Thursday, 25 August 2016

Onwards and sideways?

That famous bit of New Labour spin. Now you see him, now you don't. (He wasn't there). 

As you'll all doubtless already know, former Labour Culture Secretary James Purnell might be about to move from being the BBC's Head of Strategy to being its Director of Radio (replacing the famously genetically-impartial Helen Boaden). 

The story confuses me somewhat as I can't work out why such a move would bring a greater risk of bias on the (former?) arch-Blairite's part. 

Being 'Head of Strategy' for the BBC sounds to me like an even riskier position for a (former?) political partisan to hold than 'Director of Radio' - and he's (apparently) moving on from that risky post.

Unless I'm missing something. 

Still, the speculation is that Mr Purnell is now being readied for the top job - to replace Lord Hall. 


David Keighley, at The Conservative Woman, writes interestingly about the background to all of this. 

His potted profiles of the people responsible for deciding Mr Purnell's future - the BBC's little-known executive board - are very intriguing, and highly suggestive of the kind of person you need to be to help run the BBC from behind the scenes. 

I don't think I'm in with much of a chance.


  1. Purnell should be sacked, not moved sideways. He has also been Director of Digital which may also be described as Director of Disaster.

  2. I always thought 'Head of Strategy' was a big-picture thing: looking at ways to expand Auntie's tentacles, digital presence, property licensing, etc., and not really an editorial position. I'm surprised the BBC will allow an admitted supporter of Israel into an actual editorial position like Head of Radio, though. Maybe they'll have Stephen Sackur berating Tony Hall about it after it happens like he did Patten over James Harding.

  3. That's why the Executive Board needs to be elected by direct vote of all licence fee payers. Easily done. I am sure the Electoral Reform Society would happily arrange it for you if you bunged them a couple of million.

    What a sudden, overnight change we would see in BBC coverage of all matters.