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Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has called for an immediate general election following Truss’ resignation.
Responding to the news, Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke wrote on Twitter: “Bring down this UK government, they do not speak for us, right the fuck now .. they have no authority, no mandate, no clue, cats in a bag tearing themselves to pieces while the country suffers in extreme distress. enough of this shit. shame on them.”

https://www.nme.com/news/music/music-and-entertainment-world-reacts-to-liz-truss-resigning-as-pm-general-election-now-3332747

I’d like to understand the sentence in bold above. I think Thom Yorke is saying it figuratively, but can’t really get what he’s trying to say. Can “cats” mean something like bad politicians? Is he basically saying that bad politicians in the UK are doing something dishonest behind the curtain?

Thanks in advance.

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    I would say not dishonest, just fighting with each other (like cats in a bag) rather than doing their job to help the country.
    – Esther
    Commented Oct 24, 2022 at 19:41

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It is a metaphor, not one that is strictly documented, but familiar enough to be understood.

Cats, like most animals, would not respond well to being put inside a bag, and would likely frantically clamour to get out, using their claws. Put several cats in a bag, and they'd probably attack each other in the process. The metaphor suggests that the politicians are stuck in a situation and as a consequence, they are turning to attack one another.

It likely reminds people of the idiom 'let the cat out of the bag', which means to reveal a secret. That meaning isn't particularly relevant to the situation, but it may be that Yorke wanted familiar imagery, or perhaps he was just speaking extemperaneously and came up with a mixed metaphor, but an apt one.

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  • I see. That really makes sense, Thank you so much for the explanation! Commented Oct 25, 2022 at 11:04

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