Much attention in Britain has been devoted to the activities of Freemasons and similar groups. (For example, the Monklands scandal in Scotland highlighted allegations about the conduct of councillors who were members of the Catholic Knights of Saint Columba.) In Leicestershire in 1990, a rather out-ofdate Masonic handbook for the county was discovered in a suitcase bought by a Labour Party member at a jumble sale. The book confirmed that a large number of senior Conservative county councillors and senior council officials, including the then Chief Executive and the then Treasurer were masons. It didn’t prove anything else – and no allegations of corruption were ever made, let alone proved. Even so, the incident generated a certain amount of unease about possible links between some of the county’s most influential figures – out of sight of voters and colleagues. In another example in 1995 a leading Conservative member of Medina Borough Council on the Isle of Wight resigned, complaining of Masonic influence – he claimed twelve of the eighteen members of the council’s ruling Conservative group were Freemasons. Tensions between masons and non-masons remain an important factor in the politics of many of the cities of North East England.