The war of words over Alex Reid's RIBA presidential candidacy is jogging memories of his period as director-general. Picture this scenario: president Reid summons chief exec Richard Hastilow and asks to see some financial figures concerning an area of institute activity. The latter refuses to divulge them on the grounds that they concern operational matters. The president points out that he is the elected head of a membership organisation, and that he is entitled to see these figures. The chief exec continues to refuse to hand them over. The president calls in his secretary and dictates a memo noting the refusal to accede to his request for information. An ashen-faced chief exec storms out, only to return later with an apology and the desired financial information. The memo is consigned to the waste bin. It would never happen, would it? It happened in the past, though with a slight change of casting. . .