St David’s Day is an opportunity to celebrate our beautiful country. It’s a reminder of the richness of our heritage and culture, and it should be a chance to demonstrate the vibrant future that lies ahead for Wales. 

 

When I think of this country I am immediately swept away by the beauty of its landscape – the rugged green of the Valleys; the clean, sandy beaches of the Gower Peninsula; or the postcard perfect seafronts of Tenby and Llandudno. Wales has something to offer everyone.

 

It’s a country which has been built on the foundations of its industrial past – and whose future promises to be just as bright, if we can only grasp the opportunities that lay ahead. 

 

That’s why my message for St David’s Day this year is about hope and optimism. 

 

This is the land of song, and we need our political leaders to be singing from the same hymn sheet. We cannot allow pessimism or negativity to hold us back as we approach a momentous period in our history. 

 

Brexit divides opinion, and for the country as a whole it is without question the greatest opportunity for 2017. 

 

But in spite of the rhetoric emanating from parts of the establishment here in Wales, the vote to leave the EU wasn’t evidence that our democracy is broken. Far from it. 

 

More people than ever voted in the referendum – we just need to work harder to bridge the gap between groups in society who disagree.  

 

Wales is a resourceful, creative and industrious nation and we must now harness that energy. 

 

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries Wales experienced a spectacular boom in coal mining. The world looked to the Welsh mining industry for expertise and advice. 

 

Today, it is Wales that builds the wings for more than half of the world’s commercial aircraft, and which pioneers world-leading treatment for cancer and a variety of life-threatening diseases. 

 

Our mission as a country must be to ensure that Wales’ future is as glorious as its rich and illustrious past. 

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