Daily catch-up: self-regarding architecture and closing notes on Labour’s conference

Plus 32-year-old secrets from a spies’ style book

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The Independent Online

1. Here is one I missed earlier. Self-regarding architecture, via Roger Luckhurst and Della Mirandola. I should add it as a footnote to my Top 10 Horrible Buildings.

2. Having given Ed Miliband's conference speech a mixed review I should say that last night's Labour Party broadcast, which was a four minutes, 40 seconds version of the leader's address, was not bad at all.

It was a punchy blue-collar prospectus: higher minimum wage; as many apprenticeships as university places; house-building; jobs in green tech; more doctors and nurses to give the NHS "time to care". There are all sorts of objections to each of these, but no doubt about the brutal clarity of the message.

3. It was good to meet so many promising Labour candidates in Manchester. Peter Kyle, the candidate in Hove, and I had an interesting discussion about authenticity in politicians. I was surprised by his example, Caroline Lucas, the Green MP for next-door Brighton. She is authentic, he said. "She really is that wet."

4. Philip "Sunshine" Cowley has a good article about the common view, "We hate MPs, but love our local MP." It is a comforting thought for those who are worried by the anti-democratic scorn for the political class, including MPs themselves. But it is a little too rosy.

The survey evidence is that a (large) minority of the population "are a bit more positive about their local MP than they are about MPs in general".

5. One of the CIA's best-kept secrets is out. The organisation used to care about writing style and it used to have a sense of humour. In 1982 it compiled its own version of the Banned List. Here is its list of disfavoured clichés:

Multidisciplinary analysis.

Viable alternatives.

Mounting crises.



Heightened tensions.

Dire straits.

Far-reaching implication.

Available evidence.

Foreseeable future.

Almost inevitable.


Economic constraints.

Broad outlines.

Net effect.

Overwhelming majority.

The guide was furnished with illustrations. "Heightened tensions", for example, "are recognisable by their long bird-like legs and devilish ears". Damian Counsell was sceptical: "I'm no expert, but they look like Delicately Poised Negotiations to me."

Thanks to James Cronin.

6. Finally, Kieran C signed off from Manchester:

"I had fun at conference. I imagine that's how well adjusted people enjoy their actual life."