They did a U-turn on selling off the forests; they called a temporary halt to the root-and-branch restructuring of the National Health Service.

Might the coalition be prevailed upon to reappraise its proposals for the reform of civil litigation costs, even at this late stage?

That was the hope expressed by David Bott, president of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers, at the organisation’s annual conference.

‘The devil will be in the detail,’ he told delegates.

It seems a forlorn hope, based as it is on the optimistic assumption that the government has already harvested all the political capital available from its disingenuous grandstanding about the illusory ‘compensation culture’.

The flaw with this argument is an obvious one.

Unlike flogging the forests, and subjecting the NHS to the full blast of competition, these proposals are popular.

And systematic misrepresentation of the issues by the tabloid press in particular is serving to crowd out intelligent debate.

It seems to have escaped the popular prints that it is the readership demographic of their own papers which will suffer a diminution in access to justice.

The government seems to have cocked a deaf ear to the ‘claimant lobby’, insofar as that comprises groups of lawyers.

Mobilising the beneficiaries of meritorious compensation claims to lobby MPs, a recurring suggestion at the conference, might command some leverage.

But it’s a last throw of the dice. Time is running out.