Who is James Purnell?

Guy Aitchison
15 May 2008

Guy Aitchison (London, OK): If, like me, you know next to nothing about James Purnell, the young Work and Pensions Secretary now tipped to succeed Brown, then it's worth reading this profile by Fraser Nelson, which the Spectator has now put online. He is a member of the "Primrose Hill set", apparently, which includes Miliband (whose qualities were noted in Claire O'Brien's recent devestating post) and other young Blairites. He has an impressive mastery of detail too and that rarest of gifts amongst politicians - the ability to sound human. Fraser Nelson reckons he is the best hope Labour has of beating Cameron. I wonder. When he was briefly in charge of our culture he declared that he was about to start a new renaissance. This allowed Anthony Barnett to suggest that Damien Hurst's diamond skull was the emblem and symbol of Purnell's Blairism. Then there was the episode when he was photoshopped into a meeting that he had missed and people asked which was the real picture - the one that included him or the one that didn't.



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