"Inside The Brotherhood" by Martin Short solidified my suspicions of the fraternity. It's a bit long in the tooth now, but probably still worth a read if you see a copy in a second hand shop.
I'd had a run-in with them when I lived in London where a property transaction (just a garage at the rear of our flat) I'd reached agreement on was suddenly overturned, at considerable cost to myself. One of the people at the Estate Agent's was very apologetic, saying: "I know, but what can I do. Ron saw a mate at the Lodge last night who really wanted it to store stuff, so there you go...."
The book gave number of provable cases where people had been discriminated against in favour of "Brothers", and a couple of very disturbing cases where people who had tried to stand up to Masons were basically ruined.
You can say that "there are bad apples in every barrel"....but when the rotten apples are protected and looked after at the expense of the sound ones, you have to start suspecting that the barrel itself may be the source of the rot.
It was particularly interesting that Kenneth Noye, the Brinks Mat (1986) bullion robbery fence who was also acquitted of murdering a police officer and later convicted of road rage murder didn't have his membership revoked immediately. He'd originally been proposed for membership by 2 police officers, in 1977, when he was already a known convicted criminal. His lodge brothers continued to pay his subscriptions as a "Country Member" for several years while he was in jail for Brinks Mat. He was eventually expelled by Grand Lodge in the early 1990s when they "discovered he had a criminal record".Considering he'd been all over the papers for 10 years it took them a fair while, and a lot of negative publicity, before they got around to it!