I know others will have their favourites, and others still will favour a "none of the above" option... but Gove's performance at Leveson certainly puts him in the running according to the commentariat, so I think this field of four is realistic.
Surely nobody thinks the Tories will win outright at the next GE, or that Cameron will be in place in five years time?
Admittedly two, Johnson and Hannan, will first need to find favorable Westminster seats to contest.
1. Osborne has clearly had his eye on the top job for a while, but is not generally viewed as a sympathetic figure. And it is questionable whether the "author of the cuts" will ever win the public's confidence.
2. Hannan though popular with Euroskeptics is little known outside the Westminster village excusing one YouTube appearance years ago. Though charismatic and personable, he is a baldy (like me) which is never a good sign in our image-obsessed modern politics. He is known to already have his eye on Eastleigh, as a potential by-election route to the Commons.
3. Johnson has been touted since his re-election as London mayor as a "saviour" of the right, the one Tory to come up smelling of roses at the drubbing the Tories got at the last election. But Boris too needs a seat, he's getting on a bit, and has a far from perfect public image.
4. Gove is now pulling into the field as a potential, and on paper he looks good: a former newspaper man he knows how to work the press well (and his Leveson performance will earn him still more friends), his performance in Education is an application of conservative principles strikingly lacking in other departments, and he is a man of unique articulacy and intelligence. Though many think he does not pass the "blink test" and comes across as "odd" to the general public.
PLEASE VOTE ABOVE - and if you can, tell us your reasons why below... Thanks BDF-ers!