The Stoop Down Low Party?

For some years now, the Social Democratic & Labour Party has been described by its enemies as The Stoop Down Low Party. Somewhere, allegedly in Derry, there is a man who was the very first to use an aerosol paint can to spray that insult on a wall. This is often abbreviated to The Stoops.

The implication of the insult is that the SDLP is an unprincipled Party who will actually facilitate its enemies and will let down its own voters. That the SDLP is a Party of too much compromise.

All good playground political banter. But disturbingly, SDLP members seem to have adopted the word “Stoops” in a post modern ironic way….or as a badge of honour of sorts.

For example the winning quiz team at last years Slugger O’Toole Political Quiz Night was a very good SDLP team from South Belfast called “Stoops To Conquer” . Geddit? A play on words involving the name of the play by Oliver Goldsmith “She Stoops To Conquer”.

The problem with embracing “insults” and hoping to neutralise their meaning is that it becomes a form of self-loathing or empowers enemies to use the words and it becomes unclear as to whether it is an insult or not.

Irish people are often referred to as “Paddys” or “Micks”. Im not a big fan. Nor am I a fan of calling myself a Fenian……I know it has a precise historical context but thats lost on the people who have in the past called me a “Fenian bastard”.

The North London football club, Tottenham Hotspur attracts a lot of support from Jewish people. In part it’s geography and in part it’s tradition but the obscene chanting directed at Tottenhams fans from its rivals (particuarly near neighbours Arsenal) is often anti semitic in tone. Tottenham fans…..including the majority who are not actually Jewish …often refer to themselves as “Yids”. I am uncomfortable with this. It offends my liberal sentiments. It gives license to others to use such words in a deliberately hurtful way. Counter-productive at best. Self-loathing at worst.

We get into darker areas here. The adoption of the “N” word by gangsta rappers offends my liberal sensibilities as a former member of the Anti-Apartheid Movement.

But thats a long way from “Stoops” isnt it? There is something apologetic about the SDLP. And they really need to rid themselves of that mentality. The Leadership Election is based around calls for re-connexion with the SDLP grassroots and wider support.

Thats the first message. Get off your knees! “Stoop” No More.



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