Sympathy for the Aristocracy
But the good reading is what underlies all this: Badger as a sort of maven, a symbol of the values of decency and fair play. He’s a bit stodgy and dull but in the end he is somebody who will take people for what they are and treat them decently. He believes in protecting, in this case the property rights of the aristocracy, but more broadly the rule of law.
Wind in the Willows is tied up with an age of Englishness which I think had a great many things to recommend it. People were a lot less embarrassed than they are now to talk about values – even if those values might not be ones you would share today. I think it’s good for young people, these ideas that you should be fair to people, and that there are certain ways of behaving that are reasonable in a good society. If you want to translate it into political terms, Badger would be a one-nation Tory. I have got a lot of time for his horror at Toad’s selfishness.