Henry Hill is a Conservative and Unionist activist and writer.
New Yorker publishes allegations that Adams planned IRA bombing campaign
The New Yorker has published an article which claims, based on interviews with former IRA personnel, that Sinn Fein leader and Irish TD Gerry Adams coordinated the 1970s bombing campaign against the British mainland.
In what the Daily Mail describes as “a forensic, year-long, 15,000 word investigation”, the US magazine alleges that Adams was one of the masterminds behind the terror campaign, which first struck the mainland with four bombings in London on March 8, 1973.
It claims that after warning attendees of a meeting in Ireland that the attacks might be a “hanging job”, Adams drew up the attack with several volunteers including Dolours and Marian Price.
Adams has always denied being a member of the IRA, a claim met with scepticism by both unionists and victims’ groups.
The Mail notes the significance of the fact that these claims have been published by a liberal, American magazine – where elements of the Irish-American community have long been apologists for the IRA.
It also points out that the revelations are very poorly timed for the Sinn Fein leader, who is still recovering from claims that he turned a blind eye to the crimes of his brother Liam, who was sentenced to 16 years in prison last year for raping and sexually abusing his daughter.
Those allegations in turn followed Adams’ own arrest in connexion with the disappearance and murder of Jean McConville, a Catholic mother of ten killed for being a “British sympathiser” after comforting a soldier wounded outside her home.
It was Dolours’ evidence, released after serving her sentence for the London bombings, which first put the former MP in the frame for ordering McConville’s death.
President of Sinn Fein since 1983, Adams represented Belfast West from 1997 to 2011 and is now a member of the Irish parliament, the Dail, where Sinn Fein is a growing political force.
UKIP is deemed a ‘major party’ in Wales
Ofcom have granted the UK Independence Party ‘major party’ status in Wales ahead of the upcoming general election.
The territorial designations are quite precise: for example the three main parties are designated as major parties across Great Britiain, the various nationalists only in their own corners, and so on.
So it seems therefore perfectly possible that UKIP could have been deemed a major party in England alone. That Ofcom has decided to include Wales attests to the progress that Nigel Farage’s party appear to be making in the country.
They came close to topping the poll in the 2014 European elections and polling has found them on course to pick up five of the Assembly’s regional top-up seats.
UKIP is also reported to be winning over working class voters in Labour’s rock-solid ex-mining heartlands in South Wales, although it is not currently seen as on track for a parliamentary seat in May.
Murphy’s ratings slump as he fails to halt Labour’s Scottish collapse
Jim Murphy, the Scottish Labour leader, has not only failed to turn around Labour’s disastrous Scottish woes but has suffered a significant slump in his personal poll ratings, politics.co.uk reports.
Just 26 per cent of respondents thought that Murphy was doing a good job as leader, compared to compared to 51 per cent who thought he was doing badly. Just a month ago 33 per cent held a good opinion of the Labour leader.
Meanwhile 62 per cent of Scots feel that Nationalist leader Nicola Murphy is doing well, compared to just 29 per cent again.
Just as bad for leader are other poll findings: only 37 per cent of Scots think that having Ed Miliband as Prime Minister would be better for Scotland than David Cameron, and the SNP had a 19-point lead over Labour in Westminster voting intention (46 per cent to 27).
Despite the SNP and Labour engaging in competitive fear-mongering about the prospect of a Conservative government Ruth Davidson’s Tories are up three points on last month at 18 per cent.
If repeated in May this would actually be an increase in their 2010 share.
Crabb denies Wales is underfunded
Stephen Crabb, the Welsh Secretary, has claimed that the Barnett Formula provides Wales with a “substantial subsidy”, according to the BBC.
He was giving evidence to the Welsh Affairs Select Committee in Westminster.
Plaid Cymru and Welsh Labour have both hotly disagreed, with Carwyn Jones’ deputy health minister Vaughn Gething questioning whether Crabb was “serious”. Plaid MP Jonathan Edwards argued that the Welsh paid more in tax than they received back from central government.
The state of Welsh funding is one of the key issues in the current debate on the future of devolution to Cardiff.
Families criticise Sturgeon for snubbing Afghanistan memorial ceremony
The families of 38 Scottish soldiers who fell during the war in Afghanistan have hit out at First Minister Nicola Sturgeon after she avoided a memorial service in London, the Daily Mail reports.
Keith Brown, the SNP’s infrastructure minister and a former Royal Marine, was dispatched in her place.
Sturgeon took the opportunity instead to meet with the leaders of Scotland’s local authorities, and to tweet about Ed Miliband’s kitchen travails. Families claimed it was an “insult” that she did not make time to attend.
Carwyn Jones, First Minister of Wales, was not in attendance either, as he had to give evidence to a committee.
Welsh Assembly declines opportunity to be Spectre HQ in new Bond film
Officials of the Welsh Assembly have decided that it would be contrary to the dignity of “the home of Welsh democracy” for the Assembly chamber to be featured in the new James Bond film, Spectre.
Producers had apparently hoped that the circular debating hall could stand in for the headquarters of the eponymous criminal network, led by Ernst Blofeld.
Fans have criticised the decision as an enormous lost opportunity both for revenue and to raise the profile of the Senedd building.