Rory Stewart’s Diary: My walk around Britain and why politicians must talk about love

In the New Statesman, Rory speaks about his efforts to meet with different communities across the country on his #RoryWalks tour:

In my race to be Conservative leader and prime minister, I’m walking through different parts of the United Kingdom, going up to people in the street and trying to engage them in conversations about politics. I hope to demonstrate that there is a way of winning an election and changing the country for the better – that does not involve a no-deal Brexit. More than that, I want to prove that a no-deal Brexit divides party and country and leads to electoral defeat. I am hoping that these conversations – played out on social media – will begin to show my colleagues that there are at least some people who might change their vote to Conservative if we change our policy and approach…

Does it make a difference to my ability to communicate these problems that I have doubled my social media following in the past week? My rather earnest post on adult social care has got more than 600,000 views. One of my interviews on no-deal Brexit has been seen more than two million times in two days (compared to perhaps 50,000 views for my rivals). I have Gary Lineker and Brian Cox tweeting about me. And Arron Banks. People have concluded that I must have some PR genius. (The truth is that I’ve been doing all of this for about nine years without anyone really paying any attention: it’s me, and someone holding a camera.) But there are moments when I wonder what it could take to change minds.

Part of the secret must be to sharpen and strengthen my language. There must be a way of talking about compromise between no-deal Brexit and Remain that does not sound like simply a weakening or a greying. Is it Heraclitus’s insight that opposites need to be held together, rather than cancelling each other out? That truth comes reciprocally into being? And if my central mission is about trying to heal, to bring people together, to insist on relationships instead of division, is it possible for a politician to talk about love?

Read the full article here.      

Rory Stewart