Question Time last night was a cracker. The audience in Middlesborough contained a lot of understandably upset steelworkers and their friends and families. There was a genuine sense of a community damaged.
Enter Spitting Image refugee and all round pompous buffoon Roy Hattersley, who blatantly milked the sentiment by making ridiculous promises to spend oodles of money on the industry – a decision he will thankfully never have to make – then smugly challenging the panellists to match him. What a prat.
The spotlight was on Rory Stewart, Tory candidate for the safe Penrith seat, and old school British adventurer. He revealed a superbly adroit touch in deflecting Hattersley’s pathetic challenge (16min 45 sec on, on BBC iPlayer), and proceeded to hold the audience and panel in his grasp with a subtle and self-deprecating outline of his views on Afghanistan. Very impressive indeed.
Stewart is no Dave clone. He seems as far removed from the ghastly Joanne Cash as it is possible to be. He is also courteous, intelligent and tough. His Afghan review is well worth reading, as is his means of getting to know his constituency.
The next Parliament will benefit hugely from some of these talented PPC’s – Jesse Norman is another. You can only hope it’s not too boring for them. Rory Stewart for Foreign Secretary?