Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Britain's Most Useless Quangos- The Electoral Commission

Voting with our feet

In the interests of open and transparent dealing, Mr Tyler wishes to make a statement.

As a result of certain "established practices" at a political party's annual conference, he finds himself in possession of a quantity of Electoral Commission ballpoints. And also a number of corporate keyfobs, beer mats, and souvenir prophylactics provided by the same organisation.

At the time he acquired these gifts, Mr Tyler was under the impression that the Electoral Commission was paying for them from its own funds.

It has now become clear that the original source of funds was not the Commission, but a wealthy donor known as The Taxpayer. Further, it now appears The Taxpayer was unaware his funds were being used for such dubious purposes.

Naturally, Mr Tyler deeply regrets accepting such gifts, and has ordered a full independent enquiry to establish the facts. The enquiry will be chaired by a retired High Court poodle, fully vetted by the Major's spiritual provider, Mr Thresher.


The useless Electoral Commission costs us £22m pa and employs 150 people. Created by Labour in 2000, it's so far presided over cash for honours, banana republic voting systems, and this latest secret donor outrage. It has totally failed to demonstrate any grip whatsoever.

Unsurprising when you look at its Commissioners, who are a usual suspects bunch of Big Government insiders:

  • Sam Younger (Chair): ex-BBC son of Labour minister (salary £150 grand pa)

  • Sir Neil McIntosh : Scottish local authority bureaucrat (fee £30 grand pa)

  • Karamjit Singh CBE: local authority lawyer (fee £30 grand)

  • Peter Wardle (CEO): ex-Inland Revenue bureaucrat (salary £110 grand pa, plus a pension pot of £0.5m)

  • Etc- full list here

The Commission reports not directly to the government, but to Parliament. In theory, that's supposed to make it more independent. But it practice it reports to the Speaker's Committee, membership last reported as follows:

􀁸 Rt Hon Michael Martin MP, Speaker of the House of Commons (Chairman)
􀁸 Rt Hon Alan Beith MP, Chairman of the Constitutional Affairs Select Committee
􀁸 Rt Hon Lord Falconer of Thoroton QC, Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs and Lord Chancellor
􀁸 Mr Phil Woolas MP, Minister for Local Government
􀁸 Lady Sylvia Hermon MP
􀁸 Rt Hon Sir Gerald Kaufman MP
􀁸 Mr Humfrey Malins CBE MP
􀁸 Mr Gary Streeter MP
􀁸 Mr Peter Viggers MP


But while our politicos wheel and deal with total disregard for the law, and while our democratic institutions head for collapse, at least we taxpayers can be assured the Commission is ahead of the curve in the vital matter of ethnic and gender balance among its 150 staff. Its annual report boasts the following table:

We're so glad they've managed to get those old-style White British and Irish bigots out the door. They never did understand democracy.

Meanwhile Rome is still burning.

PS And no, we most definitely do not want to dole out even more taxpayers' money to support the politicos. As we've blogged before, one way or another, they already get over £50m pa (eg see this blog).

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