A synopsis of Isabel Oakeshott’s interview with William Hague in the Sunday Times:
He has had a remarkable transformation from failed anorak to immensely popular politician and speaker (his latest Conservative Member’s Panel rating will be revealed on Monday).
- "There is a completely different atmosphere in politics when you have a good chance of winning".
- Hague qualifies his "disproportionate" statement on the Lebanon crisis, saying: "our concern about Israeli actions has been those that appear to have been only tenuously or unrelated to Hezbollah".
- In response to the firestorm caused by the statement – with strong disapproval from both Party donors and the Conservative Friends of Israel he says: "We’re not going to frame foreign policy on the grounds of who’s going
to get upset. If we tried to do that, we’d never be able to say
anything at all".
- Forcefully denies Cameron knows little about foreign policy, and says they carefully agree on everything together.
- Being a successful leader of the opposition "requires the
right sort of food, sleep and exercise, which needs rigorous policing". He advises Cameron to eat vegetable soup.
- Do you miss being leader? "I’ve got that all out of my system. Totally…I’m a fan of DC and I enjoy working with him, and I’ve only come back to
help him win the next election. I don’t ever want to be leader again
myself. I could happily write books instead. I enjoy that at least as
much as politics."
- Some party insiders claim he suffered a near nervous breakdown in the aftermath of his exit. He says that his resignation "taught him that there’s more to life than politics".
- On having more women candidates, he wishes he has been more radical when he was leader but believes the party is now "very willing to accept change".
- Ahead of travelling to India with George Osborne and Liam Fox, Hague advocates a reappraisal of British foreign policy (to that of the Cavaliers?): "It has been too Eurocentric in the past 20 years. A much higher level
of engagement with the Pacific and Indian Ocean nations is important.".
- He believes that military force and espousal of democracy are not enough to defeat Islamic terrorism.