POLITICAL BLIND DATE: LABOUR’S DIANE ABBOTT MEETS CONSERVATIVE RORY STEWART
Article first published in The Guardian on 4 April 2015.
Rory on Diane
She was lovely. I liked the fact that she started by asking questions and took an interest. She was funny and relaxed. I was a bit intimidated, actually, going to meet her. I thought she might make it very political – “I despise everything you stand for: you’re an evil person” – and she didn’t do that at all.
What did you talk about?
I had these lovely visions of her with her grandfather in Jamaica, checking out the men coming to take her out. She was very touching about her son, too – the sense in which she’s giving him space. He sounds very different from her, and she was very comfortable with that.
What did you agree on?
We both still believe that this job is about ideas. It’s not about procedures and the Chamber.
What did you disagree on?
I don’t agree with this idea that the dream is to make Britain into Scandinavia, with better weather. Diane sees Scandinavian countries as being a great ideal – social justice, equality, innovation, prosperity. But Britain is a larger, richer, more untidy country, in the best sense of the word. We are 10 times the size of Denmark. A lot of Danish people I know want to get out of Copenhagen and move to London. They get bored living in Denmark.