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Up and down

Betsan Powys | 16:44 UK time, Wednesday, 6 October 2010

The applause for David Cameron's speech has died away here in Birmingham where, just as predicted, he set out to play good cop to George Osborne's benefit-grabbing bad cop.

Yes, there was plenty about the sacrifices ahead, the challenges, the hardships to come, that lot's legacy and yes, he's talking about you Labour. Cue applause and quite a lot of it too.

But it was heavily leavened with optimism to come - transforming the country, bringing out the Big Society spirit. There was a lot about entrepreneurs, about risk takers, about wealth creators. The music as he and Samantha Cameron took to the stage at the end of the speech was 'It takes two'. No, not Mr and Mrs Cameron but Mr Cameron and you - we're all in this together remember.

It seemed to go down pretty well with the party faithful who were very much in need of something to clap. The snap media reaction seems largely positive too.

Back in Cardiff though, a colleague draws my attention to the First Minister's latest interview, for the Western Mail's Business in Wales supplement. It certainly strikes a resolutely downbeat note. The headline may read "Carwyn Jones sets out his vision for Wales" accompanied by a smiling photograph on his office balcony but his mood during the interview seems rather at odds with the image.

Super fast broadband is key to Welsh business success, he says. But the UK government have cut the 50p levy on telephone bills, so they need to come up with a workable scheme to roll it out. Otherwise Wales "will be disadvantaged".

The emergency budget? There was nothing in it for us. "A disappointment" he says.

A commission into the effect of cuts on the public sector, as in Northern Ireland? "We've got nothing like that"

Cancellation of the defence academy at St Athan? "That would be a disaster for us." The mood music, you'd have to say, is that it's all over bar the shouting.

The Severn Barrage? "I think the reality is unless there is there is a substantial UK financial commitment at government level it's not going to happen".

Cancellation of the Great Western electrification plan? "Disastrous". "An extreme problem."

It's a fairly rare, long form interview with the First Minister in a publication much read by the Welsh business community. If they were looking for a positive vision, then I imagine they were sorely disappointed.


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