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Era of spin fails to elude the ARB

I suppose that we must cede the empty plinth in Trafalgar Square to Alistair Campbell (a rotating effigy, naturally) - after all, he has sensitised us all to the current era of spin.

Even in the backwoods we see spinning everywhere. Take, for example, the fact that both the chairman and the registrar of the Architects Registration Board (ARB) have recently referred to the costs of responding to Ian Salisbury's questions about its performance and role. Is it coincidence that the ARB's new annual report has revealed a surprisingly large deficit in proportion to the size of its budget and the tally of six relatively minor cases of transgression that 'came to trial' in the period concerned? The cost of Salisbury is modest by comparison (and probably better value) - and this huge overspend occurred before he was elected.

This may be paranoia rather than spin detection, but could there be a case for a higher retention fee in the offing, justified by extra work?

Peter Gibbs-Kennet, Gloucestershire

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