Public Affairs: Soap Box - Darren Murphy, MD, global services to government, APCO Worldwide

It is the best of times and the worst of times for the Conservative-Liberal coalition.

Look at Cameron beaming as he exchanges bottles of beer with President Obama in Canada. Osborne is relishing his new role, almost as though cutting public spending comes naturally to him. The media are giving the Conservatives their early days in the sun. For them, it is the best of times.

And then there are the Liberal Democrats. For them it is the worst of times. This was never going to be an easy coalition for some Lib Dems. Those who perceive themselves as being towards the social democratic wing of the party were not going to take eagerly to sharing power with Thatcherite hardliners like Liam Fox and Iain Duncan Smith.

Vince Cable is an accomplished ballroom dancer but no amount of fancy dancing can disguise just how uncomfortable, unsuited and unhappy he is as part of this government.

The coalition isn't close to collapse.

If it survives the spending review and the months that follow then it may live through a whole parliament. But these are unhappy days for Lib Dems and no amount of spin-doctoring can make them look happy when they're not.

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