I spent a fascinating evening yesterday in the company of Rory Stewart, MP for for Penrith and the Borders, at a charity fundraising event in Gloucestershire.
Rory is an old Etonian, was briefly an infantry man in the Black Watch, was with
the foreign office in Bosnia and then deputy governor in two provinces in the
marsh regions of Iraq. He walked 6000 miles across Afghanistan before founding
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the Turquoise Mountain Charity, has been a professor at Harvard University and
is now a (sadly Tory) MP, and has published several books.
Rory gave a
fascinating presentation in which he drew parallels between life in Afghanistan
and life in Cumbria; the ancient culture, the founding of society, the skills
that have been passed from generation to generation, the hospitality of the
I tried to persuade him to cross the floor of the house and
become leader of the opposition, without success and teased him gently about
being a spook. He didn't take that bait!
Still, Rory is one of the few
Tories I have respect for (another being our local MP Richard Graham) and it
wouldn't surprise me if in a few years time I am telling my children about the
evening I sent with the now Prime Minister, Rory Stewart. Currently I can only
tell them about the evening I spent with David Cameron; not as rewarding an
evening I can promise you!