About me

My referendum experience

After chairing the cross-party Yes campaign in the Scottish Devolution referendum in 1997, I advised the Yes campaign in the Northern Ireland Good Friday Agreement referendum in 1998 and chaired the London based cross-party UK No Euro referendum campaign from 2002 till the abandonment the referendum in 2003. In the latter role, I worked with the UK Electoral Commission for two years interpreting PPERA  (The UK Elections & Referendum Act – new in 2000)  in preparation for the proposed Euro referendum (that never was) and the North East of England Regional Assembly referendum in November 2004. Later I was involved in AV referendum and in 2014 supported Downing Street in the Scottish Independence referendum and Vote Leave in the EU referendum.

In 1996,Tony Blair’s sudden commitment to a referendum on Scottish devolution crash started my interest in referendums. Since then I have visited referendums and initiatives in many countries including Switzerland, the US notably California and Colorado and several of the EU Accession referendums.

I take a special interest in how broadcasting balance is achieved during referendums talking to broadcasting experts in UK, Ireland, Switzerland and Denmark. I served on the Wilson Committee reviewing the fairness of the BBC coverage of the EU.

and  other campaigns

  • Open Europe,
  • Fairshare campaign for PR in Scottish Local Government,
  • Broadcasting for Scotland Campaign,
  • Campaign for a Scottish Parliament,
  • Sunrise Now,
  • Stop the Tour.

and Public service

  • BBC Broadcasting Council for Scotland,
  • Telematics for the Scottish Parliament,
  • Bank of England Scottish Consultative Committee,
  • Scottish Engineering Employers Association, 
  • Scottish Constitutional Commission,
  • Camden Race relations Committee.

My business career

I worked for large corporations in London for twenty years returning to Scotland in 1976 to rescue and run an engineering company in Glasgow that makes valves for process plants around the world. I retired in 2003.

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