The snarl was an instinctive reaction. There was no thought, no drawing on personal experience, just an immediate compulsion to rend and tear.
It was our first time at a Country Show. We’d brought our so-soft-he’d-lick-the-burglar-to-death labrador with us. He was his normal relaxed but curious, come-and-adore-me self… until he smelled the ferrets. Instantly, he became a lunging, snarling, creature of fang and fury that I had to hold back. He’d never seen or smelt a ferret before but he still recognised them as the enemy they were.
Today, I was startled to find that I had a similar reaction when the free, glossy “Bath Magazine” came through my letterbox.
I looked at the cover and snarled.
I knew it was supposed to be a nostalgic festive image that would make me more inclined to go out and buy some of the fashion it was promoting.
I knew it wasn’t meant to be anything but fun ephemera, a tilt of the hat to “Downton Abbey” and a nostalgic sales boost from an imagined past England.
But that’s not what I saw.
I saw the upper-class enemy, at home, at the height of their power, looking at the rest of us in smug satisfaction as a kind of Jacob Rees-Mogg version of “The Spirit Of Christmas Past”.
I saw the people who led the slaughter of millions of working people in World War I.
I saw the Eton elite who have, over the past ten years, ruthlessly redistributed wealth to themselves, forcing millions into poverty.
In the circumstances, a snarl was a not unreasonable response.
Yet it was disquieting. I hadn’t known that I was carrying so much held-back anger and hate.
As we approach a pre-Christmas election in which our lying, adulterous, Russian-funded, entitled Etonian Prime Minister is waving the Little England flag and spreading hate and division, I worry that I’m not the only one snarling.
We are losing the space we created over the past seventy-five years, to arrive at a consensus or managed compromise so that most people could ignore politics and get on with the important things in their lives.
We are fueling hate and confrontation. We have made compromise impossible. There must now be winners and losers.
My snarl this morning reminded me of how clearly I understand the threat and how badly I want Johnson and his band of third-rate opportunists to lose.
What do I want for Christmas?
I’ll settle for Johnson failing to gain a majority in the General Election.