It was a rubbish analogy, had Rory stopped to think about it. It has been taken up in other forms by commentators assuring us that Boris Johnson simply cannot deliver on a promise to leave the EU by 31 October 2019, and with the same assured nodding we have been familiar with over the last three years, and which stays knowing and assured every time the nodders are shown to be completely wrong.
The Channel 4 debate was a week ago but it seems like an age way. You may remember how the audience chuckled when Rory Stewart animatedly told us that when his wife wants him to put three bin bags in the outside bin, and they will not fit, it is not enough to “Believe in the Bin”, which somehow related to leaving the European Union.
Chuckle a moment then think about the position: there is a man known for his resourcefulness faced with an overladen bin, and his sole solution is to jam yet another bag into the same inadequate receptacle; then unable to do so, he declares there is no solution, so the bin will not be filled. Others on the panel appeared to agree: they wanted a delay in the bin collection until they have worked out how to shrink the rubbish, or to agree to take some of the rubbish back in possibly. That limited thinking will get us nowhere. The bin lorry is coming. Think around it.
Firstly, do not become obsessed with the dark mouth of that one bin and the one solution. The aim is not to fill one bin in one conventional way, but to get the rubbish out of the house as quickly as possible before it begins to stink. The one bin going into the standard collection is the easy, conventional solution, but not to only one.
Try shifting some of the rubbish already in there, and use that half-plank left behind the shed from when you were making shelves to jam it down: not so much that the rubbish will not slide out when tipped into the dustcart, but enough to make space. Then fit another bag round it. Try taking some things out for the recycling bin instead – you might have missed them before. Is there still not enough room? Well, so far you have not left the narrow confines of the mouth of that conventional bin.
(You should have put the bins out before they started getting so full.)
Do the bin men accept loose bags outside the normal bin? Will they empty a second bin? They might take a second bin if you pay them cash-in-hand, but that is your household savings and you must resist. If you are still staring at the bin, you are still being unimaginative.
Take bags out of the bin, and leave space for when you actually need it. Then put those bags in the back of the car and drive them round to the municipal dump. If it is closed, Google around and find one that is open.
If desperate, you can even have a bonfire.
The point is, you need to get the priority right, and not mistake the usual solution for the actual intention. Do not believe in the bin if the bin is inadequate but get the job done that you are called to do, and that job is not filling a bin.
You may be accused by your neighbours of opposing the bin collection, of wanting a no-collection solution, but that misses the point: the collection is not the aim. You do want a collection; it is just that this collection does not do the job, does not rid your house of the rubbish.
Mrs May’s failing was tunnel-vision: she concentrated on the bin collection, getting her Withdrawal Agreement undefiled through the House of Commons, to the exclusion of all else. She missed the point, and therefore missed the solution.
There were other options: she could have walked away, she could have put in place a series of unilateral arrangements assuming no-deal and left the EU to reciprocate, with negotiation on permanence to follow Exit Day; she could have asked the Commons to pass the Brady compromise and dared the EU to refuse it; she could have put the Withdrawal Agreement to the House and invited them to enact all but the backstop, or to put that to Stormont. She could in the final throw have signed a deal on the day after Exit Day, which would therefore not have been a ‘withdrawal agreement’ as Article 50 understands it and would not have required approval from the House of Commons. All this would have worked.
All this was open to her, and all this remains open to our current crop of would-be leaders. They just have to take their heads out of the bin and look around.