It’s been intriguing watching Martin McGuinness and Colum Eastwood quietly jousting in the public domain recently. Martin may not be leader of his party but his the most prominent and most senior public figure for Sinn Fein in Northern Ireland.
None of it has been too serious or even that memorable, but the fact that it’s going on is interesting enough in itself. The latest came in the form of a retraction from the First Minister for remarks made in the Assembly yesterday.
Maybe it is just as one SF friend put it yesterday that Martin giving him a gentle slap to welcome him to top table.
But perhaps having relinquished his Westminster seat in Mid Ulster, Mr McGuinness is considering a much closer (and safer) encounter with the new SDLP leader by choosing to run in what has remained his home town of Derry.
SF has long since accepted it could not take on Mark Durkan for the Westminster seat, but the party needs some momentum to try and snatch one of the SDLP’s three seats in the city to become top dog there in the Assembly.
Of course a putative McGuinness move to Derry may be nothing more than overwrought whispers in the machine. But it may well be one to keep a weather eye out for…
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty