David Cameron faces a tricky series of tests when he pitches up to Birmingham for the Conservative Party conference, which begins on Sunday.
The collapse of the West Coast mainline rail franchise deal, which is poised to cost the taxpayer at least £40 million, was deeply embarrassing – emerging the day after Ed Miliband's rat-a-tat attack on the Government's all-round incompetence.
Fearing he will be too much of a distraction, Government Chief Whip Andrew Mitchell has pulled out of the event following claims that he called Downing Street police officers "plebs".
In the background lurks Boris Johnson, his hopes of becoming party leader stoked by an Olympics-driven burst of popularity that contrasts well to a Tory leadership that wanted to tax caravans and pasties.
And, most important of all, the recession continues to bite despite signs of jobs growth. The last thing the Prime Minister needs is party civil war over Europe, which means that's almost certainly what we will get.