- being clever enough (ideally, a bit cunning)
- stamina, not to say relentlessness
- scrubbing up nicely
- being thought a decent chap(ess)
- delivering a good soundbite in a nice tone of voice
- not frightening the horses
- knowing your limitations
- surrounding yourself with really bright people you can trust
That said, I've tended to think that she ticks boxes 1-7 above. It's her people that are the problem. By their acolytes shall ye know them, and hers don't give grounds for confidence. I've never met Nick Timothy, so there's an element of speculation about this - but hey, this is a blog, not a newspaper of record. I'd say he's neither really bright, nor someone who can be wholly trusted by May.
Can't be trusted? I say that not because of the recent cock-ups that are laid at his door (the profile in the link above says he's "capable of spotting, amid a mass of papers, problems which could turn out to be serious" - Oh yeah?).
It's because he seems to be using May to further his personal agenda. And that is something the Person at the Top should not tolerate. When you sign up as a hired brain, you check your own agenda in at the door.
BTW, Crick's got his number, too.