Simon Hoggart, 24 April 1997
Michael Heseltine’s dark secret is that he isn’t such a clever politician after all. This absorbing book shows that he has important qualities for an MP and even a minister, but not quite enough of them. He has the ambition, and he certainly has the determination (one friend of his told me that the important thing to remember about Heseltine is that ‘he never, never, ever gives up’). He has the gift of oratory, which is increasingly rare among modern politicians. Like many people whose political opinions are fairly middle of the road, he needs to work himself into a lather of rage when he makes a big speech, which is why his conference set-pieces were always more successful than Mrs Thatcher’s: she was so confident in her beliefs that she didn’t need to shout them out.