Perhaps, we will never know but the war on terrorism is being fought on all fronts and judging by the statement from the IRA this week a number of notable victories are being achieved and for this I would like to congratulate all involved.
U-Turn on cannabis
David Blunkett is certainly an innovative Home Secretary. Following the novelty of a new crime with retrospective effect (for creating anthrax hoaxes) which he introduced at the end of last week, he has now executed one of the biggest government Uturns in recent political history by announcing the lowering of the classification of cannabis from a category B to a category C drug.
Only two years ago a major review of drug laws which recommended just such a change was rejected by the then Home Secretary, Jack Straw. Although Mr Blunkett insisted that he was not decriminalising cannabis, the change will mean that people found in possession of the drug cannot be arrested and that the maximum sentence for possession will be cut from five to two years; the maximum penalty for dealing will drop from 14 to five years imprisonment.
Mr Blunkett's proposed change has to be approved by the Advisory Committee on the Misuse of Drugs before it becomes law. This should not be a problem, however, since the Committee recommended in 1980 that the change should take place! The police are also generally in favour of a reform which recognises current public attitudes and behaviour and which will free resources to concentrate on hard drugs such as heroin and cocaine.
There has been a wide welcome for the Home Secretary's move except from the Conservative Party whose shadow Home Secretary, Oliver Letwin, could not manage to react with anything more decisive than that the issue would, no doubt, be discussed in the Party's current detailed policy review.
No wonder Ann Widdecombe, the former shadow Home Secretary was able to hog the headlines with her outright opposition.