Friday 16 April 2010

The Schoolteachers, Doctors and Lawyers Party

One of the jibes that is often thrown at the SDLP is that its initials stand for Schoolteachers, Doctors and Lawyers Party.

A glance at their candidates for the Westminster election shows how accurate this jibe might actually be. They are standing 18 candidates – one in each constituency – probably the only party to do so. Of these 18:

Five are (or were) teachers: McCamphill, Muldoon, Bradley, Joe Byrne and O'Loan.

Three work(ed) in the medical sector, though only one is actually a doctor: Logan, McDonnell and Kelly.

Two are lawyers: Maginness and Attwood.

That makes 10 – more than half of the total. To these can be added the professional politicians, who appear not to have worked outside the political bubble at all: Durkan, Michelle Byrne and Ritchie.

Only five of the SDLP's candidates come from outside the narrow confines of Schoolteachers, Doctors and Lawyers, and the Party. None – not one – appears to work in industry or as a private sector employee. How effectively the party can represent those who are trying to actually create wealth, rather than spend it, is uncertain. The party seems to be composed almost entirely – at the level of its candidates – by people who live off the public purse. This is hardly a rarity in the north, of course, but it bodes ill for their ability to ever be able to manage a market economy, if that day should ever come.

Now, of course, another of the jibes (from unionists only, this time) is that SDLP stands for the South Down and Londonderry Party. After May 6 we'll see if this turns out to be accurate – if Ritchie and Durkan are the only (re)-elected SDLP MPs.

The last of the jibes – from Sinn Féin supporters only – is that SDLP stands for the Stoop Down Low Party (aka the 'Stoops'). This blog does not subscribe to that point of view, despite regrettable lapses by the SDLP in the past. In recent months the SDLP seems to have been trying to show a bit of backbone – only time will tell whether this came too late.


menace said...

Hi Horseman, is Attwood still a lawyer?

Horseman said...


As the SDLP themselves admit: "Alex qualified and worked as a solicitor in the city before devoting himself to fulltime politics."

However, as a qualified lawyer, he remains a lawyer despite not currently practicing. He can always go back to it if he has no more political employment.

Manfarang said...

The Alliance Party is standing in 18 constituencies.

hoboroad said...
plus these four candidates:
Mickey Coogan Strangford
Vincent Parker North Down
Oliver McMullan East Antrim
Cathal O hOisin East Derry

Make 18 candidates for Sinn Fein in the General Election.

hoboroad said...

SF 18
Alliance 18
DUP 16?
TUV 10
Workers Party 0

menace said...

With respect to the above but, the theme appears more, the working background of SDLP candidates, it would be interesting to know how many 'Joe the plumber's, or Connie the cook' this 'social democratic' party are fielding, in any economic climate people with real life experiences have a better handle on how to overcome obstacles than the wealthy types we are persistently presented with, SF will of course point to their candidates but, again, they all appear to have followed the 'professional' politics route for some time.
I should much prefer to be presented with real people I can relate to rather than wealthy types with frankly little recent experience of hard living.

hoboroad said...

22% of final year students support Sinn Fein.
11% of final year students support the SDLP.
5% of final year students support the DUP.
3% of final year students support the UUP.

Considering that todays final year students are tomorrows school teachers, Doctors and Lawyers it is looking like Sinn Fein is increasingly becoming more a middle class party.