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Not lording it

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Astragal

Whoever said New Labour is friendly to architects? One of its central policies will significantly reduce architecture's voice within the political system. Abolition of the sitting and voting rights of the hereditary peers will remove four of the six architect-parliamentarians: the Duke of Gloucester, the Viscount Esher, and the Lords Hankey and Cunliffe. Sir Sydney Chapman (the only architect-mp) and Richard, Lord Rogers (a life peer), will have the field to themselves. It will also cut a swathe through the riba's carefully nurtured Hon Fellows like Carrington and Grafton (although, happily, not our editor: he is not a hereditary peer). All four hereditaries have done much for architecture: Gloucester in quietly toning down his cousin; Esher as priba and author of The Broken Wave, still the best account of post-war architecture; Hankey through tying architecture to government through various advisory posts; and Cunliffe by linking architecture to management. Their experience and skills will be sadly missed.

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