The last time the Conservatives held their annual conference in Birmingham was in 2010, just months after David Cameron became Prime Minister and Labour suffered one the worst election results in its history.
But things look very different for Mr Cameron as he returns to the city just two years later.
This week’s Conservative conference at Broad Street’s International Convention Centre is expected to attract 13,500 visitors to the city and pump £16.5 million into the local economy.
For the Tories, however, it follows a series of setbacks and controversies which have left Mr Cameron on the defensive.
A notable absentee from the event, which starts today, will be Birmingham’s only Conservative MP, Andrew Mitchell, who represents leafy Sutton Coldfield and is the party’s Chief Whip.
He has denied claims that he called police officers guarding the main gates to Downing Street “plebs”, but the story has struck a nerve.
Why? Because it seems to confirm Labour claims that the Conservative Party and their Eton-educated leader live in a different world to ordinary working people.
That’s why Labour politicians, including opposition leader Ed Miliband, constantly referred to the controversy at their annual conference in Manchester last week, and why Mr Mitchell has decided the best thing he can do this week is simply stay at home.
Well out of sight of the television cameras.
“Andrew Mitchell is running scared,” says Black Country Labour MP Tom Watson, who represents West Bromwich East.
“It’s ridiculous that the Chief Whip would rather dodge his own party conference, on the doorstep of his Sutton Coldfield constituency, than do what is right.
“David Cameron should get a grip and make Andrew Mitchell come clean about what he actually said to the police officers doing their job, and apologise properly.”
Of course, there are other Conservative MPs in the West Midlands, if not in Birmingham itself.
But some of them have also had difficult years.
The Conservative Party is still refusing to publish the findings of an inquiry into Staffordshire MP Aidan Burley, the member for Cannock Chase.
He hit the headlines when he attended a Nazi-themed stag party in France last December. He has also been criticised for suggesting on Twitter that the Olympic opening ceremony was “leftie multicultural crap”.
Then there’s Caroline Spelman, MP for Meriden, who lost her job as Environment Secretary in September’s reshuffle. Downing Street was forced to deny claims she was told she was being fired because she was “too old”.
The Birmingham venue will also be a constant reminder of a major failure on the Government’s part.
Many delegates will have travelled on the West Coast Main Line, which links Birmingham to London and the north west. Ministers have admitted that the contest to award a new franchise to run inter-city services on the line was flawed.
It means that taxpayers were forced to pay out £40 million in compensation to rail companies, and it is unclear who will operate trains once the current franchise, held by Virgin, runs out on December 9.
The opinion polls currently put Labour ten points ahead, which would give Labour a clear majority if a General Election was held today.
However, it’s not unusual for governing parties to lose popularity in the middle of their term of office, and any party coming into power in 2010, with the nation’s finances in turmoil and living standards falling, would have struggled to win support.
In a similar way, Mr Cameron will not be too fazed by his party’s loss of control of Birmingham City Council, where Labour gained a majority in May’s local authority elections.
There’s still time for him to turn things around. The General Election isn’t due until 2015, and the economy could improve before then.
Meanwhile, Labour faces its own problems after Mr Miliband and Ed Balls, the Shadow Chancellor, conceded last week that further spending cuts are inevitable whoever is in power, much to the fury of trade unions.
But there was a feeling at Manchester last week that Mr Miliband had come into his own. His conference speech was popular with Labour activists, and he is looking more like a potential Prime Minister than ever before.
David Cameron delivers his own conference speech in Birmingham on Wednesday. He will be under more pressure than at any other conference since becoming Prime Minister to make it a good one.