The Manchester Law Society PI conference started quietly last week as delegates battled through the closure of the M6 to make it.

It was worth the journey, however, if only for a spectacular bun fight between insurers and claimant lawyers. This featured an impassioned speech from Craig Budsworth, chair of the Motor Accident Solicitors Society, on how he felt ‘knifed in the back’ by a buck-passing letter from the insurance industry to the government on fraud data sharing. Will poor Craig ever trust that meerkat again?

Any delegates hoping for demob-happy indiscretions from outgoing SRA chief executive Antony Townsend were disappointed: as he told Obiter, ‘my speech will be very boring I’m afraid’.

And, of course, there was legal ombudsman Adam Sampson, who looked thoroughly bored (Obiter estimates this was his 6,592nd conference of the year).

A welcome difference this time was the presence of the Gazette’s own John Hyde, acting as the token neutral voice on a question time panel as insurers and lawyers went for each other’s throats. Occasionally he even got a word in edgeways, something he rarely struggles to do.