At the end of my piece on Rory Stewart in the current print issue, I mentioned that he was already plotting his leave from Harvard by running for parliament back in the U.K. A quick update on that: Over the weekend, Stewart was adopted as the Conservative candidate for Penrith and Border, which, since this is a safe Tory seat, means he'll be trading in his professorship to become an MP next year.
Alex Massie has some interesting thoughts on whether Stewart's brief for a more modest approach in Afghanistan will find any takers in Parliament:
I don't expect this view to catch on. After all, the increasing Presidentialisation of British politics increases, necessarily, the notion that the Prime Minister possesses magical powers by which he may refashion the country, banishing every ailment and delivering a pony to every six year old girl who wants one. Unicorns too, of course. Even to them that don't want 'em.
Paul Waugh, meanwhile, is touting Stewart as a future prime minister. One thing is clear: Stewart already seems to have surpassed the man to whom he's so frequently compared: T.E. Lawrence. In an interview with the Guardian's Jason Burke last spring, Stewart seemed bitter about the way he'd been treated by the British establishment, going so far as to quote from memory parts of this letter Rudyard Kipling wrote to Lawrence after the British Foreign Office declared Lawrence persona non grata for favoring the Arabs over the French:
[W]e are all sitting in the middle of wrecked hopes and broken dreams. . . . But you will not go out of the game--except for the necessary minute to step aside and vomit. You are young and the bulk of the men in charge are "old, cold, and of intolerable entrails" and a lot of 'em will be dropping out soon.
Of course, Lawrence never really did get back in the game. It looks like Stewart will.