St David's Day: what might have been for Danny Boyle

Commons Speaker John Bercow, watched by Plaid Cymru MP Elfyn Llwyd, receives daffodils from Ysgol Gymraeg Llundain pupils Commons Speaker John Bercow, watched by Plaid Cymru MP Elfyn Llwyd, receives daffodils from Ysgol Gymraeg Llundain pupils, who are suitably dressed for the St David's Day occasion

St David's Day is a long time in politics.

It seems like only yesterday, in fact it is only yesterday, that Welsh MPs began to celebrate our national day during Welsh questions in the House of Commons.

Today, 24 hours ahead of the actual date, the Commons Speaker John Bercow took delivery of a bunch of daffodils from pupils at Ysgol Gymraeg Llundain.

The children sang at the traditional service in the Chapel of St Mary Undercroft in the Palace of Westminster. Welsh Secretary David Jones and his Labour shadow Owen Smith both read from the Bible. Former Plaid Cymru leader Lord Wigley read A Welsh Testament by R.S. Thomas.

Half a mile away, the Welsh government's office in London hosted a reception to showcase Welsh wines, ales and ciders (oh, and food).

There was also something of a "coup" at the Foreign Office. Welsh Education Minister Leighton Andrews hosted a gathering of ambassadors, high commissioners and international business people.

Invited guests included diplomats from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. The High Commissioner for Grenada, Ruth Rouse, told me that her country also celebrates St David's Day (and several other saints' days by the sound of it).

A harpist played; Welsh canapes and Welshcakes were served, even if the wine came from Kent. Guests were given a pocket folder with key facts on the country and an invitation to "learn some Welsh". The phrases are handy enough, although "os gwellwch (sic) yn dda" has one 'l' too many.

No-one seemed to take offence. One Welsh government official said, as he glanced around the glamorous surroundings of the Locarno Suite: "Business is flying around the room."

Leighton Andrews took centre stage at a Foreign and Commonwealth Office lectern flanked by two huge red dragon flags. He highlighted Wales's successes in sport, business and education.

He recalled his own student days at Bangor University. A fellow student was Danny Boyle - they overlapped in English classes. "He's now a world famous film director," said Mr Andrews, ".....and I'm not.

Perhaps the Rhondda AM was being too modest. Mr Boyle is remembered at Bangor as a "very mature, very focused and down-to-earth student".

Perhaps if he'd been that little bit more focused, he might have been able to swap Hollywood for the National Assembly in Cardiff Bay.

Where did it all go wrong for the Oscar-winning London 2012 opening ceremony director?

David Cornock Article written by David Cornock David Cornock Parliamentary correspondent, Wales

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