Groundhog day on Valleys rail plans

I'm sure Jane Hutt would say she has had better starts to her working week than listening to the Welsh Secretary David Jones address hundreds of planning experts at a conference in Cardiff.

But Wales' finance minister was in the audience when Mr Jones started calling on her government to adopt the kind of reforms of the planning system that have been introduced in England.

And she was also there when he laid into the Welsh government over the row about who pays for the electrification of the south Wales Valleys network.

A senior Welsh government advisor called it "provocative".

David Jones reacted strongly when I put it to him he was being hostile, at a time when he was also talking about collaborative working between the two governments.

In fact, he even began talking about a positive working relationship in areas like the roll out of high-speed broadband.

Now that would be a headline story: the Welsh and UK governments work closely on delivering a project without any disagreement.

Paper trail

I'm sure there are countless examples of civil servants and elected representatives from both governments working effectively together.

Jane Hutt was keen to stress her working relationship with Danny Alexander, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, to help bring about the Welsh government's new borrowing powers.

But while there are high-profile disagreements like rail electrification continuing, then it's always going to be discord rather than harmony that dominates.

There are talks going on behind the scenes to try to resolve this dispute on rail.

I'm told progress is being made but clearly there's not that much otherwise we wouldn't be seeing the kind of groundhog day arguments we've seen today.

Broadly speaking, the UK government claims to have the paper trail on its side showing there was an agreement for them to share the cost.

The Welsh government claims to have the prime minister on its side when he told me on Wales Today that Westminster would cover the cost.

Obviously it can't go on forever. David Jones says they have weeks, or a few months to resolve it.

It would be fascinating to know at what stage the disagreement could hold up the planning work.

For that I need to speak to a senior Network Rail engineer.

In the meantime I'm about to leave the office to go to Cardiff Central train station to speak with commuters, the people who really matter in all of this.

I find it difficult to believe there'll be anything other than exasperated voices from those who want the politics removed and the investment to be made.