Brains headache

October 11, 1996

Alumnus to be proud of No: 70 follows Sir Keith Joseph, William Waldegrave, Robert Jackson and many others in offering convincing evidence of the vulnerability of extreme intellectual talents.

Far from providing a shield against the more obvious pitfalls of political life, great minds are more likely to tempt their owners into elephant traps evaded by the less gifted.

David Willetts, the fast-rising Conservative whip, formerly director of both the Centre for Policy Studies and the Number 10 Downing Street Policy Unit is so clever that he is known to his friends as "Two Brains".

We don't know where the brain responsible for an impressive track record in creative political thinking went to university.

But the one which holds meetings with leading Conservative members of the Members Privileges Committee and then writes indiscreet memos which are embarrassingly leaked to the press undoubtedly attended Christ Church, Oxford and was awarded a first-class degree in philosophy, politics and economics.

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