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COBRA

- a rather sinister and recent acronym formed from "conservation based research and analysis". The concept behind COBRA appears to be to emphasise the need for rigorous research and analysis in addition to survey as the correct basis for informing decisions on repair, alteration and use of a building or site which, is fair enough. It is attempting to make a serious point but COBRA also stands, and has done for a long time, for "Cabinet Office Briefing Room" - essentially panels of experts brought together to brief Government at times of emergency, in a siege situation for example, in which case the acronym seems far more appropriate. All of which cannot help but lead one to wonder - particularly at a time when the notion of public value is becoming accepted currency - if it isn't time to call a halt on the use of all these initials. Get a number of conservationists together and they quickly start to sound like a convention of alphabet salesmen, god knows what the public would make of it.