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Why do architects hate the Tories?

One of the most interesting questions in the past few years has been: why does the architectural community hate the Conservative Party so much? Obviously, there is no one simple explanation for the heavy political bias, but there are some fairly clear pointers.

First, there is the fact that the Tories lack the sympathy for the design industries that can be found in the other two parties. Additionally, the Labour Party has a long-standing commitment to reforming both the planning and the listing systems - two of the larger frustrations of Britain's bigger practices.

There must also be a degree of self-interest from the large commercial practices in the AJ100. Many of these firms will undoubtedly have benefited - and will continue to benefit - from what can only be described as one of the biggest public-sector building booms since the end of the Second World War.

Also, there can be no pretence that there is not a degree of synthesis between Classicists with the Conservative Party on one side and Modernists with more left-leaning politicians.

Let's be honest, the AJ100 is almost exclusively Modern in its outlook.

Perhaps the architectural community's current suspicion of the Tories was best summed up by RIBA president George Ferguson, speaking before the 2005 election.

'There's a feeling among the profession that they haven't taken the built environment as seriously as the other two parties, ' he said. 'It's just possible that under a Tory government the relatively steady state that the industry has seen after the last two terms might wobble.'

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