“Those were the days, my friend..”

When the Northern Ireland Education Minister announced the detailed policies guidance privatisation of the post-primary transfer system to the NI Assembly Sinn Féin MLAs packed into the benches behind Caitríona Ruane in an obvious attempt to demonstrate the party’s support for her position. Even the International Representative for West Belfast was there, and he had migrated from the back-bench to a more unfamiliar seat on the front-bench. [But where was Martin McGuinness? – Ed] Where indeed.. On the Politics Show today Kevin Sharkey’s report, on whether Caitríona Ruane has been damaged politically by the debacle, looked promising but was unbalanced by a couple of unreliable witnesses on academic selection. What’s not explored is how far up within one of the parties of the polit-bureau any of that political damage would [be allowed to] reach.