Slugger predicts: Executive Ministers

We didn’t do that well in predicting the Ministries each party would choose – three people got 50% of them in order, our best two got 60% right with some in the wrong order. The Slugger hivemind scored much worse!

So who do the best of Slugger predict as Ministers?

  • Sammy Wilson
  • Arlene Foster
  • Simon Hamilton
  • John O’Dowd
  • Danny Kennedy
  • Michelle Gildernew
  • Patsy McGlone
  • Edwin Poots
  • Martina Anderson
  • Stephen Farry

I think most notable of the not picked – Caitroina Ruane wasn’t suggested once in any role by any decently scoring entrants in our competition. All other outgoing Ministers were suggested at least once by people hitting over 40%. Overall less than 1.5% of entrants see Ruane being a Minister next time.

The hivemind has possible battles of Murphy vs Gildernew and Lo vs. Farry but otherwise agreeing with the ten above.


  • Comrade Stalin

    It’s 90% certain that the Alliance minister will be Farry.

    I am not sure whether O’Dowd will be SF’s education pick. He’s by far the most able person for the job but a lot of the time it feels like SF’s education policy is more about trying to wind up the unionists than anyone else, and if that’s going to continue Ruane may well be back.

  • Blowinginthewind

    If SF really wants to spare Ruane’s blushes and not reappoint her, they could just bring three new ones in. She would be an interesting choice for DCAL, if they wanted to keep her–or at least if Gerry wants it since he’s her main fan. Everyone else seems much more lukewarm.

    CS, I wouldn’t be so sure that SF is trying to wind up the unionists; they really do believe selection is wrong. Ruane may enjoy it as a byproduct.

  • Mark McGregor

    Just added above: from all the suggestions of Ministers at any stage – Ruane scored by far the lowest of any outgoing and among the lowest leftfield suggestions.

    She is considered a likely Minister by less than 1.5% of the people that entered Slugger’s comp.

    If SF do pick her again it may just be a huge two-fingers at everyone?

  • Blowinginthewind

    Mark, Ruane’s been a disaster–even if you agree with her–but the fact is Gerry still loves her, or so I’ve heard. Certainly there were voices within SF who wanted to take an economic brief, yet here we are, with them at helm of Education. One would hope that Ruane is relegated to the back benches.

  • Mark McGregor0


    I have a son going ino P7 – like most with kids around this age, one of our major concerns is; when will someone apply the strap within SF and get Ruane to behave like even half-grownup.

    I like most that endured watching her essentially privatise selective eduction (but fully fund it) want to see the back of her persistant failures and anyone else put in charge.

  • Blowinginthewind

    Mark, I hear you. I think that like many other parents, your son is going to have to sit 5 (!) tests. Not a great solution. Maybe SF & the DUP can agree at some point on a Dickson Plan type of solution. Only problem is that to have a Dickson Plan you need junior schools and that means capital investment–something that just isn’t available now. As an aside, I personally think 14 is a lousy age for selection–teenage boys & girls lose concentration. In fact, there has been some research which says that the children who go on to grammar schools at 14 would have done so at 11.

  • Light23

    What do they do in the rest of the UK for education and can’t we just copy them, since nobody seems to be complaining over there.

  • Blowinginthewind

    Light23, most of England & Wales (Scotland is very different) has 3 sorts of postprimary schools: public (fee paying) schools; grammar schools/selective schools some of which are very expensive, others are state funded and the comprehensive schools. These last vary wildly in terms of quality and how close you are determines where you go. So there’s up to a 25% premium for living close to a good comprehesive. Or if you’re rich, you buy a good education.

    There are huge complaints about not getting into the school of your choice, about large city comprehensives which can be just dreadful, about how badly working class white boys do (sounds familiar).

    So over in England if you’re rich you can buy your way near a good school or pay for a place at a really good school. Great.

  • joeCanuck


    Nobody complaining? I guess you haven’t been paying attention to the University fees ruckus?

  • wilderness

    Light23 – it’d be worth looking into the English “mistake” of all-ability education; it’s no time since the headlines were calling for the return of the sense of standards brought by having grammar schools there. Copying them would be ludicrous.

    Ruane and Sinn Fein perpetuate the notion of “children as failures” rather than telling the province’s nasal whingers to shut up and stop extrapolating the outcomes of the transfer tests to mean the ‘whole’ child. It’s not life-or-death, it’s about finding a best-fit for the next phase of their education. There’s blatantly a sinister parental pride thing amongst snobs that needs to be stamped out. The solution is not to use the kids as pawns in the game.

  • wilderness

    On the Dickson Plan, the ethos of a school is an important thing and central to any school’s ethos should be some suitable notion of community, togetherness, oneness…whatever you choose to call it. Fragmenting the junior / middle / senior school experiences too much will deprive school management and teachers of the chance to really follow a child through from beginning to end of their school career. I think it is best to allow a child to follow through an educational experience in 1 school, and give them that sense of “I belong here” and let them feel that this is “my school”. They should of course retain the right to apply to transfer to another school if so desired. My point is purely that enforcing selection at 14 will mean that kids start in a new environment at GCSE level, and nowadays it’s only a few weeks into 4th Year before they start actual Controlled Assessment tasks. Teachers need to have a good grasp of their classes before all of this kicks in. Internal knowledge in the school is a practical advantage. It lets teachers respond to the kids’ needs.

  • joeCanuck

    Maybe look at North America. No selection; all kids transfer to High School after grade 8. (There are private schools, of course). We do a grand job of getting kids to college (2 years for a Diploma) or University (usual 4 year course for undergraduate Degree).

  • Blowinginthewind

    joe–I take it you’re talking about Canada? Because in the US there are many different kinds of post primary schools. Some are selective; some are magnet schools; some are truly comprehensive. I know that in New York, if you want to go to Hunter High, Brooklyn or Bronx Science High Schools, you take an aptitude test at 11. So the question of selection is not quite that simple. There are also Catholic/Jewish/etc religious schools and lots of kids go to them. It’s a more complicated picture.

  • Mark McGregor

    Right folks, we have a topic. Lets stick to it.


  • Gerry Lvs castro

    If Ruane is wheeled out again how can SF possibly claim that they’re fit for all Ireland govt? She represents the opposite of everything the island needs — division, dictatorship and hypocrisy, all in one neat package.

    SF have chosen three of the least responsible ministries and look set to spend the next four years pushing a minority language and a wee shrine and proving that they’re a one issue party. This at a time when bread and butter issues are more important than ever before. Way to make the Unionists look like leadership material.

  • joeCanuck


    Apologies for participating in drawing the topic off course. It is always a risk with any blog and Ruane is such a target for criticism.

  • Big Boss

    I think the SDLP pick will be quite interesting!

    Could go anyway, with Attwood, McGlone, McDevitt, Bradly and Kelly all being mentioned by the media to take the spot

  • joeCanuck


    Out of curiousity, do you know who picks the SF team? Adams, McGuinness or a leadership team? I’m presuming it’s Robinson for the DUP team.

  • Drumlins Rock

    nobody going for my suggestion of wee Barry for agriculture?

    I think McGlone would be good, and strengthen the SDLP in the west where they are slipping.

    Danny is prob cert for DRD for a while till some of the new guys (or girls) cut their teeth.

    SF seem obsessed with “loyalty” bit like George Bush was, wise thing would be change all 3, but is Gerry still calling the shots on this one?

    DUP play it smarter, but I’m guessing Poots is needed to keep the Free P wing happy (they havn’t gone away you know) Arelene remains in the cursed position of heir presumptive, she will have to preform well to keep that spot.

    Know nothing about Farry, but guess boring is what AP does well 🙂

  • Taibhse-wolf-tone-

    Peroxide blond for Education?It will one day establish the myth of Tain Bo Cualigne as fact.

  • Why is Edwin Poots in the list? He is a close challenger to Ruane for incompetence in the job.

  • Blackthorn

    Bronx Sceince High School
    Admission is based solely on a competitive written examination given in the fall of each year, known as the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test (SHSAT), open to all eighth and ninth grade New York City students.

    eighth and ninth grade = 14 and 15 year olds, not 11

  • Drumlins Rock

    As I said Dave there is still a Free P wing, or central core in many areas, to keep happy and Poots is their highest profile candidate.

  • hugodecat

    Naomi long facebooked Farry as the DEL minister on Friday so I would suggest that’s a done deal, the rest of the list appears more like a collective wish list than reality

    lets face it the people who gave us Poots,Ruane,McCausland,Mcgimpsey didnt realy care about qualification or competence

  • quality

    News Letter reporting Poots has DHSSPS, with Alex Easton as Junior Minister. Now there’s an able team.

    Eamonn Mallie implying Danny Kennedy has DRD, so bang on so far.