This week we saw the coalition falter on almost everything, but were they pushed or did they jump?
Cameron's new spin doctor, Craig Oliver, allegedly suggested the u-turn over forests I imagine on taking up the job he said something like "What on earth are you thinking man. You might as well announce that all first born puppies will be drowned!" For the sake of a few million quid, it was always a ridiculous battle to fight.
Andrew Lansley turned a little on his chaotic NHS plans. Private firms will now not be allowed to undercut the NHS in a race to the bottom to provide bargain basement care. Might be some time before we see the DIY-Surgery kits after all.
On sickness and disability cuts, there was the wimpiest little mutter about maybe thinking again for a while about stopping mobility payments for adults in residential care. Not exactly a u-turn, but as a friend put it, a "chink of light. Now we can shine it into all those dark corners"
The plan to cut housing benefit by 10% for people on Job Seekers Allowance was dropped - allegedly because the Lib Dems and Mr Clegg argued hotly against it, so well done on a bit of a triumph yellows. The policy would have caused great hardship.
Finally, the government announced a u-turn on scrapping debt counselling. Ker-ching! The penny dropped that now might not be a good time! What with all the unemployment and inflation and cuts and stuff.
**CAUTION** The first rule of negotiating is "Go in High" You never expect to get all your demands, but if you throw in a few curve balls, then drop them as though you are making concessions, you get everything you wanted all along.
Could it be that our cunning coalition never really intended to sell all our trees anyway? Was the 10% housing benefit reduction idea just a decoy? Is the NHS now safe? Can we take it off the ventilator?
This week, we saw a little bit of movement here and there, but we're not out of the woods yet. (Though the trees are out of the woods apparently - confusing.)
My laugh-of-the-week was reading that the Conservatives in this coalition are "Masters of Spin." I spat tea all over my keyboard in fact. This would be the same Mr Cameron who made airbrushed gaff after shirt-sleeved gaff during the election campaign, steadily eroding a 21 point lead down to a majority-denying 6?
These are the same Conservatives who went ahead with buying aircraft carriers with no aircraft to carry? The same Conservatives who allow Michael Gove anywhere near a TV screen ever? The same Conservatives who think that taking wheelchairs away from the disabled is ever going to play well on Question Time?
We should be careful that we're not just being thrown a few crumb-silencers, but one thing I can be very sure of is this government are most certainly not masters of policy. (Just typing it is making me chuckle.) One might argue that they couldn't in fact organise a sell-off in a forest.