Last week I had the pleasure of joining with thousands of people from across Wales and further afield at the National Eisteddfod of Wales.
The Maes has been a place for celebration of Welsh and local culture, heritage, and talent.
For example, the entertainment choir competition saw around 300 local residents compete as part of Côr Bro Cernyw, Côr CantiLena, and CoRwst; I personally watched the coronation of this year's winning bard with the crown beautifully crafted to include copper from the Great Orme; and was delighted to learn that the Creuddyn folk party had done so well.
The triumph of local talent has left me with no doubt about the appropriateness of the Eisteddfod being held in the shadow of Llanrwst is striking new Hollywood sign!
The town has been centre stage. Rather than just passing through on a shuttle bus, it has been fantastic to see organisations and individuals doing their utmost to ensure that our community benefits.
Pantri Crwst are to be applauded for brining local produce together in a one stop shop on the official caravan site, and I cannot but be grateful to Cartrefi Conwy for the brilliant plans they have for the town. I learnt more about this during my visit to their stand where I got to experience the new, innovative, and economical houses that will replace some of the flats at Glanrafon. These homes have the potential to lead the way in North Wales, and to see the building team guided by a gentleman from Llanrwst set for a very busy future.
It was to the past that the town took visitors too as many left with documentary evidence of their visit. This is as result of the fascinating scheme which saw people issued with a Llanrwst passport: encouraging them to explore the town through harking back to the community’s historic claim to be an independent nation!
Independence was on the minds of politicians visiting the Eisteddfod also, such as Carwyn Jones AM, former Labour First Minister. He chose to use the event as a platform to pander to Plaid Cymru by claiming that Wales would not be too poor to be independent, and that we need to be ready to think about these things now.
This represents a transformation in Welsh politics as the Welsh Conservative party now remains the only major party elected to the National Assembly for Wales in 2016 which passionately believes in our United Kingdom.
Labour is quickly seeming to become indy-curious, and we have just seen the Liberal Democrats team up with Plaid for the most recent Parliamentary by-election.
Be assured that I have thought about the consequences of a break up of our United Kingdom. It will come as no surprise to you therefore that I was proud to defend Wales’ place in the Union during the last week of term, and stand with the Rt Hon Alun Cairns MP, Secretary of State for Wales, at the Eisteddfod.