Thinking For The Individual

Formerly known as 'Thinking For The People', this site offers some reflections on the state of British society and her people from the perspective of a libertarian Conservative with a passionate belief in the pillars of freedom and responsibility.

Friday, June 03, 2005

David Willetts: A Mountain Mover or a Spectator?

It appears that David Willetts has emerged as David Davis's principal rival in the race for the leadership of the Conservative Party. This week he has been on the circuit with an article in the Times about the need to lift the poorest parts of Britain out of the pit of despair, and with a speech to the Social Market Foundation declaring that ours has become 'the sick society of Europe'.

With his talk about the need for greater school choice, for the kind of policing that has brought peace to the streets of New York and for serious welfare reform, he certainly has the intellectual credentials to be leader. A piece by Peter Oborne in The Spectator gives Willetts some credit for refusing to follow the lead of other Tories by plotting their way to the crown. Instead, he is the only one doing some serious thinking. And now this morning The Sun says that he looks set to be the candidate who will call on Conservatives to 'reclaim the centre ground'.

But I worry that David Willetts is too much of a nice man for the job. He doesn't have the fire in his belly that's been absent from Conservative leaders for a long time, and which I believe would make a refreshing change from the conceited arrogance that's hidden underneath Tony Blair's folksy exterior, as well as the sheep-like attitude of Charles Kennedy. I would like a leader with spirits and guts. I would like a leader who does not talk about Conservatives being ready to 'reclaim the centre ground', but a leader who goes out and takes the centre ground for himself. I would like a leader who will move mountains, not just admire those who reached the top of them first.

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