David Cameron kicks off Nato summit in Wales

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Media captionDavid Cameron

There surely could not have been a better day for the defence firm General Dynamics in Wales.

The prime minister joined military top brass at the plant in Oakdale to announce a major new contract and the Nato summit was about to begin down the road.

For David Cameron it was the perfect platform to "kick off this incredibly important" Nato conference because he could combine talking about hundreds of jobs in the defence industry in Wales with the international threats facing Nato members.

He said it was hard to think of a Nato summit coming at such a dangerous time.

For local residents affected by disruption he made an appeal for patience, saying it would be worth it in the end because of the benefits of Wales being seen around the world.

While at the Oakdale plant I managed to get a brief but wide-ranging interview with the prime minister, or in other words three questions before he was whisked away by his Downing Street minders.

Positive rhetoric

I asked him how he squared the positive rhetoric about Wales that we'll hear lots of from him and others during the summit, with the negative tone of the language he regularly uses about the state of public services in Wales.

On my mind was the line he used at the Welsh Tory conference in Llangollen in which he referred to Offa's Dyke as the line between life and death.

I'm not sure how many world leaders would be happy to come to Newport if they knew that was the view of the UK prime minister.

His response was to say he loved Wales and that it wasn't an attack on Wales but a legitimate criticism of Labour Welsh government policies on the NHS.

He gave very little away when I asked him how he saw Wales fitting into the structure of the UK if there's a close result in Scotland, other than to say that he felt devolution was going at different speeds.

And I finished off on the question of who was going to pay for the electrification of the south Wales valleys rail network.

Close to deal

The last time I got the chance to interview him live on Wales Today last year he said the UK government was funding it.

Since then there's been an almighty row because UK government ministers from Nick Clegg to George Osborne have insisted that the Welsh government agreed to pay for it.

This is what Mr Cameron had to say on Wednesday: "We are close to a deal.

"What I said at the time, and what I have always said, was that there was a set of agreements that linked together the funding of the electrification of the mainline into Wales, and then of course the valley lines as well.

"Now the valley lines are the responsibility of the Welsh government, but I'm sure that an agreement will be reached so all of this goes ahead.

"We are doing our bit at Westminster, the Welsh government needs to do its bit in Cardiff and if that happens all this vital work can take place."

We already know that the new Welsh Secretary Stephen Crabb has made it a priority and has already spent a lot of time delving into this hugely complex issue over the summer.

It appears a deal can be done but the question is how each side can save face at the same time.

However, I think we can all forgive the prime minister if he doesn't give it a huge amount of thought during his stay in Wales over the next few days.

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