As Tory leadership contender Rory Stewart roamed the districts of outer London yesterday, talking to unsuspecting members of the public about his bid to be Prime Minister, it’s probably fair to say that he had a number of unusual conversations along the way.
But it seems that the oddest encounter he had wasn’t with an abrasive member of the public, but the broadcaster and journalist Jon Snow, who for some reason interviewed the contender in the back of a taxi.
Introducing the segment on Channel 4 yesterday, Snow led by saying:
‘I put it to him, that as a graduate of Eton and Oxford he was just another member of the elite.’
Stewart rather gamely replied that although he had been to a posh school, he had lots of experience mixing with people outside the elite on his travels in Afghanistan and elsewhere. But undeterred, Snow pressed on and remarkably said that:
‘In a sense that’s an imperial past. That is exactly how the leaders of the 18th, 19th and 20th century lived.’
The line of questioning was even more unusual when you consider Jon Snow’s own rough upbringing. The son of a schoolmaster and grandson of a first world war general, Snow grew up at the prestigious Ardingly College and won a choral scholarship to a prep school.
Which sounds suspiciously like an ‘imperial’ past to Mr S…