Ed Miliband witnesses the rough and the smooth in Cardiff

The Labour leader Ed Miliband witnessed the rough and the smooth on his short visit to the centre of Cardiff.

There was a warm reception on Queen Street as the man who would be king greeted a few dozen of his party members with three weeks to go before the European elections.

So much about politics involves momentum. He knows a good showing later in the month will be a big boost to his efforts to get to Number 10 next year.

It was a billed as a pre-election walkabout in the city centre but it quickly turned into more of a pre-election sprint as a small number of protestors made life difficult.

In his trickiest moment in a coffee shop, Ed Miliband met Gareth Williams, the spokesman for a campaign group who claim their relatives have experienced poor care at Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board.

Mr Williams was angry and the Labour leader struggled to get a word in edgeways as he was urged to put pressure on Carwyn Jones to hold a public inquiry into failings in the Welsh NHS.

Cost of living

There was some glad handing from Labour voters out shopping but this wasn't a relaxed stroll engaging with the public.

Later in the day, I asked Ed Miliband whether the fact that the economy was improving was taking the edge off his cost of living crisis theme, which was his central message of the day.

As the Conservatives point out on a regular basis, the best way to deal with the cost of living is to create more jobs, which is exactly what is happening.

His answer is that the various indicators like GDP and the unemployment figures are simply not being reflected in the reality of people's lives.

As a result, he believes his cost of living argument becomes even stronger because people don't feel part of something which they keep on being told is being felt by other people.

The strategy will only work if people don't feel as if the economic recovery is being felt in their communities and I suspect this will be the central political argument in the UK over the next year.