Happy St David’s Day / Dydd Gŵyl Dewi hapus

It may not be the bank holiday that so many in Wales have been calling for, but St David’s Day 2023 offers an opportunity for both celebration and reflection – for those of us living in Wales, and beyond.

As public affairs practitioners, with the Welsh party conferences just around the corner, St David’s Day offers a chance for a political stock-take. Welsh Labour will be looking to set out its vision afresh as it moves towards finding a new leader. Plaid Cymru faces long-term questions over its strategic positioning. The Welsh Conservatives are looking to set out a compelling alternative policy platform in the face of poor recent polling. All this takes place in the midst of sweeping planned changes in the Senedd voting system, and calls for constitutional change.

At Grayling, we’re proud of our presence in Wales. We’ve been active here since before devolution, working with clients in sectors from telecoms, to energy, to housebuilding, to transport. Over the years, our Wales team have witnessed far-reaching changes, not least the transformation of the National Assembly for Wales into the Welsh Parliament, and a wholesale devolution of powers far beyond what many imagined when the Assembly was first created. All of this has created fresh and interesting challenges for organisations seeking to engage with the policy-making process both in Cardiff Bay and Westminster.

Scotland and Northern Ireland often dominate the headlines when it comes to devolved matters. So March 1st is an opportunity to celebrate the essence of Wales’ national identity, and to recognise its enormous potential on the world stage. But, for many of us, our connection to St David’s Day is more personal than that.

Our Wales team spoke to colleagues around the Grayling network about what St David’s Day means to them. And what’s emerged from those conversations is just how many of us cherish our Welsh connections, both big and small. As Wales’ patron saint himself said, it’s often y pechau bychain – the small things – that resonate.

Here are a few of those reflections:

Most poignant for me is the memory of my sister and I pinning on daffodils and having our annual St David’s Day photo taken outside our house – a cherished family ritual.” Siân Jones, Director, Cardiff

My entire childhood is filled with memories of trips to Wales and caravan holidays in a tiny village called Pontllyfni . North Wales is a really special place to me and by pure coincidence ended up being the first place that we took both our children on holiday as babies” – Katie Eborall, Director, Grayling North

St David’s Day for me is a chance to be proud of my country from afar. Although I won’t be donning any Welsh costume, family back home usually send me some Welsh cakes in the post.” Luke Bodycombe, Senior Account Manager, London

As a proud Jones, whose family hail from Aberystwyth, St David’s Day always makes me think of my late Nain and Taid. In their memory, I fill the house with daffodils and love the excuse to eat Welsh cakes.”  Abigail Jones, Director, London