Now the cat is out of the bag. Chris Grayling told Catherine Baksi in her interview with him: ‘I don’t believe that most people who find themselves in our criminal justice system are great connoisseurs of legal skills…’

Is that or is it not an ideologically driven approach? These straitened times are just what the doctor ordered for a secretary of state capable of such an ill-informed and socially divisive utterance. As so many of us know, those on the receiving end of prosecutions make it their business to know, through various grapevines, who are the most committed and effective advocates and other practitioners.

Some 20 years into my 46-year career as a criminal defence practitioner, I crossed the threshold of my third generation of clients from one family. Families from disadvantaged backgrounds are always more likely than others to have regular brushes with the law.

Until recently, the Legal Services Commission asserted the untold value of choice of solicitor for those very reasons, and because it was viewed as more cost-effective. So much for that, now that the Ministry of Justice has spotted its main chance to anonymise and downgrade the delivery of services.

Malcolm Fowler, Dennings, Tipton