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« Unsupported Alan Duncan quits the race | Main | versus »


Mark O'Brien

Willetts has certainly got the brains and the right outlook. He would be an indispensable part of any Conservative team. But to compare him with John Major - even en passant - is proof that the leadership would be the wrong role for him. He hasn't really got the fire in the belly or the passion that is needed. Some might say that's a virtue, not a vice - it means he's a sensible thinker and not some dogmatic bruiser. But I still think Willetts would not be the best leader we could have.

Simon C

As per previous postings, I see his role as more of a kingmaker - interesting hint at the end of the interview that he might support another candidate, if he thought that person would be a more effective vehicle for his ideas.

The moment Willetts supports another candidate will be a very significant one.

Can't see him as party leader.

Wat Tyler

I think we all have a lot of respect for Willetts. He is by far the best thinker on the front bench- his SMF speech was so good I read it twice.

And he seems to be a man of integrity.

But he's just not the right person to lead us. It's not just the charisma issue, I'd worry he wouldn't be tough enough. And as Mark O'Brien says, he doesn't seem to have the fire in his belly.

I hope this is just another bit of positioning for the Shadow Chancellor job. But I don't know: the tone of the interview suggests he's serious. Which is a shame.


Willetts is great. But he'd have to make a really surprising move to show he's not just a top thinker but also a leader. I'd love that to happen - but I find it slightly difficult to imagine it.


I mean, here is a guy who listens reasonably to the person he's talking; who is interested in other people's ideas, and often influenced by them; who gets excited by novel propositions; who is modest and personable, even with people he regards as opponents.

How can such a person, the very essence of what we want in a fellow human being, being a leader of the Tory party? A Prime Minister? A man who may take is into a war? I can't see it. Don't you need an inherent unreasonableness, an inflated valuation of your qualities and unjustified certainty in the rightness of your judgement; a desire to win just for the sake of winning. Much of this is unpleasant - but isn't it necessary?

Or are there other viable models for leadership, that Willetts could embody?

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