Posts Tagged ‘St David’s Day’

On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I congratulate the people of Wales as you celebrate St. David’s Day this March 1. This special occasion celebrates the rich history and culture of the Welsh people.

The United States is enriched by years of influence from Welsh-Americans. The friendship between our two countries dates back to the early 1700s and nearly 2 million people living in the United States today have Welsh ancestry. Iconic authors, philanthropists and statesmen of Welsh descent have helped shape the history of the United States. This relationship continues today as we work on areas of mutual interest and shared ideals.

The United States and Wales benefit from commercial and educational exchanges, strengthening this already robust relationship. We look forward to deepening these connections, increasing prosperity and continuing our efforts to promote peace around the world.

As you celebrate St. David’s Day, know that the United States stands with you as we work toward a better future for all our people.



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I’ve spent the day in Westminster where there’s been plenty to occupy Welsh politics watchers.

First up, the unusual sight of a Welsh Conservative MP urging his government to follow the example of the Labour-Plaid Cymru Welsh Assembly Government.

Simon Hart, the MP for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire, led a Westminster Hall debate on the subject of outdoor play.

As a former Chief Executive of the Countryside Alliance, Mr Hart is well-known as a fan of the great outdoors. But the purpose of his debate was to urge the UK Government to build outdoors learning into the National Curriculum in England.

And to that end he praised the Assembly Government’s Foundation Phase for the youngest children which encourages teaching outside the classroom.

Mr Hart told MPs – and the Education Minister who was on hand to reply for the Government – that his own children had benefitted from the foundation phase and “if it’s good enough for the Welsh Assembly then surely it’s good enough for the UK as a whole.”

Later in the day it was another Conservative MP, this time Stratford-upon-Avon’s Nadhim Zahawi who was pushing the case for Wales.

He introduced a Ten Minute Rule bill calling for the introduction of bank holidays in Wales and England to mark St David’s Day and St George’s Day.

Mr Zahawi’s bill says that next year’s one-off Royal Wedding Bank Holiday should be turned into national Saints’ Days holidays from 2012.

It would promote national integration, he said; it would celebrate the best of English and Welsh culture and it would reclaim patriotic symbols from extremist nationalist parties like the BNP.

Unfortunately it’s unlikely to become law despite repeated appearances in Conservative manifestos past. As a government source put it to me today, “It’s not in the coalition agreement.”

The third and final bit of Welsh Westminster action takes place behind closed doors in this afternoon’s meeting of the Privy Council.

Amongst the orders the Queen has on her list to approve are those which make it possible for next year’s referendum on strengthening the powers of the National Assembly to take place.

Assuming she approves it (and you’ll be hearing a lot more about it if she doesn’t), that’ll be it for the parliamentary jiggery-pokery needed to make the referendum happen. Tomorrow marks the official beginning of the referendum period.

March 3rd will be here before you know it.

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