“I’m hoping they will do it and I’m hoping they won’t renege.”

The Belfast Telegraph follows up yesterday’s report on the mood music from within loyalist paramilitary groups with a prediction from an anonymous “well-placed source” that – “The UDA is expected to fully disarm before the February deadline set by the Secretary of State, the Belfast Telegraph can reveal.” [Is that the “good” and “bad” UDA? – Ed]. Whether it’s dependent on the success of Martin McAleese’s lobbying isn’t made clear but the title quote, from “a government source”, suggests some sort of arrangement has been made. There’s also an interesting reference to the paper’s previous report of an impending meeting between UDA leaders and the deputy First Minister, Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness, before Christmas. From the Belfast Telegraph report

This newspaper understands the talks that were planned for December 16 were organised by telephone while senior loyalists, including Jackie McDonald, were in Brussels. It is understood McDonald was keen to meet the Sinn Fein leader before the pre-Christmas deadline he had set for First Minister Peter Robinson to agree a date for the transfer of policing and justice powers. However, according to a senior source other loyalists felt they were being “bounced” into those talks without proper consultation and preparation.

And they’re probably right.. After all, think of the effect of such optics on that manufactured “crisis”…