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Who are the guilty ones?

Posted by Richard Thursday, September 16, 2004

These are the Electoral Commissioners, charged as an "independent body", who decided not to designate Neil Heron's peoples campaign as the official "no" campaign in the North East regional assembly referendum. These same people are going to decide on the question for the EU referendum, and on which groups to designate in that campaign.

These are the people, therefore, upon whom the fate on the nation will depend. The question is, which ones have sold out?

Sam Younger, Chairman

Sam Younger joined The Electoral Commission as its first Chairman after a career spanning twenty years at the BBC, most recently as Managing Director of the BBC World Service from 1994 to 98. From 1999 to 2001 he was Chief Executive of the British Red Cross, responsible for its work in the UK and around the world. His other interests include the University of Sussex, whose governing body he chairs, and the Commonwealth Institute, of which he is a governor.

While having no personal history of party affiliation, politics runs in the family. His father was a Labour MP and Minister in the Labour Government of 1945-51, while more recently his cousin was a Cabinet Minister during Margaret Thatcher's Conservative administration.

Sir Neil McIntosh CBE, Commissioner

Currently Convenor of the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Sir Neil was Chairman of the Commission on Local Government and the Scottish Parliament which reported to the Scottish Parliament in June 1999. He was formerly Chief Counting Officer for Scotland for the Scottish Parliament Referendum (September 1997). He joined the Strathclyde Region in 1992 as Chief Executive until it was disbanded in 1996; the Council was the largest local authority in the UK.

Sir Neil was appointed a Deputy Lieutenant of Dumfriesshire in 1998 and received an Honorary Doctorate of Law from Glasgow Caledonian University in November 1999. He was awarded a Knighthood in June 2000.

Pamela Gordon, Commissioner

After reading history at St Hilda's College, Oxford, Pamela Gordon spent forty years in local government service. She started work with the London County Council and then spent nearly twenty years with the Greater London Council, becoming an Assistant Director General and Deputy Director of Industry and Employment. In 1985 she became Chief Executive and Town Clerk of the London Borough of Hackney, in 1989 she became Chief Executive of Sheffield City Council and in 1996 became the first woman President of the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives.

After retiring from full-time employment in 1997 she undertook a range of consultancy assignments, mainly for the National Lottery Charities Board. She is an independent assessor for public appointments and a Governor of Sheffield Hallam University, and was Chair of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation Advisory Group on Local Government from 1997 to 2001.

She was a member of the Local Government Commission for England (LGCE) from July 1998 to March 2002. On 1 April 2002 she became Chair of the Boundary Committee which is a statutory committee of The Electoral Commission and the successor to the LGCE.

Glyn Mathias, Commissioner

Glyn Mathias studied at Jesus College, Oxford and Southampton University before embarking on a career in journalism. He joined the South Wales Echo as a reporter in 1967, moved to BBC regional news in Southampton in 1970 and became a Correspondent with ITN in 1973.

He worked for over twenty years with ITN, becoming Political Editor, Controller, Public affairs and Chief Political Correspondent. In 1994 he moved to BBC Wales as Political Editor until 1999, when he became Manager, Public Affairs for BBC Wales until 2000. He is a lecturer and writer.

Karamjit Singh CBE, Commissioner

Karamjit Singh is currently a Member of the Criminal Cases Review Commission. Previous appointments include membership of the Civil Service Commission, Judicial Studies Board, the Police Complaints Authority, the Parole Board and Employment Tribunals Panel. His career has also covered academia, the voluntary sector, the Commission for Racial Equality and local government. He was Assistant County Clerk (Urban Policies) for Leicestershire County Council from 1984-87.

In 1990 he was awarded a Harkness Fellowship in order to study relationships between urban institutions and their local communities in the United States.

Karamjit Singh has been a Trustee of the Citizenship Foundation and was awarded the CBE in the 2000 New Year Honours.