04:55 GMT +314 October 2019
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    Rory Stewart

    Twitter 'Is Not Just for Trump' and ‘Politicians Have no Souls’ - Tory MP Rory Stewart

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    Tory MP Rory Stewart was the ‘outlier’ in this year’s prime ministerial race, taking selfie videos in Kew Gardens and fidgeting through the parliamentary debates. Now he’s back, promoting social media as a tool to ‘jump over the heads of the mass media’ to ensure that the important stuff gets printed.

    Speaking at his first public event since resigning from government, Rory Stewart criticised the current climate of media and politics. With an air of bemusement, Stewart likens the mass media to "extremists", saying that he prefers to go straight to social media with social issues.

    "I think we've got to learn to make the arguments from the centre-ground, through Facebook, through Twitter, and through Instagram, we can't feed it to the extremists".

    The Conservative MP for Penrith and the Borders explained how he himself has seen the positives of building news via social media platforms. When asked about his social media legacy, Stewart explained that during the presidential race, the media was more concerned with his "smoking opium", than his ideas for parliamentary policy.

    "I would give an interview for the Daily Telegraph on adult social care. And they would ignore it completely and just write about smoking opium in Iran. I would then put out a small video, which I record number on adult social care, which the Telegraph thought was too boring to print, and 650,000 people would watch it".

    The Conservative Party politician is well known for his social media cameos. Short videos of Stewart roaming around the UK are rife on his Twitter feed.

    He visits hospitals, abbeys, gardens, and parks- where he invites residents to come and join in on his "#RoryWalks".

    It’s on these walks that Stewart explores issues of homelessness, heroin abuse, Brexit and the like. He says he prefers talking to ‘people in doorways’ than addressing his peers in parliament.

    It was through this tactic that Rory Stewart earned fame and popularity during the prime ministerial race, allowing him to come a "very respectable fifth" in the run-up.

    By using social media videos to get these issues across, Stewart "jumps over the heads" of a scandal-happy media.

    He says this provides a "huge power to actually include people when talking about the things that they deeply, deeply care about".

    Beaming about the benefits of the new media format, Stewart warned that the use of social media in politics should not be allowed to remain only "in the domain of Donald Trump"- stating that ‘we’ve got to take that back".

    The Conservative MP made the comments in an interview with Guardian journalist Charlotte Higgins, at an Edinburgh International Book Festival event. Fitting for the occasion, Rory Stewart sprinkled his speech with fantasy.

    He claimed that he felt "lonely", as a sitting centrist, positioned in a polarised House of Commons, between a "Conservative Party, which is now lining up behind Boris for a no-deal Brexit and Labour and the Lib Dems who are increasingly pushing for a second referendum and remain".

    The MP was rather negative about politics in general, bemoaning the current political climate, where he said that the chosen "leader is the person that can produce the most absurd and extravagant fairy-tale".

    Instead of focussing on the paradise at the end of the pathway, Stewart thinks that politicians should spend more time analysing the stepping stones by which to get there.

    "Somehow in the world of politics, the prize goes to the person who can make the most extravagant and improbable claim- and the word that has been lost in the debate is the word "How". Nobody is asking the question, well: ‘How are you going to get from A to B?".

    In one fell swoop, Rory Stewart took down his peers - when he said that politicians "have no souls", saying that no one write about politicians because they are not very interesting people". "They have no private life. If you peel the onion, there is nothing there".

    Rory Stewart quit his post when Boris Johnson became prime minister, saying that he could not serve under somebody that pushes a hard-Brexit.

    In his first public appearance since then, Stewart said that he expects to be branded a "traitor" for voting against a Hard-Brexit, saying that he expects his political career to be damaged for "up to a decade".


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