It says something about politics that such a person can rise to the top. You have to be clever and capable enough to make yourself indispensable to a succession of favor-granting power-holders, and dogged enough to plow on ahead through all the slights and embarrassments that come with having an unattractive personality. Perhaps the fact that a person as un-amiable as Heath could succeed, is an indication of how very small is the pool of energetic, capable people in government. Time and again, his superiors must have sighed and said: “Well, I suppose it’ll have to be Ted, then,” to groans and protests from those in earshot.
As I said, now it all makes sense.