Another year over - overshadowed, of course, by 11 September. Did we really have an election? It seems so long ago. But indeed we did, so Astragal's personality of the year award must therefore go to Tony Blair. His success meant, among other things, the continuation and expansion of PFI and a continuing commitment to architectural excellence. A pity that the 'ministerial design champions' under Lord Falconer have not met since the election, but let's hope that changes in the New Year.
There have been other concerns...The election also brought us a new department, the clumsily named DTLR, and a new secretary of state in the form of Stephen Byers.The poor man has had enough on his plate sorting out the railways (whatever happened to John Prescott? ) without worrying about planning too much (Lord F does it for him), and of course construction has moved to the DTI.
With architecture still under DCMS, the atomisation of this great industry is all but complete. What was that Egan stuff about the dangers of fragmentation? Best new acronym of the year must go to another new department, DEFRA, colloquially known as the Department for the Elimination of Farming and Rural Affairs.