Mark Drakeford highlights Wales’ humanist values at Humanists UK Convention 2024 in Cardiff

15 June, 2024

At the Humanists UK Convention 2024 in Cardiff, Mark Drakeford, former First Minister of Wales, delivered a compelling keynote lecture on the pluralist, secular, and inclusive political values and ideals that have underpinned devolution and shaped public life in Wales.

Drakeford’s non-party-political speech, rich with references to Wales’ unique culture and the principles guiding its politics, culminated in a standing ovation by an audience of 600 humanists.

Drakeford was invited by Humanists UK to reflect on humanism in Wales and his time in office. He outlined his principles for good government based on a model of citizenship, saying:

‘Our approach to policy-making is firmly rooted in the belief that good government is good for you… Government needs to solve the common problems that face us all. Those solutions are likely to reach deepest into the lives of people who will benefit from those policies, and deepest of all, into the lives of those who need those solutions the most. Good government is good for you.’

He outlined a belief that working across party lines and involving more people in democratic decision-making created better outcomes for individuals and societies:

‘When you act collectively to craft those common solutions, you actually increase the global sum of freedom available to the whole of the community.’

He called for a more compassionate politics, reflecting humanist ideas in saying:

‘The care we owe to others is not care simply to people we know, but a recognition that the fate of other people, people we will never meet, but who we recognise that their wellbeing and their welfare is intimately bound up with the welfare of us all.’

Later, he made a passionate case for a more equal society, saying:

‘More equal societies operate on that entirely different basis. They recognise that the things that matter to you, the things that you might want to achieve in your life, are the things that matter to the people you live alongside.’

In response to an audience question, Drakeford revealed his own strong support for a compassionate assisted dying law:

‘I think it would pass through the Senedd [were it a devolved issue]. I would certainly be a supporter of it myself. But I’m also a believer in the United Kingdom, and I believe that some rights, in the way that I was describing earlier, should belong to you as a result of your citizenship of the United Kingdom. And you can imagine all the unintended consequences they would be if assisted dying was available in Wrexham but not available in Chester. Chester, literally 10 minutes away. You have a right to take control of the way in which you leave this world.’

Humanists UK Chief Executive Andrew Copson said:

‘Wales is one of the least religious nations in the world and its exemplary political culture is a living, breathing example of how secular political institutions and democratic humanist values can contribute to making a fairer, better society for us all. We are grateful to Mark Drakeford for welcoming us to Cardiff today – which is a real testament to the importance of humanism in Wales and the recent successes of Wales Humanists.’


For further comment or information, media should contact Humanists UK Director of Public Affairs and Policy Richy Thompson at or phone 0203 675 0959.

Humanists UK is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people. Powered by over 120,000 members and supporters, we advance free thinking and promote humanism to create a tolerant society where rational thinking and kindness prevail. We provide ceremonies, pastoral care, education, and support services benefitting over a million people every year and our campaigns advance humanist thinking on ethical issues, human rights, and equal treatment for all.