At this time of year it’s especially important to focus on those things that bring us closer together as a society – rather than the things which divide us; and as families across Wales rush to get things ready for the festive period, attention is naturally turning to those family traditions that bind us together with a sense of belonging.
Christmas is a reminder of the need to treat others as we would want to be treated. That we must care for the sick, feed the hungry and welcome the stranger. Those values are shared by people of all faiths and backgrounds.
But Christmas also has a personal significance for each of us as individuals, and for me it boils down to two things: Love and time. As we step off life’s treadmill we are reminded of the love we have for our families and our friends, and the love and support they give us.
In the pursuit of public service, I have in my 10 years as an assembly member spent a great deal of time away from my family – perhaps more so than most other jobs would demand. Christmas is about making up for some of that lost time and reconnecting with those closest to us.
But we must also spare a thought and no small amount of gratitude to the many thousands of public servants, for whom Christmas is just another day at work. The doctors and nurses, police officers, firemen and women, right across Wales who will keep the country running whilst we are with our families.
I cannot in my political career recall a more difficult year than the one which has preceded us. The tragic deaths of Brexit campaigner Sam Gould; our own deputy chief of staff, Ben Davies; and more recently Carl Sargeant seem to have robbed the National Assembly of a certain innocence. Their passing has left an enormous scar on us all, and it will be difficult to remember 2017 outside the dark prism of these events. In the ensuing weeks and months my thoughts often return to their families and loved ones, for whom Christmas will be a particularly painful juncture.
And as if the year wasn’t already replete with bad news, it was with enormous sadness and concern to hear that Steffan Lewis AM has been diagnosed with cancer. Like many families in Wales, the Lewis family will fight bravely to defeat this foe and I have every confidence that he will overcome his condition and re-join the Chamber in the new year.
So, as we come together with our loved ones, let’s take a moment to reflect on the last 12 months and cherish the time we have with our families, and be thankful for their love. Beyond this, let us remember our responsibilities to our fellow man – especially to the more than 75% of women and third of men over-65 who live alone in Wales. Pick up the phone, knock their door and make sure they know that someone cares.
Let me wish everyone in Wales, Britain and the World over a very happy and peaceful Christmas.
Andrew RT Davies,
Leader of the Welsh Conservatives