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St David’s Day: A truly Welsh holiday

There is no doubt that St David’s Day should have long since become a National holiday in Wales. For those who doubt this assertion, let’s recap:

2000 - the Welsh Senedd (the Assembly at that time) voted unanimously to have this as a Welsh National holiday. The then Labour government said no - on economic grounds, shaky as these are (some studies suggest that economies with a similar make up to that of Wales actually gain marginally from bank holidays).

2006 - an ICM poll for the BBC finds 87% support in Wales for St David’s Day as a bank holiday. Only one in ten in Wales opposed the idea.

2007 - a petition calling for St David’s Day to be a bank holiday in Wales was rejected by Westminster and Tony Blair, the labour Prime Minister at the time.

2018 - a YouGov poll puts support for St David’s Day as a bank holiday for Wales at 58% with a further 17% in favour of it being a holiday for all four nations. Only 20% were opposed.

So unanimous is support for March 1st as a national day of celebration in Wales that even Andrew R T Davies, current leader of the Welsh Conservatives, in defiance of the UK government line, said last year:

‘I would like to see St David's Day made a bank holiday in Wales. It would be a wonderful opportunity for us to unite and celebrate our rich heritage and culture’

Simon Hart, the then Secretary of State for Wales, gave this short shrift, as ever.

But the point here is not whether we are all supporters of designating St David’s Day / Dydd Gwyl Dewi as a national holiday, it is that we have no power or authority to do so.

It seems a small and inconsequential matter but it symbolises all that is wrong with the Union and with our relationships as nations within it. This is our patron saint, it is our day, uniquely ours, in a packed calendar of global celebrations. Our democratically elected representatives have made it clear that they believe it should be celebrated and defined as a special annual holiday. Polling has been consistently in favour of it being a dedicated festival day. Requests have been frequent and consistent. Always dismissed. What better example do we need of our lack of agency as a nation, as a people.

Whatever your feelings on designating this day as a national holiday or not, that we should be free to do so for ourselves as a nation is evident. 

With such high levels of support, in an independent Wales, you can be absolutely assured that we would be celebrating our heritage and culture on March 1st as a national holiday, and would have been doing so for decades.

What better symbol do we need of a dominant power suppressing the democratic will of its associated subjects. If the relationship between London and Cardiff was a balanced one, based on mutual respect and the recognition that this was a voluntary Union of nations working together in cooperation, then how could there be an objection to allowing us to celebrate our own holiday? 

Now it may be that there is a feeling in the Westminster corridors of power that the Welsh are like children who should not be allowed the authority or power to determine their own holiday calendar. 

The answer for us in Wales is clear and absolute - Independence. Let’s take back control of our own fate, let’s seize our own destiny, let’s stand on our own feet. Let’s make all of our own decisions, let’s plan and invest for our own future and the future of our children, let’s stand tall on the international stage, politically as well as in the sporting arena.

Let’s show our strength as people, let’s grow and succeed as an independent nation, let’s solve the challenges we face today and in the future with solutions designed for Wales. With the understanding that we can do better because we know and care about the people who live here in Wales, we recognise that we all have shared goals of prosperity, fairness and lives lived with joy, happiness and fulfilment.

Independence / Annibyniaeth - let’s make it happen.

Bendigeidfran's Blog


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