Reflecting on all the excitements of the past few days, I find myself mulling one question: What now for James Purnell? Okay, so the resignation plan didn’t work, but in the long-term has he done himself and his career good or harm?
To put it another way (and to draw some pretty implausible parallels with the 80s and 90s), is he:
- Geoffrey Howe, in 1990, with his “broken bats”, delivering a slowish-burn coup de grace to the Thatcherite (or in this case, Brownite) regime?
- Michael Heseltine, in 1986, storming out of the Cabinet and establishing himself as the keeper of the flame (in this case the Blairite flame) for his wing of the Party?
- John Redwood, in 1995, quitting in a blaze of glory but arguably leaving himself effectively isolated on the backbenches?
Only time will tell, of course. But I guess we will all have our own views….