To the Small Claims Court in Newmarket to see Maddie Di Muccio and John Taylor enter Room 2002 together where they will sit down at the same table with a judge presiding. These so called “settlement conferences” are informal and are designed to explore the possibilities of the parties settling their differences out of court. They are not open to the public.

Neither is represented by a lawyer.

After 45 minutes President Di Muccio and her husband John Blommesteyn emerge. I am sitting outside keeping myself occupied, reading a book. As she sweeps past, I expect the usual death stare. Instead, I get a Mona Lisa smile. Or was it just a lip curl?

Then Taylor emerges to say there is no settlement. He says he cannot tell me any more than this.

Unless Di Muccio has second thoughts and pulls the plug, the libel action will now go to trial later this year. It will be a moment to savour.

However, I suspect President Di Muccio will find some ingenious way of dropping the action without losing too much face. 

I hope I am wrong. The trial will be a hugely popular event and will focus public attention like a laser on the ethics of using taxpayers’ money for partisan political purposes.

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