According to the Tory Diary blog, David Cameron has named Giuseppe Garibaldi as his political hero. It's a striking choice. Whilst it's true that, at the end of his life, Garibaldi described himself as a pacifist and a socialist, before then he and his men had killed countless thousands of people, all in the cause of a worldwide Freemasonic brotherhood. It's that younger Garibaldi that Cameron admires. Quite why Cameron would identify himself with a Masonic zealot is unknown, especially if he had been wanting to allay suspicions that he might himself be 'on the square'.
One of my few blog entries that gets occasionally Googled concerns the question of David Cameron and Freemasonry. To recap: before Cameron became a political star, and at the time of his first job within the Tory shadow cabinet, a poster to the Usenet newsgroup alt.freemasonry wrote, on July 3rd, 2003:
I'd like to congratulate my local Masonic lodge member, David Cameron MP for Witney, on his promotion to Deputy Speaker for the Conservative Party. As an extremely young MP (thirties) I expect him to be party leader by the end of his political career...
Cameron's elevation was actually to Shadow Deputy Leader of the House, but that mistake somehow made the message more credible. But a spokesperson from his office denied that Cameron was a Mason, so the veracity of that Usenet posting remains in question.
Garibaldi subscribed to the anti-clericalism common among Latin liberals and did much to circumscribe the temporal power of the Papacy. His personal convictions bordered on atheism; he wrote in 1882, "Man created God, not God Man." An active freemason, Garibaldi had little use for rituals, but thought of masonry as a network to unite progressive men as brothers both within nations and as members of a global community.
A novus ordo seclorum, in other words. For some reason I'm reminded of a speech Cameron gave to the Foreign Policy Centre in August 2005, the one in which he compared Islamists to Nazis. In it he repeatedly invoked the 1930s, and cast himself as a Winston Churchill figure, in his wilderness years, prophetically calling on Britain to strengthen its military and intelligence capabilities in order to fight and defeat the 'totalitarian' forces opposing the liberal world order. Bro. Churchill was also a Mason - Cameron does seem to admire leaders fuelled by Masonic beliefs.
Garibaldi "was initiated into Freemasonry in 1844, at the age of thirty-seven, in the 'L'Asil de la Vertud' Lodge of Montevideo", although he had earlier joined the Masonic revolutionary movement, the Carbonari, in Piedmont in 1834. After lodging and fighting in South America, he went north and "attended the masonic lodges of New York in 1850 and London in 1853-54". He is credited with unifying the two Rites of Memphis and Misraïm in 1881, and he became that Order's first International Grand Master. For the full extent of Garibaldi's immersion in Freemasonry, see this page.
My point is that Cameron could hardly have chosen, as a political hero, someone more associated with miltant anti-clerical Freemasonry than Garibaldi. Several thoughts follow. Does Cameron see himself as a successor to Garibaldi and Churchill? Does he share Garibaldi's belief that organised religion must be overthrown, to be replaced globally by Freemasonry? If Cameron became PM, how would his relations be with a) the Queen, b) the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster, and c) the Archbishop of Canterbury? Would he want to abolish them all? So I hope, before the next election, interviewers will ask David Cameron, given his hero-worship of Garibaldi, his views on organised religion and Freemasonry.