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Why Martin is keeping us guessing over that royal handshake

Will he, won't he? Greet the Queen, that is? Martin McGuinness is likely to keep us guessing right up to the last moment. The most likely scenario is an emergency meeting of Sinn Fein's ruling Ard Comhairle shortly before the royal visit and the chances are better than even that they will give it the nod.

Sinn Fein is still massaging opinion and trying to get the context right. As Mr McGuinness put it "this is a massive ask for Irish Republicans. At this time we do not have a doable proposition."

"At this time" - those words suggest the game isn't over.

It carries risks and the party is not entirely united. At the Ard Fheis 54% of delegates we polled supported a meeting while 30% were opposed. Still Sinn Fein allowed expectations to build.

In these circumstances they badly need to get the mood music right and they will be touchy about context. Holding firm on Eibhlin Glenholmes' appointment to the Victims body, which they would have done anyway given their commitment to ex-prisoners, and ruling out attending the Stormont garden party all help Shinners show their grass roots they aren't rolling over.

Mr McGuinness seems on a flight path to the meeting, but he needs to look strong, confident and in control of the situation if he is to proceed.