Dynamic duo;Diary

18th June 1999 at 01:00
IN THE OBSCURE world of policy wonks, David Blunkett ponders a replacement for his special adviser on higher and further education, Hilary Benn - son of Tony and, since last week, MP for Leeds Central on the lowest by-election turnout since 1945.

(Incidentally, commiserations to grant-maintained schools' cheerleader Pauline Latham, who stood the same day for the Tories in the east Midlands in the Euro-elections. She didn't make it but then, under the list system, the Conservatives would have needed 92 per cent to send her to Brussels. "I'm optimistic but not that optimistic," she says.) Two names emerge for Hilary Benn's successor - two youngsters who already boast sterling track records in wonkdom and who are, apparently, under Blunkett's active consideration.

They are Josh Hillman and Nick Pearce, former partners in crime at the Labour-leaning think tank, the Institute for Public Policy Research. Their record there includes dreaming up the University for Industry, for which much thanks from a grateful nation. They also co-wrote Wasted Youth, an analysis of teenage social exclusion.

Hillman quit the institute less than a year ago, in an unlikely move to become head of policy at BBC Education. Will the world of policy-making call him back again? The Diary can't wait.

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