Public Affairs: Soap Box - Lionel Zetter, public affairs consultant

What is different about this Parliament is not just the obvious fact that it is a coalition. Big political parties are coalitions in any event, whether that be SDP versus Liberals and Orange-bookers, 'wets' versus 'dries' or eurosceptics versus europhiles.

What makes this Parliament different is the fact so many MPs are independently minded. Many got selected without help from the mother ship, and therefore do not feel they owe their parties blind loyalty.

What is more, the power of patronage has been diluted by the need to spread ministerial jobs across two parties.

There is also much more scope for that independence to be expressed. Newly elected MPs have quickly got in to the habit of rebelling, select committees are now elected by colleagues, and the backbench business committee gives backbenchers more scope to raise issues.

Ideas have replaced cash as the true currency of politics. They can be large policy ideas such as the 'Big Society' or 'localism', or more specific policies such as free schools or GP-led health funding.

For all of these reasons this fragmented, fractured and fractious Parliament is a happy hunting ground for lobbyists. Good lobbyists deal in policy and ideas. Both front and backbenchers are in the market for solutions that work - and that do not cost money.

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