When did this new and transformed Dr Alex Reid undergo his Road to Damascus experience? How is it that the man, on whose initiative as director general in 1998, all the RIBA committees were scrapped on the thin excuse that this would save about £1,500 of travelling expense, suddenly becomes convinced that every committee should have two thirds of members from outside London?
When did Reid become converted to a consensual style of politics and to openness and transparency? Is this the same man who in January 1996 addressed a special council meeting in camera, to explain why he had sacked his most senior colleague, without any consultation and contrary to the wishes and advice of the president and the vice-president responsible?
When did the man who abolished the staff union (seeking council approval after the event) and found a means to shed almost all staff members on permanent contracts with pension rights, thereby costing the institute dearly in terms of both experience and redundancy payments, realise that this had resulted in 'appalling staff morale' and difficulties in recruiting (see AJ 23.3.00).
For Reid to complain that the RIBA is remote, after seven years of prime opportunity to make it more relevant to rank and file, is, as they say in politics, interesting.
Kate Macintosh, Finch Macintosh Architects, Hampshire