IT has all the trappings of a Jacobite romance. A brave young(ish) Stuart – or, in this case, Stewart – travels to the ancestral homeland he doesn’t live in to lead a rebellion, put himself on throne and oversee a return to past glories.

For about 10 minutes after Rory Stewart announced his intention to stand down from his Penrith seat, I wondered with a frisson of excitement whether he might be planning to make a bid for the Scottish Tory leadership.

Would Ruth Davidson be his Flora MacDonald, I pondered, picking Stewart up at Tebay services in Cumbria, ensuring his safe passage to Edinburgh, where he would wait for bands of anti-Boris Conservatives to come marching over Calton Hill, swearing allegiance to their one true king? Or maybe like the other Young Pretender (who also knew a thing or two about how to create a personal brand) he’d come on foot, posting #RoryWalks videos along the way, promising a more soothing type of rebellion.

Okay, okay, I’m getting well and truly carried away here. But I admit to feeling a pang of disappointment when Stewart announced his intention to leave the Conservative Party altogether and carry on another Stuart tradition, that of seeking power, fortune and glory in the capital, by standing as an independent candidate in the London mayoral election next year.

READ MORE: Rory Stewart reveals he was sacked from Conservative Party by text 

Lest we forget, London hasn’t always been a happy or successful place for the Stuart dynasty. But it could yet prove the making of Rory. Explaining his decision, the former cabinet minister and Tory leadership hopeful said shedding the baggage of party politics would allow him to focus on the city’s interests and avoid “dragging towards the extremes” of Johnson or Corbyn. He also launched a scathing attack on the “mutual insults...lazy habits, half-baked ideas and pointless compromises” of our current Westminster politicians. It’s certainly hard to argue with any of that.

And, if he continues to cast himself as he did in the recent Tory leadership contest, as the honest broker, the experienced, calm, softly-spoken healer of wounds, who’s to say he won’t be leading a chastened post-Brexit London this time next year? The hardline Tory membership had no interest in what Stewart has to offer, but I have a feeling Londoners will lap it up.

As the times get ever more despairing, many might also have been interested to see what he would have had to offer Scottish politics, which is why I think it’s rather a shame Stewart didn’t head north and try and knock some sense into the Scottish Conservatives, now hell-bent, it would appear, on following Boris Johnson headfirst into his ditch. Indeed, a break-away, independent Scottish party led by a figure with new ideas and some semblance of authority – Stewart arguably has both – is surely the only hope for Conservatism in Scotland following the English party’s descent into madness.

Instead, following Ms Davidson’s departure from the top job, interim leader Jackson Carlaw has made the decision to jump on the runaway train and back the divisive, dangerous chaos being intentionally whipped up by Johnson, Cummings et al.

Dropping his opposition to a no-deal Brexit at the party conference in Manchester, Mr Carlaw added to former Scottish Secretary David Mundell’s gold-medal-winning disingenuous humbug by describing Mr Johnson as a “passionate, whole-hearted” Unionist, hilariously using the term “moving forward” to explain why he could now countenance leaving without a deal. Such talk is eye-wateringly embarrassing when you consider the vast majority of Tory voters in Scotland don’t want to leave the European Union at all, never mind without a deal.

READ MORE: Rory Stewart resigns from Conservative Party

How Mr Carlaw will handle this gaping discrepancy on the doorstep during the forthcoming General Election campaign is anybody’s guess, though he would do well to note that voters cannot simply unsee the disgraceful events of the last few weeks since Mr Johnson took office.

That said, I don’t doubt that Mr Carlaw and his colleagues will have the temerity to knock doors and, with straight faces, tell voters the Scottish Conservatives are the party of business, the economy and the Union, in the full knowledge that he and his chums enabled a hard-right takeover that is wreaking havoc on everything they claim to represent.

As readers of this column will know, I have been struggling for some time to work out the point of the Scottish Tories now that Brexit is ripping the United Kingdom to pieces. I am no closer to a conclusion. The party has sold its voters down the river without, it would seem, a backwards glance.

With this in mind, I suppose Rory Stewart was sensible to march south instead of north. And he was right to ditch this demented party.