The Secretary of State, Shaun Woodward has warned loyalist paramilitaries that they need to get a move on with decommissioning – at least that was the ‘spin’. The media reported that those who refused to give up their weapons risked being jailed after “the British government confirmed it is to scrap decommissioning legislation”. In fact the legislation does not run out until the February 2009 and the government was actually announcing it is going to renew the legislation for another year i.e. until February 2010. So loyalist paramilitaries can in fact comfortably hang on to their weapons for another year and a half.
Mr Woodward also said that the failure to devolve policing and justice was providing a window of opportunity for republican dissidents. One fails to see those who are involved in terrorist activity being swayed by this issue alone. They regard the whole power-sharing settlement as wrong and believe Sinn Féin are in the wrong. So even the sight of a Sinn Féin Policing and Justice Minister would be unlikely to persuade them to change their position.
Mr Woodward also said that completing devolution would aid the economy.