The Twitter diary of Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams, aged 64 and a third

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams is on Twitter, but his tweets aren't what you'd expect.

Although the account is not verified by Twitter, the Journal.ie has confirmed that Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams is definitely on Twitter. 

You'll forgive the note of scepticism, because his tweets are not the bland pleasantries typical of politicians; nor are they the Galloway-esque thunderbolts one might expect of a firebrand like Adams. Instead, they are strangely domestic.

Prepare to enter the strange world of Gerry Adams, as revealed by his tweets…

Gerry Adams likes baking.

 

 

…and he's not one of those men who's afraid of the colour pink when he does it.

 

 

He's also a big fan of flowers, be they daffodils…

 

 

Or some sort of pink shrubby flower which I don't recognise.

 

 

Gerry Adams loves this horse. He wants to ride it through the fields and take it to the horse dentist.

 

 

Gerry Adams also has an adorable Bichon Frise called Snowie who he loves very much.

 

 

Sometimes Snowie wears a hat.

 

 

Gerry Adams fries his breakfast in the shape of a smiley face.

 

 

Oh yes, and Gerry Adams really . . .

 

 

Really . . .

 

 

REALLY . . . 

 

 

Loves his teddy bears.

 

 

Gerry Adams, proud holder of a Twitter account. Photograph: Getty Images

Alex Hern is a technology reporter for the Guardian. He was formerly staff writer at the New Statesman. You should follow Alex on Twitter.

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No, Jeremy Corbyn did not refuse to condemn the IRA. Please stop saying he did

Guys, seriously.

Okay, I’ll bite. Someone’s gotta say it, so really might as well be me:

No, Jeremy Corbyn did not, this weekend, refuse to condemn the IRA. And no, his choice of words was not just “and all other forms of racism” all over again.

Can’t wait to read my mentions after this one.

Let’s take the two contentions there in order. The claim that Corbyn refused to condem the IRA relates to his appearance on Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday programme yesterday. (For those who haven’t had the pleasure, it’s a weekly political programme, hosted by Sophy Ridge and broadcast on a Sunday. Don’t say I never teach you anything.)

Here’s how Sky’s website reported that interview:

 

The first paragraph of that story reads:

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has been criticised after he refused five times to directly condemn the IRA in an interview with Sky News.

The funny thing is, though, that the third paragraph of that story is this:

He said: “I condemn all the bombing by both the loyalists and the IRA.”

Apparently Jeremy Corbyn has been so widely criticised for refusing to condemn the IRA that people didn’t notice the bit where he specifically said that he condemned the IRA.

Hasn’t he done this before, though? Corbyn’s inability to say he that opposed anti-semitism without appending “and all other forms of racism” was widely – and, to my mind, rightly – criticised. These were weasel words, people argued: an attempt to deflect from a narrow subject where the hard left has often been in the wrong, to a broader one where it wasn’t.

Well, that pissed me off too: an inability to say simply “I oppose anti-semitism” made it look like he did not really think anti-semitism was that big a problem, an impression not relieved by, well, take your pick.

But no, to my mind, this....

“I condemn all the bombing by both the loyalists and the IRA.”

...is, despite its obvious structural similarities, not the same thing.

That’s because the “all other forms of racism thing” is an attempt to distract by bringing in something un-related. It implies that you can’t possibly be soft on anti-semitism if you were tough on Islamophobia or apartheid, and experience shows that simply isn’t true.

But loyalist bombing were not unrelated to IRA ones: they’re very related indeed. There really were atrocities committed on both sides of the Troubles, and while the fatalities were not numerically balanced, neither were they orders of magnitude apart.

As a result, specifically condemning both sides as Corbyn did seems like an entirely reasonable position to take. Far creepier, indeed, is to minimise one set of atrocities to score political points about something else entirely.

The point I’m making here isn’t really about Corbyn at all. Historically, his position on Northern Ireland has been pro-Republican, rather than pro-peace, and I’d be lying if I said I was entirely comfortable with that.

No, the point I’m making is about the media, and its bias against Labour. Whatever he may have said in the past, whatever may be written on his heart, yesterday morning Jeremy Corbyn condemned IRA bombings. This was the correct thing to do. His words were nonetheless reported as “Jeremy Corbyn refuses to condemn IRA”.

I mean, I don’t generally hold with blaming the mainstream media for politicians’ failures, but it’s a bit rum isn’t it?

Jonn Elledge edits the New Statesman's sister site CityMetric, and writes for the NS about subjects including politics, history and Daniel Hannan. You can find him on Twitter or Facebook.

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