Saturday, August 1, 2009

Knight versus Higham - part 9 - Education

BBC Radio 4'S Tuesday Call
13 November 1984

In this live radio broadcast, listeners phoned in to Tuesday Call to ask questions about Freemasonry, under the chairmanship of Sue Macgregor. In the transcript below, her words are printed in italic, and those of the two participants are prefixed with

(K) -
Stephen Knight author of `The Brotherhood ` or
(H) -
Commander Michael Higham, Grand Secretary of the UGLE

to differentiate them from the questioners.

....continued from part 8

Now we talk to Peter- just Peter- who's in Cambridge. Good morning Peter. What's your question?


(Peter) I want to know a bit about education and about the influence of Freemasonry especially in promotions in the professions, and how many headmasters and governing bodies are Freemasons, to what extent teachers' prospects are affected by whether or not they belong to the Freemasons?

Do you ask this from a rather concerned point of view, Peter?

(Peter) That's right. Well I know someone who used to teach in the West Country and he felt very firmly that there were reasons why he hadn't got promotion when other newcomers to the school had, and he didn't know at the time, but when I read Stephen Knight's book I felt that there probably was a connection.

Stephen Knight, perhaps you could elaborate on the views you expressed in the book?

(K) What I would like to say is that many people feel tremendous paranoia about Freemasonry for their own reasons, and just because somebody has not got promoted or someone else has got promoted whom you don't think should have done, is no reason immediately to jump to the conclusion that Freemasonry is at the back of it. I have invited people to write to me- I don't go into the education area in the current edition- I've invited people to write to me, and many have, on the education situation. But at this stage it's just impossible to say how many, what percentage of headmasters or whatever are Freemasons.

It's not an area that bothers you particularly?

(K) It's not an area I've looked into, so I can't say whether it bothers me or not.

The areas that do bother you are Freemasonry in the police force and Freemasonry in the church?

(K) Not so much in the church. I mean, that chapter was written not because I am concerned particularly personally, but because so many people had written to me and wanted to know, they were concerned and wanted to know the situation. It's the police, the law, and local government more.

Right. Well let's stick to education for the moment and ask Commander Higham to answer that point.

(H) First I can't answer your question about how many headmasters are Freemasons, our records don't go into that sort of detail. I think Stephen Knight's put his finger on the reason behind your friend in the West Country not being promoted. I don't want to seem to comment on his professional abilities, but I think in general it might be a happy accident that better men are promoted because the system is right- and I'm not talking about Freemasonry, because the promotion system in education is right- and by accident better men happen to be Freemasons. The two I don't think are connected at all.

Peter, would you like to answer that point?

Well, I'm very grateful for those views. Just the reasons why I thought this because my friend had served at this particular school a long time and newcomers came in with fewer qualifications and apparently less ability, and things seemed to change, the atmosphere in that school changed, and he was very concerned about this.

You're talking about this at one remove of course, because you're talking about a friend, not yourself?

Well that's right, yes.

Right. Peter, thank you very much for your question.

...continued in part 10

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