The game is well and truly afoot for David Cameron.
Senior Tory Tim Yeo is one of the Conservatives’ yesterday men but, as chairman of the Commons energy committee, also packs a punch today.
And he has asked the big question of the Prime Minister.
Writing in a newspaper, Yeo says: “The Prime Minister must ask himself whether he is a man or mouse. Does he want to be another Harold Macmillan, presiding over a dignified slide towards insignificance?
“Or is there somewhere inside his heart – an organ that still remains impenetrable to most Britons – a trace of Thatcher, determined to reverse the direction of our ship?”
Ah, the T-word, that haunting spectre from which Mr Cameron has tried to distance himself as he has tried to shape his party as a right-on, we are all in it together, one nation outfit which can equally attract votes from the posh and the paupers.
Mrs Thatcher created the modern concept of a conviction politician and the trouble for Mr Cameron is that a significant proportion of his colleagues revere her and her legacy.
He is not in the same mould. He is a presentation politician, slick, articulate, clever, who comes up with policy directions quickly and changes direction quickly when the going gets tough.
With the economy still in the doldrums and the eurozone crisis feeding the gloom the cracks are starting to show as that section of his party whose enthusiasm for Mr Cameron was conditional on success and progress become increasingly exasperated.
It is a cliche that a divided party faces punishment come election time and in this respect Mr Cameron is peculiarly disadvantaged, not just through the increasing unrest among his colleagues, but because the Government itself, being a coalition, has a fissure which is liable to widen as the pressure tells.
Mrs Thatcher showed her party and the world what she was made of. Now it is Mr Cameron’s turn to show whether he is a man of metal, or a plastic politician.