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Henry Hill is a British Conservative and Unionist activist and writer. Follow Henry on Twitter. He is also editor of the non-party website Open Unionism, which can be followed on Twitter here.

Salmond
looks to the Isle of Man to support his currency ambitions

In
a speech at the invitation of the Manx government, First Minister Alex Salmond
has reiterated
his intention
for a post-Union Scotland to ‘use our sovereignty to
negotiate a formal currency union with the rest of the United Kingdom’ – a ‘united
kingdom’ which, according to a speech he made to workers in Easter Ross, his Scotland will remain
a part of
, in a very real if not quite literal sense.

Salmond
compared the position of Scotland to that of Man, a crown dependency which,
although not a sovereign state, operates its own currency and has one of the
world’s oldest surviving legislatures in the House of Keys. It
even has a local wing of the Liberal Democrats.

Yet
despite those similarities between devolved positions, the UK Treasury points
out that whilst the island does issue its own Sterling, it isn’t in a currency
union. A spokesman listed the consequences:

"The Manx pound is not
legal tender in the UK. The Bank of England is not required to pay attention to
economic conditions on the island when setting interest rates, does not have
any regulatory role, and doesn't act as lender of last resort to the island's
financial institutions.”

What
Man does is operate its own, independently issued version of Sterling, which
nobody is denying Salmond will have the ability to do but, since it involves
having no say whatsoever in how the currency is governed, the SNP has
repeatedly stated is unacceptable.

An
arcane link to the UK, internal autonomy and unsupported, independent copies of
the British currency – perhaps Salmond is simply warming up to the concept of
Crown Dependency.

Enterprising
young Ulsterwoman runs ‘text a getaway’ service

Drive is a very good film about somebody who runs a
getaway car service for criminals. Apparently one young woman from Northern
Ireland found the business model so appealing, she decided to operate one
herself, assisting burglaries that took thousands of pounds worth of stuff.

Nicole
Gibson, a 20-year-old trainee hairdresser, would pick
up criminals
from the scene of a crime and help them to escape – at one
point even hitching up a trailer to help cart off stolen goods. All the
criminals in question had to do was text her.

She
was caught after members of the public identified her car in the area of each
robbery.

Poll
shows more Welsh in favour of leaving the EU than staying in it

In
the rather dismal region of the British constitutional debate where devolution
overlaps with the European Union, it is an article of received wisdom in some
quarters that Wales and Scotland, being progressive, are heartily in favour of
staying in.

This
can be taken to quite silly lengths at times: one letter writer to the Times sincerely argued that since Wales
and Scotland would not vote to leave the EU, if the UK did leave it would be an
‘English imposition’ and thus endanger the Union.

Setting
aside for one moment the ridiculousness of the idea that the British can’t even
set a legitimate foreign policy collectively, it seems the writer may have less
to fear than they supposed. A poll conducted last week shows that more Welsh people want to
leave the EU
than not, reinforcing the message of an earlier BBC Wales poll
which found the same thing.

Perhaps
most irksome for Carwyn Jones and other progressives is that apparently the
most Eurosceptic area of Wales is the southern valleys, Welsh Labour’s very
heartland. Jones has admitted
to a ‘collective failure’
by the Welsh political establishment to explain
the benefits of European funding, not least in the form of substantial
subsidies to Welsh agriculture, and warned that quitting the EU would mean the
end of Welsh farming.

Dublin
police seize republican weapons cache

The
Gardai, the Republic of Ireland’s police force, uncovered last week a
substantial arsenal of illegal firearms
and explosives, including former Provisional
IRA weapons. The cache included an Uzi, a Glock pistol, several revolvers and
shotguns, a suppressor (silencer) and a tazer, as well as more than a thousand
rounds of ammunition and bomb-making equipment.

Forensic
experts are examining the weapons to see if they can be linked to past
operations, as well as where they come from. The Gardai have described it as a ‘very
significant seizure’, and have no doubt that it has thwarted potential
operations by dissident republican groups.

And
finally, Tories split ‘Catholic unionists’ with McCrea’s NI21

An
article for the Irish Times about Catholics
in Northern Ireland
who favour the British connection has interviewed three
members of the NI young Conservatives, as well as two members of Basil McCrea
and John McCallister’s new party NI21.

Eimhear
Mcfarlane, Torr Coggan and NICF chairman Stephen Goss all feature in the
article. It's a strong testament to the NI Conservatives’
cross-community credentials, but also yet another reminder that NI21 and the NI Conservatives are fighting over the same political ground.

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