Monday, October 02, 2006

Hague's Speech

William Hague is a great speaker and his latest effort (this downloads a .wmv file) was no exception. It was genuinely funny, superbly timed and weighted and had some great attacks on the Labour record on important issues combined with funny character assassination.

However, that doesn't make me nostalgic for his days as leader. Hague is an excellent speaker but to be a leader requires political judgement in spades and this is what I don't see in Hague to a sufficient level to make a great leader of the Conservative Party. While it is probably true that no one could have won an election from his position the excessive focus on Europe and immigration of his campaign helped entrench the idea of us as a right wing pressure group rather than future government and this was a real harm to the party's prospects.

I'm also not sure about his stances as Shadow Foreign secretary. I disagree with his stance that the Israeli incursion into Lebanon was disproportionate for reasons highlighted by Krauthammer although I do suspect that it was incompetent. The EPP exit delay I am deeply ambivalent about and don't see the delay as being a breaking of a promise. He hasn't been making the noise about Afghanistan that I think he probably should be. The jury is still out on his performance in such a vital role.

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