Decline in Welsh-only identity in 2021 census ‘good news for the Union’ says Conservative MS
The decline of Welsh-only identity in the 2021 Census is “good news for the union” a Conservative Senedd Member has said.
Speaking in the Senedd, Janet Finch-Saunders MS questioned the Welsh Government’s continued focus on the Constitution and independence, in light of the latest census figures.
The Member of the Welsh Parliament for Aberconwy, addressing First Minister Mark Drakeford, highlighted the latest figures which show a decline in Welsh-only identity, and an increase in those identifying as both Welsh and British.
According to the latest census results, 55.2% of people selected a “Welsh” only identity in Wales in 2021, a decrease from 57.5% in 2011.
Meanwhile, 18.5% of people selected a “British” only identity – an increase from 16.9% in 2011.
However, the number of people selecting both Welsh and British identities also rose to 8.1% in 2021, an increase from 7.1% in 2011.
Speaking in the Senedd Chamber, Janet said: “The increase in people holding both Welsh and British national identity, recorded by the latest census over the past decade, shows the strength and affection people have for our centuries-old Union.
“People are clearly proud to be both Welsh and British, and want to see a strong Wales in a strong United Kingdom.
“The figures in direct contrast to Mark Drakeford’s comments at the Welsh Affairs Committee, where he seemed to suggest that somehow British identity was on the decline and Welsh-only identity was increasing.
“The First Minister must make clear to his governing comrades over in Plaid Cymru, that people have had enough of their divisive push for independence, and want to focus on the issues that really matter to the people of Wales”.
The First Minister Mark Drakeford responded to say that the identity question in the census results were “worth proper exploration”.
“We know that the number of deaths over the last decade exceeded the number of births that took place in Wales,” he said.
“So, the growth in the population in Wales comes exclusively from people who have not been living in Wales—moving into Wales.
“Twenty-three thousand more people born in England were recorded as living in Wales in the 2021 census, than as in 2011. They’re very, very heavily concentrated in two local authorities in Wales: they live in Flintshire and they live in Newport.
“In other words, they live right by the border, and they’re people whose lives are fluid, living in one place, working in another, and it’s no surprise, therefore, that they bring that sense of their identity with them.
“I think those figures are worth serious debate. I would say that they reinforce what this party—my party—has always believed, that what people in Wales benefit from is strong devolution, with the capacity of this Senedd to make decisions on the things that affect only people in Wales, but benefit as well from being in the United Kingdom.
“That’s always been the policy of my party, and I’m very happy to reinforce it again this afternoon.”
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There you have it – the tories in Wales are now apparently in favour of cultural genocide!
JFS delights in the demise of Welsh identity, culture and nationhood. Tories toast their British affiliation, as do many Labour Unionists, whilst viewing Welshness as second-class, or often third-class, attachments. If people are serious about the continuation of Wales and Welsh nationhood then they have to get real about putting their thoughts and feelings into practice on a daily basis. The other way lies submergence into EnglandandWales and a bland British identity, with an agenda set to the east of Offa’s.
Just ditch our slave name, Welsh altogether. The Cymru are the original native Briton’s. It is ironic that the term, British not Welsh, is the more appropriate and fitting term for the most senior people of this island.
Agree totally we should stop using the offensive labels Wales and Welsh. In the face of these continuing assaults on identity, language and culture, there is so much scope to respond, forcefully or politely, but as frequently as possible, that Y Cymry are “First Nation” British. The original inhabitants across swathes of what is also England and southern Scotland. The campaign starts here. Shout it from the rooftops; it recasts the so-called Union in a different light.
What is her point here? 55.2.% put ‘Welsh only’ and 18.5 put ‘British only’. The gap is close to three times the amount in favour of Welsh. What does that say about her precious Union?
Also, a lot of people identified as “Welsh-European” in response to Brexit, so I suspect the number of “Welsh identity” (excepting “Welsh British or “British”) is higher than 55.2%!
Good point and one that takes her other leg away. Another example of a Tory failing to comprehend when saying nothing is the best option.
She’s a card, aint she.
Yes. The joker
JF-S is making some seriously flawed assumptions. She is presuming that if you record yourself as British or British and Welsh then by extension you also support the union. This nonsense as many people will identify by their nation of birth on official forms. That does not mean they have no affinity for their adoptive country of residence and also is no indication of their attitude towards independence. I suggest there are a great many England born residents in Wales who have at least a positive attitude towards independence and indeed, may fully endorse it. JF-S, think again.
Silly dame gets off on regurgitating the old Union nonsense. Maybe she’s got a Jack imprinted on her favourite bed time toy. One thing for sure, she hates the Welsh and Welshness. Our identity is a source of major irritation to her. Perhaps she ought to buzz off over the border and resettle quietly on the Wirral or Cheshire.
I’m seriously considering moving to Aberconwy just to vote against this liability of a politician!!
By current polling, you won’t need to.
Sadly, Labour there are no better.
Proves they hate us. How could a decline in a native language be good for identity and culture. It can’t unless the only culture wanted is England’s
That’s not true Wales is multi cultural.
How are they always so adept at misinterpreting results? Anything kless than 5% is considered statistically insignificant and can be attributed to the 2011 census and the 2021 census being carried out at different times of the year (in one, students were at Uni, in another they were at home) and the latter census being carried out at a time when immigration (mainly from England according to the other census stats) is higher. To determine if people who once described themselves as Welsh now describe themselves as Welsh and British, one needs to look at the count, not the percentages.… Read more »
As many people pointed out, there could actually be a rise in the number of those identifying as Welsh.
Many did note their identity as “Welsh – European” in response to Brexit, however this would skew the number of those identifying solely as Welsh from the unionists’ perspectives.
Ah, the old Tories will jump on anything to make it look like we favour the Union. The Union is coming to an end, the Tories have to get used to it, particulary as they are one of the primary reasons it is.
I really can’t imagine what has happened to people like Saunders to make them hate there own country so much,
The Treacherous Traitors Welsh Tories want Wales to just be a glorified County of England and TREACHEROUS TRAITORS QUISLINGS fits them
…and the Tories have just shown themselves to be anti-Welsh.
Could you imagine this being said in any other country from its own politicians?
The tactics of the past 75 years have clearly not worked. It is time for Welsh Nationalism to change.
Certainly time for the Libs to change back to the pro Welsh party they were
This is what she and her acolytes want – the erasure of our culture, language and national identity.
Hi, If you use your eyes and intelligence, you can see how the child/adult crime rate and body dismorphia problems among teens – increases the nearer you get to the English border of North and South Wales, where folk born here, have been robbed of the Welsh-language, and so many English have flooded in, blindly seeing no cultural difference between them and the Welsh. So it should be obvious to anyone born here, that English immigrants have and still are supplying many many people who are ‘damaged goods’ to our country, who are angry, have not had their needs met… Read more »
Wow are you a Welsh version of Tommy Robinson-
No, it’s just that I say things which are backed up by statistics. Truths that are uncomfortable, that’s all.
Has it not occurred to her that the latest figures are not due to a change in self-identification among swathes of Welsh people but to a change in the demographic make-up of those now living in Wales, with many younger people leaving the country because of lack of job opportunities, to be replaced by those escaping from English cities during the covid pandemic? Why on earth would a Londoner who recently moved to Gwynedd identify as “Welsh not British”? She’s not fooling anyone.
It’s something of a non-sequitur, and does nothing to dilute the desire for more devolution/ quasi-independence. But it only takes an angle to encourage a Tory/Unionist to reach for a dog whistle
What else can you say. The tories don’t even care the mask has slipped. It’s all about eradicating Welshness to replace it with Engl..British culture.
So is it good news for unionists when polls are showing support for Scottish Independence now over 50%? What does Finch-Saunders think will happen once Scotland does breakaway & Ireland reunites. There wouldn’t be a union to part be part of. Would British even be an option on the census tick sheet? Welsh independence would become inevitable, because a lopsided union of just England and Wales would not simply not work. So if you want to fight to keep the union alive, then you are going to have to convince the Scots to stay within it (good luck with that),… Read more »
Speaking as a Unionist her argument is correct. However, she fails to see the bigger picture where the speed of the changing demographics of the whole of the UK is unprecedented. Within a century the Welsh, English and Scots will become a minority within their respective nations – even if those nations continue to exist. The UK will be a multicultural state and there’s very little we can do about it. We have to face reality. Reactions to these comments are usually over the top when made by a Conservative. There are people in other parties who are happy to… Read more »
“…the strength and affection people have for our centuries-old Union”.
 as Wikipedia would say.
I’m English and regard the so-called Union as an anachronism long past its sell-by date and incapable of any serious reform that would qualify it as a modern nation state.
If we can believe the figures?? Still she can get lost. Remember we can’t actually find out the numbers of Cymraeg speakers in England coz the ONS apparently didn’t ask?? They know what other languages people speak!
One reason the damn white flight brigade not only do they steal our homes most are over 70 and we have to payout of our Welsh benift system they also clog up local surgery’s our hospital as well.
Something’s are so wrong we need independence.