Town mouse on venting spleen

Early Sunday morning saw me winging northwards to take part in a television debate. The sun shone, a dusting of green could at last be seen in the hedgerows. At that hour, there was little on the roads, and so I could afford the half an hour it took me to find the school, in the streets of Peterborough, that the BBC had chosen for the broadcast. As one of the questions concerned the reaction to Baroness Thatcher’s death, a proportion of the audience was of the let’s dance-on-her-grave persuasion. I was surprised by the fierceness of vitriol that consumes some people.

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Although expressed as hatred towards the Iron Lady, it’s really hatred of the modern world. How many young protesters know what the initials NUM or ASLEF stand for? Arthur Scargill seems as remote a figure as Wat Tyler or Jack Cade. Almost 23 years have passed since Mrs Thatcher was deposed. Nursing bile for so long can’t be good for the individuals in whom it rankles. One gentleman was on the point of exploding. If only he’d walked outside. On the way home, I stopped at Hatfield House. England was at its best. Admittedly, the seat of the Marquess of Salisbury might not restore a Trotskyite to equanimity, but a spring day is too good to waste on spleen.

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