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Think-tank slams Dome 'whingers' for 'sour grapes'

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Right-wing think-tank the Adam Smith Institute has launched an attack on 'whingers' who snipe at the dome, in a week when more concerns about it have surfaced in the press.

The institute's 51-page pamphlet, 'In Defence of the Dome', accuses whingers of uniting 'in a miserable chorus of sour grapes'. It argues that the corruption and sleaze surrounding the dome are no worse than those prevalent in business today. We should, they say, accept 'the dome's beautiful form' and look at improving what is going inside it.

It makes nine recommendations which include: replacing the concept of 'edutainmnent' with a 'continuous clash of intellectual titans' addressing mankind's future in the twenty-first century; letting it 'brim with the crowd' rather than cramming it with too many exhibits, 'poor signage, dodgy acoustics and over-bright lighting'; showing the 100 best artworks of the twentieth century; and, treating 'adults as adults and children as children'. The authors of the report are construction writer Penny Lewis; Vicky Richardson, senior reporter on the riba Journal; and James Woudhuysen, professor of innovation at De Montfort University.

As if to confirm the pamphlet's argument, the Observer this week ran an old story about engineering problems with the dome, which have required adjustments to some of the zones. News has also emerged of further delays to completion of the troubled Jubilee Line extension, originally planned to open in March this year, and now not expected to be ready until autumn 1999, only a few weeks before the opening of the dome.

Ruth Slavid

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