Animated end to Tories' difficult week

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A few weeks ago, senior Welsh Conservative figures were expecting Theresa May's speech at the spring conference in Cardiff to be her first big one after triggering Article 50.

But the timeline was pushed back and instead this became a strength-of-the-union speech.

It was probably one she knew had to be made at some stage, maybe not quite so early in her premiership.

The prime minister visibly looked more animated after a workmanlike speech when she launched into claims that the SNP has obsessive tunnel vision.

The party faithful lapped it up and I got a sense of an end-of-week release for the party after a difficult few days dealing with the Scottish independence question, a budget u-turn and questions over expenses.

And even though this was delivered in front of a Conservative audience in Cardiff, much of it was meant to be consumed by audiences further afield, and a Scottish public in particular contemplating another independence referendum.

Whispers not gone away

There was no big Welsh-specific announcement. The leader in Wales Andrew RT Davies visibly bristled when he was asked this question, as he made the point that Theresa May made a big speech about the UK, and Wales forms part of the union.

But there was nothing directly related to Wales, despite all the whispers of a Swansea city deal in the offing.

Those whispers have not gone away so there was probably a calculation that it would have got lost in the mix now, and may be better in another week when the government can try to put itself on the front foot.

Finally, as I am writing this from the Swalec cricket ground, it seems appropriate to say the UK government has been batting on a difficult wicket this week.

Fleet street scribes gave a wry smile that a bad week was ending with the news of George Osborne's editorship of the Evening Standard - a high-profile critic of Brexit now being given a perfect platform.

Could this happen in Wales? Stephen Crabb at the Western Telegraph maybe, and what about Andrew RT Davies editing the Barry Gem?