"We don't go looking for fights ... but then we don't have to".
Anyone who got a warm fuzzy feeling when the new Prime Minister came to the Assembly soon after the coalition was formed and proclaimed the "Respect Agenda" between the UK government and the devolved administrations will have long since felt the chill of intergovernmental wrangling.
A final few thoughts for you to kick about then, before I take a few days off to get to grips with the sander and the paintbrush - and that's relations between Westminster and Cardiff Bay between now and the General Election of 2015.
A colleague was chatting with a WAG insider recently and asked where they thought things were at now, if ten was bestest of buddies and nought was troops massing at the toll booths the other side of Severn Bridge. A long pause and the answer came back - "Seven but heading downwards". And the respect agenda of the spring? We're in a winter of deep discontent, was the gist of the response, a litany of snubs real and perceived. In short, frozen out and ignored.
But remember who's in charge at both ends of the M4 and remember who's got an election to try and win next year. How much of the anger from the Cardiff side of the street is synthetic? The same question was being asked a matter of weeks after the new coalition government was formed. A letter from the Wales Office had arrived in Cardiff hours after its content had been discussed openly with journalists in Westminster - I was amongst them. Not on, came the cry from Cardiff. Was it really such a big deal? Was the anger not appearing a bit on-tap?
But the insider is adamant. There's nothing synthetic about this at all. "We don't go looking for fights..." A pause. "But then we don't have to".
The decision to have the AV referendum coincide with the Assembly elections next year, the decision to make fundamental changes to the funding and governance of S4C, the scrapping of the Severn Barrage plan, the closure of Newport passport office - all these and others cited as evidence that Welsh ministers are seemingly the last to hear about big decisions with big implications for Wales.
Politically, the electrification of the Great Western line, not mentioned in the CSR, is taking on a symbolic importance even greater, perhaps, than its probable economic benefits. It's mentioned time and again when you speak to figures at both ends of the line. The decision is clearly in the balance and there's a lot riding on the announcement of whether it happens or not, expected in the coming weeks.
Overall there's a strong sense that the new UK Government is focused on getting things done and done quickly. The speed with which they've moved on several fronts isn't exactly conducive to fraternal, consultative relations with the devolved administrations. "Oh didn't we mention it? Sorry ..."
In Whitehall, there's barely disguised irritation at what's seen as, for want of a better phrase, childish behaviour from the Assembly Government. A source says bluntly, "It's time for some grown up politics, rather than spending your time blaming everything on someone else". The message is: this is the hand you've been dealt, now do the job you were elected to do and get on with it.
Carwyn Jones' jibe at Cheryl Gillan the day after the CSR settlement about Wales "lacking clout around the Cabinet table" (premeditated, by the way, not off the cuff) has touched a nerve. It won't be forgotten in a hurry.
The question that can't be answered until next spring is this - is the Labour-Plaid coalition in Cardiff Bay deliberately kicking against the Tory-Lib Dem government in London to sharpen the dividing lines ahead of next May's Assembly Election? If so, perhaps we can look forward to a smoother relationship between 2011 and the General Election in 2015 even if the cohabitation continues.
But the respect agenda cuts both ways, remember. If Carwyn Jones remains First Minister after May 2011, he'll have to deal with the same Secretary of State that he's publicly said isn't up to the job. Post-election pledges of a new era of constructive engagement will ring a little hollow if a lot of dirty water's already flowed under the bridge.
This is the risk of the confrontation strategy. But don't expect it to change any time soon. The frustration is real. In the days of Peter Hain and Paul Murphy in Gwydyr House a lot of business was done by phone, minister to minister. Now, there's a lot more letter writing going on, a much more formal relationship. Not unexpected perhaps and today's Wales Office is relaxed about it. "This is government to government, not the old school network" says a source. A more grown up way of doing politics. The other side would argue the opposite.
Which side is behaving like a grown up government? Or maybe this is what grown up politics looks like.
Time for that break.