The Economist: “The most interesting candidate for the Tory leadership”

Adrian Woodridge, political editor of The Economist, writes that Rory Stewart is providing the Tory party with a map and a compass:

According to the normal rules of politics, Mr Stewart should be nothing but an afterthought in the race. Yet Mr Stewart’s campaign has caused a surprising stir with the public, thanks to a combination of Heath Robinson improvisation when it comes to campaign techniques and high seriousness when it comes to policy...

[T]he Conservatives shouldn’t just be using this election to decide who replaces Theresa May. They should be using it to decide what direction the party takes after the twin traumas of the financial crisis and the Brexit vote. Mr Stewart is providing the party with a map and a compass. He argues that the Tories need to rediscover their historical role as the party of realism.

He argues that the best way to deal with populism is to steal some of its clothes. Politicians should do more to tackle the “small injustices in daily life”, such as the fact that disgraced businessmen can keep their knighthoods. He thinks the best way to resolve the tension between parliamentary and direct democracy, inherent in the attempts to implement the referendum result, is to create an intermediate body—a “citizens’ assembly”, equipped with the power to call expert witnesses but freed from the discipline of parties—to produce a blueprint which it then submits to Parliament. He recognises that the Conservatives need to learn more about the country they aspire to govern, which means getting out and talking to people who aren’t their natural constituents. His campaign team is particularly proud that their polling shows he is the most popular Tory candidate among young voters.

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Rory Stewart