Unlike his fellows, empathy but no knowledge…

I am often impressed with Rory Stewart’s thinking ability, and, unlike the current Conservative Despot in Downing Street, he is a gentleman and not a ‘cad’ – or worse.

So this is a video from what I consider the thinking man’s Conservative (though, for sure, some have suggested that that this very idea is an oxymoron):

Unsurprisingly he abhors what he has found in visiting foodbanks in the North East.

Yet he finds the solutions ‘very difficult’.

His party colleagues, by contrast, found causing many of these problems pretty easy.

Stewart went to Eton and is a former diplomat. He is certainly more educated than most of us (and certainly me) but seems never to have heard of money.

Isn’t it time for civics to be retaught in schools and for an A* to be required for all prospective MP’s?

Even – or perhaps especially – for those from Eton?


  1. brian faux -

    There seems to be a fundamental logical problem with Tory thinking: AFAIK they have two fairly fundamental principles (inter alia) 1. That the best economic and societal outcomes are achieved by free competition in a free market and 2.each individual has the right to control and bequeath their wealth.
    Neither of these principles is necessarily wrong but they are logically incompatible.
    So Tories are either stupid (or charitably, ignorant) or hypocrites – I don`t see another option.

  2. Andrew Dickie -

    I’d agree with the fundamental principles, Brian, but would add in two deeper “givens” of Tory thinking, two “Weltanschaungen”

    The first is “the argument from nature” and the second is “the double double standard”.

    The first, “the argument from nature”, holds that Conservatism is “natural”, and in accordance with human nature. Further, any system operated by a Conservative society is also therefore “natural”, so that any system contrary to a Conservative system is “deviant”.

    Two things derive from this, prior to the second “given”: first, any involvement in non-Conservative politics is “playing at politics” and unacceptably “bringing in politics” when “common sense” should suffice.

    The second thing is that Conservatism is – or used to be – almost totally unreflective, so that “whatever is, is right and natural” providing it is the current take on things, totally overlooking the fact that things change.

    So a feudalist would have eschewed the merchant class, by what they were superseded, to become the new “natural” in the 16th century.

    And this constitutes the second attitude derived from the argument from nature, which brings me to the second given, “the double double standard”.

    This simply says, “Our politics is natural, so we’re allowed double standards, as in nature. Your politics is deviant, so unnatural, so you’re not allowed double standards.”

    Beautifully illustrated in the 2017 General Election, when Labour’s fully coated manifesto was constantly met with the question “How are you going to pay for it?”, while the uncosted Tory Manifesto was hardly probed on this at all, and had Theresa May not allowed the “death tax” meme to emerge (along with numerous other faux pas, I agree, such as ducking the debates, and holding fake public meetings in half empty factories) she’d probably have won a reasonable majority.

    Two last points – Richard Murphy always say the correct answer to “How are you going to pay for it?” is to say, “By creating the money, and putting people to work!”.

    Secondly, anyone who doubts my “argument from nature”, should try being a non-Conservative Councillor, and see how differently your involvement in politics is treated from a colleague who is a Conservative Councillor.

    Not my actual experience, as I was a Labour Councillor while employed, but fellow Labour Councillors were able to tell me of differences in treatment.

    1. Peter May -

      That’s avery interesting take. When things change do the Conservatives just accept it as the new natural without considering that last year the old natural was something else?
      As you say perhaps a lack of reflection is a precondition for Conservatism hence you have the idiot Raab who was surprised so much of our trade was via Dover- Calais, although he’s been to both Oxford and Cambridge! How the hell did they accept him?
      It’s obviously not required by them, but I wonder if there is any philosophical/ anthropological back up for Conservatism being ‘natural’?
      It must be opposed to problem solving, because it believes, I imagine, that ‘the tears of the world are a constant quantity’….

  3. Bill Hughes -

    Good points raised above. From this Rory Stewart is probably put in the category of “deviant” by the Conservative upper echelons as he certainly has in the past challenged strict Tory orthodoxy.

  4. Andrew (Andy) Crow -

    “…. “the argument from nature”, holds that Conservatism is “natural”, and in accordance with human nature…..”

    Yes….I get this. It’s how political conservatives get away with dismissing any kind of socially progressive policy as ‘playing at politics’.

    The word ‘Political’ is used derisively to describe anything not conservative.

    They also get away with complaining about ‘government intervention’ whenever such intervention threatens their getting the lions’ share of whatever government money is to be had. Government intervention for example through the legal system of establishing and upholding property rights is simply ignored as being ‘just the natural order of things’.

    The proponents of free markets will not accept that without governance the default currency of the free market is violence. Yet they expect that those they pillage and rob will pay for the legal system and policing that keeps their own spoils secure.

  5. Andrew (Andy) Crow -

    Apart from a fleeting reference to Universal Credit (which I infer he admits is not doing what is needed) he seems to have absolutely no appreciation that these levels of social deprivation and misery are the direct result of four decades of governments’ dalliance with the neoliberal experiment.

    If that’s the sort of perception that the educated Etonian has it’s high time the place was shut down and the present management jailed as charlatans.

    He has about him a look of gormless mystification …..what could possibly be causing things to go so dreadfully badly, he seems to be asking.

    …and he is supposedly representative of the more enlightened, and moderate end of the Tory political spectrum !! Likely indeed to be one of those to lose the whip and be expelled from his party ……..

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