This is not quite a parochial post as the Leader chosen by the 160,000 members of the Conservative Party will also be the Prime Minister - so everyone has an interest in these hustings. Here are my initial opinions
Mediocity is one of the French bourgouis virtues (Assiduité, Economie, Mediocrité, Conjugalité, Tenacité, Optomisme, Dynamisme, Modernité*) but it's never been an English one. Yet this field of runners has more mediocre, almost unrecognisable, candidates than any other I can remember. And a good deal of utterly unrealistic self-love from those who have absolutely no chance.
Boris Johnson - Best election-winner but a man with flaws. He frightens the EU and is the biggest obstacle to the Brexit Party's ambitions. Can he be trusted to deliver? That's the question
Dominic Raab - Bland and clean with good Brexit credentials but does he have leadership charisma - the sort that comforts Remainers and wins Conservative voters back to the fold?
Michael Gove - Pretty well loathed by the public for being a didactic arse and by Tory Brexiteers for betraying Boris, his loyalty to May will not have helped him. No electoral charisma, a cold technocrat. Might make a decent Chancellor so long as he is sackable.
Andrea Leadsom - Decent all-rounder with a spine who was not afraid to stand up to the sanctimonious dwarf. Sufficient distance from May to be credible. But however unfair, illogical and plain wrong it may be, I have a feeling in my water that being a woman may disadvantage her this time around and next time she may be just a liitle too long in the tooth.
Jeremy Hunt - Another bland and clean minister of indeterminate age indeterminate accomplishments and indeterminate ability. I can't recall a single interesting thing about him.
Penny Mordaunt - I like Penny. A lot. Her maiden speech still stands out for warmth, real humour, intelligence and a finely judged use of opportunity without seeming forward. She has myriad sterling qualities. However, the one she lacks - through no fault of her own - is ministerial / cabinet experience. Our next Leader (but one).
Rory Stewart - The Party's fantasist - both with a record of making stuff up and the delusion that he is electable. Said to be an original thinker. He has a weird face.
Sajid Javid - Clean and bland and calculating. He's nursed his career with an eye to the top spot and puts his credentials on public display in a noticeable way. But what does he believe in, apart from himself?
Amber Rudd - Just No. Her delusion that she can partner with Boris is pure unrealistic fantasy, just like her support of May's treasonous deal
David Lidington - David would win prizes for mediocrity. If Blandness were an Olympic event, he'd take gold.
Matthew Hancock - Who?
James Cleverly - Another of the Dulwich School hopefuls. A real crawler. No real ability.
Steve Baker - A competent man with real beliefs. Also a trained engineer and ex-RAF officer. Ideologically sound. Superb ministerial material - but does he connect with voters?
Esther McVey - Again, a strong and capable personality with her feet on the ground. Much respect. Again, good cabinet material but does she have a natural sense of humour? Humour is important to me. Not essential, but I find those that have it are better people.
*All English Men Chew Toffee On Dreary Mondays has fixed these tedious virtues in my head for forty years.