I am writing this letter at the last possible moment, after having been given an assurance that it will be uncensored. This was a precondition that I insisted upon if I was not to lodge a complaint with the Press Complaints Commission about last week's article, entitled 'RIBA candidate provokes fury' (AJ 08.06.06).
The article was a travesty. It was largely concocted from a response I gave to the Why Women Leave Architecture report presented to the RIBA Council three years ago, and from things I have neither said nor believe.
The most damaging claim was that I had said that it is 'well known' that women are 'not as spatially aware as men' and 'not as suited to the profession'. That is completely untrue. You will note in that 30-word sentence that there are no less than three sets of quotation marks, all carefully extracted to completely change the meaning of what I had actually said about the report. I have since checked the paper I produced at the time and found that not even the quotes are correct! There is not enough space here to explain the point I was actually making, or my other objections to the report, but my paper is on my election website www.peterphillips-riba. co. uk and I would ask voters to read it for themselves.
The only thing that your reporter did get right was that I believe no pressure groups should have semi-statutory rights over council. But he then went on to say that my plans to cut off these lobby groups (a bit of journalistic exaggeration, but never mind) do not, however, appear in my election manifesto. That is also untrue. As voters will soon see, I say that pressure groups should be kept at arm's length. Space doesn't allow me to elaborate, but I have done so on my website.
The reporter also claimed that I wanted to sever ties with the student group Archaos, which is also untrue. Goodness knows where he got that from as I've never said anything about Archaos.
Having waited to do this hatchet job just before the voting papers go out to members, one must question the reporter's motives.
The AJ used to be the highly respected journal of our profession, but sadly, along with the rest of the media, those standards have clearly declined, and I think it is time it put its house in order.
Peter Phillips, by email