Support for James Purnell's BBC career development was gathered, presumably unprompted, by The Guardian by 2pm yesterday. Cynics might say it's shortened the odds on him being successful in whatever interview might take place for running network radio.
First, former BBC Chairman Lord Grade. “James is a very serious and smart guy and he understands as much as anybody that impartiality and independence are at the heart of the BBC. I would have 100% faith in him to carry out the job in accordance with the royal charter.”
“The question is: does the person have the ability to understand their role and what the imperatives of the BBC are ? I have no fear he would in any way allow his political history to interfere with his obligations to uphold the BBC’s impartiality and independence. And I speak as a Tory backbench peer. It makes me very uncomfortable politicians making party politics out of people’s careers in this way.”
Then, former deputy chair of the BBC Trust, Diane Coyle. "The idea that one individual in a senior role can bias the whole organisation is ludicrous. The head of radio doesn’t set editorial policy. Each radio station has its own controller. The idea [he] would be picking over the editorial agenda of the Today programme or PM can only be a charge of people who don’t understand how these structures work.”
"It is a managerial job … giving someone a range of experience as a credible contender for the DG role when that next comes up. It is great relevant experience for if that job comes up. You want a wide range of candidates for that role. The more diverse the better.”