Public Affairs: Soap Box - James Gurling, director, Hanover

After the relentless pace of 15 months of coalition, the Westminster village was hoping for a quiet August. But Eurozone implosion, domestic riots and foreign revolution made this the least silly season for a while.

Characterising each of these events was the popular demand that our leading politicians should return to London from their constituency or vacation to deal with each crisis. It was in response to the domestic riots that many performed least impressively.

Boris Johnson's seemingly reluctant return was perhaps the worst, coming after news of the Prime Minister's intention to return was known. The Mayor's return also came after order in the capital had broken down significantly.

As every CEO should know, in a crisis situation an early response is essential to help shape the story. Responding from the luxury of a sun lounger rarely cuts it. As the first senior minister to respond publicly and visit affected areas, Nick Clegg received grudging admiration. MPs like David Lammy engaged with their communities and resisted the urge to score political points. But Clegg and Lammy alike also received the ire of local residents frustrated at a perceived lack of engagement from the wider political community.

The recall of Parliament was therefore both appropriate and a necessary tool to communicate that the political community cared. The coalition's pledge of support for affected businesses and communities combined with calls for tougher action sent a clear message to the police, courts and angry but law-abiding citizens.

Popularly reviled though many politicians may be, in a crisis there is something clearly reassuring about their presence which the public expects. It's deeper than enjoying the prospect of cutting MPs' holidays short. Is the public learning to re-love their political class?

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