Bild på författaren.

Rory Stewart

Författare till The Places In Between

10+ verk 3,469 medlemmar 99 recensioner 8 favoritmärkta

Om författaren

Rory Stewart is a former infantry officer, diplomat in Indonesia and Yugoslavia, and fellow at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government

Inkluderar namnen: Rory Stewart, Rory Steward

Verk av Rory Stewart

Associerade verk

Arabian Sands (1959) — Inledning, vissa utgåvor1,213 exemplar
Vägen till Oxanien (1937) — Förord, vissa utgåvor1,208 exemplar
Granta 78: Bad Company (2002) — Bidragsgivare — 136 exemplar
Oxtravels: Meetings with Remarkable Travel Writers (2011) — Bidragsgivare — 54 exemplar
Flightless: Incredible Journeys Without Leaving the Ground (2008) — Bidragsgivare — 23 exemplar


Allmänna fakta



I had the good fortune, perhaps I should say the privilege, to meet Rory Stewart several times during his period as Minister of State at the Ministry of Justice, during which time he was generally referred to by the media as ‘the Prisons Minister’. Indeed, such was his profile at that time that I suspect that many of the public thought he was in charge of the department, although it was Rt Hon David Gauke who was Secretary of State. Stewart and Gauke had a strong working relationship (which has not always … indeed, seldom … been the case between ministers in some of the other departments in which I have worked). That relationship worked because both Gauke and Stewart were small L liberals, intent upon improving a system that had been creaking under the burden of years, or perhaps even decades, of poor administration and lamentable under-funding. But more of that in a moment.

Rory Stewart’s path into politics was unusual. He had previously served as a soldier and then a diplomat, and had acted as Deputy Governor of one of the provinces of Iraq following the invasion by American and British forces in 2003. He had also undertaken spells as an academic, teaching at Yale University. Having decided to enter politics, he was initially unsure which most closely aligned with his own views, eventually becoming Conservative MP for Penrith and the Borders (the largest parliamentary constituency by area in England). He sets out a lot of the frustrations that a constituency MP faces, especially when their constituency is as geographically remote from London – even the simple act of travelling to and from the constituency took up so much time. He also sets out in some details a lot of the ridiculous ritual and time-wasting that makes Parliament so laborious, and which contributes so heavily to the growing public disengagement from the political process. He shows the complete intransigence of the Whips, whose insistence upon toeing the party line provokes resentment among otherwise loyal backbenchers.

When he eventually succeeded in securing a ministerial appointment, during the administration of David Cameron, he found himself as a junior minister in Defra – the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. While this made sense given his rural constituency, he found he had little scope for action. During his time in Defra the Secretary of State was Liz Truss (another minister with whom I have had close involvement, having been her Correspondence manager while she was parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Education).. Following her brief (so brief) tenure as Prime Minister, she has become the butt of much humour suggesting her lack of grasp or realistic perspective. Stewart’s depiction of her as Secretary of State at Defra more than backs that up, although I wondered whether the depiction included the benefit of hindsight. Based on my own experience (I generally had to be reintroduced to her each week, although whether that reflects worse upon her powers of focus and recall, or my wholesale lack of personal impact, is for the reader to determine.), I would be inclined to agree with his judgement

Stewart’s next ministerial role was as a Foreign Office minister, under the then Foreign Secretary (and another future Prime Minister) Boris Johnson. I am not going to offer too many of my own thoughts about him. Stewart’s portrayal (again, possibly tainted by the intrusion of hindsight) is of someone who had no strong grasp of what was happening around him, or of any clearly delineated policy.

Stewart is harsh about many of the officials with whom he had to work at these departments, and that continues when he comes to address his move to the Ministry of Justice. He quite clearly had a very low opinion of the Permanent Secretary there (and perhaps tactfully refrains from naming him). That is fair enough – it closely matches the opinion that I and most of my colleagues had about him, too. I feel that he is, however, rather unfair about the officials working in HM Prison and Probations Service, finding them lacking in imagination, innovation or dedication. From my vantage point in the Ministerial briefing and Communications Division, I felt that any lack of imagination, innovation or dedication on the part of the prison service was an inescapable consequence of having been ground down by the frustration of dealing with Stewart’s predecessors who seemed impermeable to advice or the evidence of precedent. Still, that, too, is for others to judge.

He gives a wonderful depiction of his first appearance before the Justice Select Committee, alongside the Chief Executive of the Prisons and Probation Service. He was a prickly character – a former prison officer, prison governor and long-term official, who was venerated by prison staff – and the Committee went after him with a vengeance. They were, however, markedly different when confronting Minister Stewart, on whom they showered their approbation although he had only been in post for a couple of weeks. My colleagues and I watched the Committee session – often almost peering through clenched hands from behind the sofa as they tore into the Chief Executive – and I remember feeling that I had never seen a parliamentary scrutiny committee be so unctuous towards a government minister.

The rest of the book recounts the divisions that fell across Westminster, and indeed the country as a whole, as parliament went through repeated deadlock while trying to resolve the Brexit impasse. That was such a painful period to live through that I haven’t the heart to comment more deeply on it here. However, Rory Stewart’s account of it, and the impact of the principal characters such as Theresa May, Jeremy Corbyn and Boris Johnson is fascinating. While it is uncomfortable reading through the accounts of such turbulent and recent history, Stewart does lend an intriguing angle to it all.
… (mer)
Eyejaybee | 3 andra recensioner | Nov 27, 2023 |
Authentic and absolutely chilling.
LilyBart | 3 andra recensioner | Sep 28, 2023 |
Anyone who has ever met me, knows that I am about as far from being a Conservative as it is possible to be: that's one thing that I seem to have in common with Rory Stewart.

I started this book quite liking Mr Stewart; by the time that I was thirty pages in, I wanted to say some exceedingly rude things to him then, by the time I got to the last page, I felt sorry for him.

The reason for my initial ire was the immense air of righteous deservedness about his ascension to Parliament and his expectation to enter the cabinet: didn't these people know who his people were? It eventually dawned upon me that the Houses of Parliament are filled with two types of people. There are the sons (and it is still mainly males in the top echelons) of Colonels or the Duke of... who expect the old boys (see previous parentheses) network to lead to instant installation at the top of government, and the ordinary Joe (and now Jane) Bloggs who are overawed by the stench of privilege: how does one react when the peg for your coat has a hanger for a sword next to it? (Remember, the vast majority of the House is not nearly as old as it pretends.)

Stewart, by his own admission, enters into politics with no knowledge of the game, just a feeling that he ought to give something back and he, of course, knows what the proles need! Stewart illuminates a stage filled with like minded players. He confirms the belief that most politicians have an incredibly light grasp of any concept of truth - always tell people what they want to hear and then, do what you want.

By the end of the book, I realised that Stewart was one of the good guys (for a Tory!); he can't help his education any more than anyone else, and I think that he really wanted to make things better. The second thing that I realised was that the arrival of Boris Johnson, a poor man's Donald Trump, was inevitable in a system that encourages bravado and testosterone filled antics. I am more certain than ever, that we need a new political system.
… (mer)
the.ken.petersen | 3 andra recensioner | Sep 26, 2023 |
Although not a Conservative supporter I have always had a respect for Rory Stewart.

Here in his political memoir he confirms much of my suspicions about our Parliamentary system and its lack of democratic behaviour. Prime Ministers use the party whips to control how its Members vote, and as Stewart found to his cost, choosing to go against the whip will send you into the weeds for years (5 in his case) where you will be given no promotion to any kind of Cabinet position.

He did good work as Minister for prisons, in International Development and the Foreign office, as well as for his constituency.

Despite his honesty about the negative aspects of certain individuals, and the system, he has a generosity of spirit towards many of those he has worked with: MPs, Civil Servants and others.
… (mer)
Caroline_McElwee | 3 andra recensioner | Sep 24, 2023 |



Du skulle kanske också gilla


Även av

Tabeller & diagram