David Cameron started the week in Northern Ireland hoping for a sunny and successful G8 summit with his fellow world leaders.
But just as there were near constant grey clouds over Lough Erne, the venue for the top level pow-wow, the issue of Syria hung over the leaders of the free world.
In terms of presentation it was a win for the PM. Ironically, given the area’s recent history, the conference in Northern Ireland was one of the most peaceful in recent times. At Prime Minister’s Questions later in the week Cameron joked that a local shopkeeper had stocked up on vegan meals in anticipation of an invasion by anti-capitalism types.
In the event the peace camp consisted of six tents one occupied by a Dutch family who just happened to be holidaying there and the shopkeeper was left with a surfeit of tofu on his shelves. The protestors were bringing down the system from their beds by not turning up they undermined the shopkeeper’s attempt at a capitalist cash-in!
In Lough Erne President Putin was the problem for Cameron on Syria. Russia is blocking attempts to arm the rebels there.
In Parliament Cameron has his own rebels to contend with.
He gave a statement to the House on Wednesday about the G8 but the two hours of questions that followed overwhelmingly focused on Syria particularly on whether the Prime Minister will give MPs a vote before any decision to send weapons to the opposition is made.
Time and again the PM hinted he would without saying so outright, time and again he was confronted with the same question from his own side.
Many Tories fear Cameron is going the same way as Tony Blair that he’s getting too great an appetite for foreign adventures and will wait till the summer recess and agree to send arms to Syria while MPs are on their holidays.
Quite simply, many of the backbenchers don’t trust Cameron on this issue. Or, indeed, on anything much.
So many Conservatives so openly questioning their leader’s word is further evidence, coming after he crumbled to demands to name a date for a EU referendum, that Cameron is no longer in control of his party. To that end, some sources claim he’s trying to mend fences with his backbenchers and with some success, but then they said that after Margaret Thatcher’s funeral and within days Conservatives were scrapping more publicly and more vociferously than ever over Europe and same-sex marriage.
Another way of looking at it is that a certain section of the party, driven utterly mad by a coalition with the Liberal Democrats on which they were never consulted, can never be controlled.
Evidence for that arrived at the end of the week when a Conservative crazy gang so extreme in their views they are sometimes dubbed the “Tory Taliban” published an alternative Queen’s Speech.
The men behind it had to devise a rota to ensure they were first in the queue to table their proposed legislation under parliament’s arcane rules.
Given that one of the bills involves abolishing sexual harassment cases in the workplace not, it’s worth noting, doing anything to tackle sexual harassment itself it’s not surprising they’re all men. Kettering MP Philip Hollobone slept in parliament on a camp bed for four nights as part of the drill.
The bills read like a list of ideas thought up by men who haven’t slept for a week. The 40-strong list veered from the whimsical to the wicked including one to rename the August bank holiday as Margaret Thatcher day, bringing back national service, banning the burqa and abolishing Nick Clegg.
And to think, earlier this year a few in the party got the hump when one of the PM’s closest advisors allegedly described some Conservatives as “swivel-eyed loons”.