’s how the world works,’ he told an audience of several right-wing groups in the United States. ‘So if you love she-males come to the United Kingdom, if you love freedom – stay here [the United States].’ ”

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‘Sir’ Michael Bear’s Register of Interests Again!

In a previous post we addressed the opaque nature of one of Michael Bear’s entries on his Register of Interests as a member of the City of London council. We would still like him to clarify whether or not what he lists as the ‘Grand Charity Society’ is in fact the Freemason’s Grand Charity; and if it is then whether or not – as would seem likely – he is a Freemason. It has now come to our attention that Michael Bear seems to have overlooked his Arion Capital appointment in March when he last updated his register of interests on 12th June, 2017.

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City of London Planning Committee Roll of Shame

An application to build a luxury apartment block on the site of Bernard Morgan House in Golden Lane was approved by the City of London Planning and Transportation Committee on 23 May 2017. Thirteen of those present voted in favour and ten against. This development will steal light and sunshine from local homes, a park and three local schools. We don’t currently know the identities of all those who voted in favour of this application but we will add them to our role of shame as and when we can. In the meantime, we understand these members of the committee voted for the proposal, so this is our initial role of shame: Christopher Hayward, Michael Bear, Mark Boleat, Andy Mayer,
Brian Mooney, James Thomson.

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