Over the course of a decade from 2010, Rory Stewart went from being a political outsider to standing for prime minister – before being sacked from a Conservative Party that he had come to barely recognise. Tackling ministerial briefs on flood response and prison violence, engaging with conflict and poverty abroad as a foreign minister, and Brexit as a Cabinet minister, Stewart learned first-hand how profoundly hollow our democracy and government had become. Cronyism, ignorance and sheer incompetence ran rampant.
Around him, individual politicians laid the foundations for the political and economic chaos of today. Stewart emerged battered but with a profound affection for his constituency of Penrith and the Border, and a deep direct insight into the era of populism and global conflict.