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This report is taken from PN Review 193, Volume 36 Number 5, May - June 2010.

Letter from Wales Sam Adams

It is 1 March, Saint David’s Day. This morning we went to Cardiff to join the seventh National St David’s Day Parade. It is an occasion for wearing national emblems, colours and costumes, and hoisting flags, St David’s gold cross on a black ground alongside the ancient Dragon. There are enormous horses to lead the procession, pipes and drums, marching bands, dancers, hoary old patriots and a crowd of young people from schools within and outside the city.

Their route is along St Mary Street and into the newly elegant pedestrianised area of The Hayes, where a pavilion is set up alongside the statue of John Batchelor, 1820-83, ‘The Friend of Freedom’. Batchelor was a staunch Liberal and ‘champion of municipal reform’ in the days when to oppose the Tory Bute family, landowners of great swathes of Cardiff, was distinctly unhealthy, as he found to his cost. From the pavilion, speakers in Welsh and English address the throng, the biggest cheer going to the one who vows to fight on for St David’s Day to be declared a public holiday in Wales - a plea rejected by Tony Blair when he was PM. On an almost Spring-like sunny day, it seems an excellent idea.

On this occasion in previous years the principal speaker has been Professor Hywel Teifi Edwards, who died in January. The name may not be familiar to readers to the east of Offa’s Dyke (though they will almost certainly recognise the television ...
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