The Muggle-headed politics of Trout-Dipping

Trout Dipping - the future

I’ve kept this quiet up until now, but it’s time that I came out as a Trout Dipper.

I’ve read detailed studies and shown that it would be very good for our ecosystem if we were to catch every freshwater Trout in British waters, quickly dip them in a harmless green dye, and then throw them back in the water alive. Personally, I’m convinced.

I’m not writing about it here to convince you that ‘Trout-Dipping’ is a good idea, but I hope it illustrates another point that I’d like to make.

It is a counter-intuitive argument. I won’t go into the very sound scientific data behind it (links to follow if I get round to it), and I don’t expect you to think that it’s a good idea until you’ve read the whole thing. I can see the practical problems, and the expense, but if you understood the great arguments, I’m sure you’d realise that it’s worth doing.

Until then, like every other Muggle, you’ll suspect that I’m some sort of loony.

I don’t mind. I forgive you, and in a very kind way, I pity you.

I know that most people who actually do read it, once they’ve understood it, become ardent Trout-Dipping advocates. But, from a political point of view, it’s a locked-door for now. Now, imagine that I (with my convictions on Trout-Dipping) were a politician. I would have three options:

  1. Stick to my guns and campaign loudly for the introduction of Trout-Dipping
  2. Not deny my Trout-dippery but not make a big deal of it. Work quietly in the background to promote it, wait for the penny to drop with the voters and focus most of my visible work on those unlocked doors.
  3. Give up on it – keep quiet about it, deny my Trout-dippery and resign myself to opening the political doors that are a bit more open-able

Option one would be stupid. It would be a short political career. Any sensible political party would distance itself from me very quickly. It would also stop me from promoting my many other, sensible, convictions.

Option two is not a sustainable one. It’s principled, I suppose, but I wouldn’t be taken seriously on any issues that are tangential and I’d look shifty and dishonest.

Being exposed as a closet Trout-Dipper could even be more damaging that being well known for being one. Any quiet moves, intended to improve the political saleability of Trout-Dipping, would result in me being ‘exposed’. Well-heeled pressure groups that benefit from our foul, stupid refusal to dip Trout would probably even employ someone to track my furtive activities.

Option three is the only real sensible line to take. I know that there is a big demand out there from people like me for politicians who speak the language that the enlightened minority out Trout-Dippers want to hear, but those people are going to have to make my case for me. When the time comes, and it’s possible, I can pretend to have been persuaded and start opening doors for them.

Trout-Dipping’s day will come. It’s an even more sensible argument than the various varieties of economic Keynesianism that a lot of leftish economists promote (much as I agree with them as well). It has the same ‘media-macro‘ problems that those views have.

As a politician, I would not be helping if I were to be publicly supportive. If my fellow Trout-Dippers expect me to do it, they are not only being lazy, they are being cowards. They are actually damaging our great cause.

Only you – the unelected, unwatched and unsuspected – can help bring this age-old folly of undipped Trout to an end. A parading of your personal convictions is what is needed at this vital crossroads in the life of our nation – indeed, in the life of the whole globe.

Does this mean that it’s impossible to be a successful politician and have beliefs or convictions? I don’t think it does, and I will say why here soon.