Public Affairs: Soap Box - Iain Anderson, director and chief corporate counsel, Cicero Consulting

Like most political junkies, I was glued to the BBC sitcom The Thick of It last weekend and watched the fictional minister launch a new business bank.

Perhaps my digital life is taking over, as this week Business Secretary Vince Cable launched a government-backed business bank at the Liberal Democrat conference in Brighton.

You could not script it. Politicians mimicking actors playing politicians. This is weird. But the real digital hit of the week was Nick Clegg's viral video - I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm so, so sorry - with the Deputy PM storming the charts.

From a corporate comms perspective, there is a real sense that the spoof got the Lib Dem leader off the hook from a misconceived idea. 'Sorry' was designed to play to his party more than to the country at large and looked set to backfire, but the chart entry seems to have perked party members up.

I had expected to find a lot of nervousness in Brighton this week, but I believe there is actually more jumpiness on the Conservative side of the coalition at the moment. We shall see in Birmingham.

The most substantive political idea on the fringe this week came from Clegg's former chief of staff Richard Reeves' narrative around Cleggism, essentially a story about openness and a hunger for power.

This takes me back to Cable's bank scheme. There are many questions that need to be answered, but the key thing is that the new bank would take at least 18 months to get going.

A timescale that brings the coalition well past the tipping point when the political fortunes of the Government will have been firmly set.

Too late, perhaps?

The party faithful appear to be holding their nerve. They are in The Thick of It, for now.

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