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Katherine Shonfield

The poor old lay man. It seems good old architecture has coldshouldered him once more. His omission from the jury of this year's Stirling Prize is all the more ignominious for his substitution by one of the most well-known of self-publicised laid women, Tracy Emin. The public, it seems, will be out of 'their depth and generally overawed by the process'. Bless.

As ever with spin-speak, reality is of course the other way round. It is the unlaid members of their panel who are likely to get their knickers in a twist at the thought of exposing their terms of judgement to the public. All will sympathise. Some misguided fool made the unforgivable mistake of substituting the words 'member of the public' for 'elitist, self-appointed member of the artistic avantgarde' back in the dark ages of public participation: anyone who has ever had anything to do with 'a member of the public' stating their position at a planning inquiry will know quite how out of their depth and overawed they get.

It takes a special RIBA concoction of disingenuousness to propose a 'celebrity lay person' who won't somehow be 'out of their depth'. There is clearly no truth in the scurrilous rumour that the august judges aspire to have their names embroidered as 'laid people' in Emin's famous tent. I am sorry to say that I suspect the reason for Emin's presence is because, as one who has herself benefited from the most spurious and ephemeral terms of 'judgement', she won't rock the boat.

Public votes are currently sidelined in an item named, with scarcely disguised contempt, the 'People's Choice'. Enough.

We could not do more for architecture and the popularity of same, than to get the judges (providing they are not 'overawed') to explain publicly why they advocate a shortlisted candidate, and then asking the poor, maligned public themselves for a straight vote.

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