Theresa May and Brexit in Swansea

Theresa May first came to Wales in the baking hot sun in Cardiff Bay last summer, a short time after she became Prime Minister.

Her latest visit was in the driving rain of Swansea Bay as she bookends her pre-article 50 period in Downing Street with another series of visits to the devolved nations of the UK.

With political turmoil in Northern Ireland and threats of another independence referendum in Scotland, this was by far the easiest leg of her mini-tour.

But in a way that brings its own pressure in that if there are Brexit disagreements between the UK and Welsh governments, then it does not bode well for the other devolved administrations.

The slightly awkward shots of Theresa May and Carwyn Jones at the Liberty stadium give the impression of a workmanlike relationship at best.

Tin ear

Mr Jones had accused her of having a tin ear towards devolution, echoing the same description of Mrs May that was dished out by Nicola Sturgeon last week.

The Welsh Government knows that with SNP and Sinn Fein appearing to be in the ascendancy in Northern Ireland, the Labour Welsh administration is the only one that believes in holding the UK together, and it wants to use it as leverage in making sure it is rewarded, rather than penalised.

But the UK Government also knows that Wales voted to leave, and that means that while there will be disagreements on the nature of the Brexit deal under discussion, it can at least claim to be trying to deliver what most people in Wales voted for.

There were plenty of predictable messages from Theresa May in Swansea: the desire to represent all corners of the UK, the determination to get a free-trade deal with the EU as well as the call to companies to look further afield for trade.

But with eight days to go before article 50 is triggered, it was always going to be highly unlikely that anything is given away at this late stage.

After months of waiting, it feels like we are in the slightly strange period just before the business end of Brexit gets underway.

The big question mark is how long it will take for us to get a sense of what the outcome will look like.

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