Cosy or nosy?
Back from Labour's conference in Llandudno, where the traffic wardens got me again and where the party politicking was in full swing. Suddenly May 5th seems a whole lot closer.
Alongside the regulation attacks on other parties, par for the course at this stage of the electoral cycle, it seemed to me that Carwyn Jones was anticipating a similar roughing-up of his party's record in government over the past decade when the other tribes meet in the coming weeks.
To quote his keynote speech: "There has been far too much attention paid to policy and process and too little attention on delivery.
"It's quite easy for a Government to turn itself into a 'Strategy Factory' - you know, creating an endless stream of strategies without there being any product at the end of it.
"I want this to change and change radically.
"Delivery will be the watchword of the next Welsh Labour Government."
When the term 'strategy factory' was floated to the press pack on the eve of the speech, ears pricked up. Was the First Minister really going to use that term? Yes, he was. It had been 'totally understandable' that in the early years of devolution, the Assembly had needed time to bed down - but now we were in 'a different phase'.
This is, it goes without saying, a risky strategy. It opens his party's flank up to attacks that, put very simply, it has failed to deliver in government, that it's concentrated on thinking and talking rather than doing, a potentially rich seam for the other three major parties. You get the feeling that the press release from the Welsh Conservatives almost wrote itself.
At the same time it's strategy that conveys to the electorate a tangible reason to vote Labour (or so Mr Jones would have it) and gives the party a sense of purpose heading into May 5th.
In passing, it does seem somewhat strange that while Mr Jones publicly states in his speech that he presides over a system of government and civil service that "in many aspects is not suitable for a modern, devolved Wales" while his party leader Ed Miliband writes an article headlined "Wales is an alternative for Britain to follow". But that's politics, and they're at very different stages of that electoral cycle, remember.
So what will "delivery" actually look like?
In recent days, there have been three contributions to the debate about how our public services are delivered - all fascinating and all with something different to say. What unites them is that none are particularly complimentary about the way they have been delivered so far.
First up, Gerry Holtham, he of the Commission fame, a man who must hold a record for the number of namechecks from Welsh politicians for his two careful, thorough and comprehensive reports into the way Wales is funded.
In a piece for WalesOnline, he widens his focus on to the way that money is actually spent. He admits to having subscribed to the Rhodri Morgan/Mark Drakeford approach which placed co-operation and consensus well ahead of competition and choice in the running of public services.
Now, he says, it's time to face reality and evidence and in his words "the news so far is not good".
In the most piercing series of questions, which will be most painful for Carwyn Jones and his party, he suggests that the close relationship between the left and the trades unions may be among the causes.
He writes, "Public sector trades unions are very powerful in Wales, sponsoring many politicians. Has this led to a culture of complacency and cosy connivance in inadequacy? Has trusting the professionals become a reluctance to subject them to proper scrutiny?
"Has abolishing invidious comparisons lapsed into starving the public of legitimate information needed to hold services to account? At first glance it seems that the more bracing regime in England has permitted better results than our approach.
"Do we in Wales generally have a tendency to take the soft options?"
Mr Holtham does single out Education Minister Leighton Andrews as an honourable exception to this in recent months - but remember too that teaching unions are not affiliated to the Labour party.
He admits that he doesn't have a blueprint for doing it better and certainly isn't advocating that Wales simply copies whatever is done in England. For him, it's about recognising evidence that standards and expectations are too low in Welsh public services and alongside putting our trust in professionals to get on with job must come a means of holding them to account for the performance of the services they deliver.
Delivery is also high on the list of Wales' most senior civil servant, the Assembly Government Permanent Secretary Dame Gillian Morgan. In a speech last week, reported by the IWA's John Osmond, she gave a frank analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of Welsh policy making and service delivery.
The third very interesting contribution to the debate comes from a less political source but is no less intriguing for that. Work psychologist Philippa Davies gives her prescription for educational improvement and concludes - it's time to get nosy.
In refreshingly frank language, she says it's time to take on individuals whose entrenched interests block reform, or, as she puts it, "nobble the change chokers" at each level "from minister, to civil servants, to local authorities and then teaching front-liners".
At the same time, she warns, all stick and no carrot will mean change will be sabotaged, unconsciously or otherwise.
For her, it's public engagement - and downright nosiness - that stands the best chance of delivering change.
So where does all this leave us? Well, it shows that change and reform are now being thought about across the board and not just in ministerial speeches and opposition press releases. At the same time, the UK government will unveil radical changes to public service delivery in England within the next fortnight that look to go much, much further than anything even being contemplated in Wales.
While the question of "what will delivery look like" is likely to be a central theme of the coming election campaign, it's also likely to be well after May 5th before we find out what the answer is. And even then, the scale of the challenge, judging by the three contributions I've mentioned here, is nothing short of immense.
One pointer may come from the last big review yet to be published before this Assembly is dissolved on April 1st - the wide-ranging group set up to investigate whether services should be delivered at a local, regional, or national level in future.
In terms of changes to public services, it may well give us the where and the why - but possibly not the most critical part of all - the how.