Rory Stewart self-promotes again with another easy interview:
Stewart does not conceal his distaste for Johnson. ‘He’s not my type of person,’ he says. ‘We’re complete chalk and cheese…I’m suspicious of the whole show. I instinctively don’t like the evasions, the equivocations, the jokes, the punchiness, the lack of earnestness.’
In fact, once you take away the clear differences in their earnestness, Rory is startingly similar to Boris. They’re both self-promoters. Both are convinced that they’re born for greatness. Both are good at making people they talk to feel important. Both have more independence of mind than the average politician, but neither have anywhere near as much independence of mind as they think.
He still insists he’s a Conservative:
‘I’m in many ways a Conservative,’ he says, citing his belief in tradition, the monarchy, the military, limited government and restraint.
That’s all in the abstract, though. What he he actually done that is conservative? Well, earlier on he had talked about the difficulties of being a Minister, and trying to get his pet projects through:
‘As Environment Minister I fought very hard to try and introduce ultra-low-emission zones but was blocked by the Treasury. I tried to set more ambitious standards for cars and was blocked by pressure from the automobile industry. I tried to achieve bans on plastic coffee cups and was blocked by Number 10,’ he complains as he unwittingly sips tea from a disposable cup. ‘I was able to introduce a plastic-bag tax, but in the end it was me signing a piece of paper when seven or eight years of previous ministers had tried to do it and I was just lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time.’
So what he burned to achieve when he had the chance was… banning things. Banning the same things that Guardianistas want to ban. Of all the conservative things he could have tried to do, the man whose hero is TE Lawrence focused on trying to… ban plastic coffee cups.
I was originally going to say that London’s the place for him, but really, he should be overseas. He’s like Lawrence, he’s one of those talented Brits who stagnate in Britain, but who thrive in alien environments.
Update: Or maybe Rory is the British version of Beto O’Rourke, who has just dropped out of the Democrat nomination race:
Beto’s run has been a comedy of errors. A Kerouac-style vision quest driving aimlessly around the country that he journaled on his web diary. Instagramming a gross dental appointment. Leaping on tables, windmilling his arms, and shouting about the promise of hope to help change what is possible for the future of hopeful promises.
Sound like anyone we know?