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Drakeford: UK Government need to ‘think very carefully’ about whether giant UK flag boosts YesCymru

13 Jul 2021 4 minutes Read
Mark Drakeford. Picture by Doubledoppler (CC BY-SA 4.0).

The UK Government need to think very carefully about whether a 100 foot union jack they are proposing to place on their tax office in Cardiff will simply boost YesCymru.

Speaking in the Senedd, Mark Drakeford said that he couldn’t speak freely =about the development as the decision by Cardiff Councils planning officers was currently open to judicial review.

However, he expressed concern that the giant flag would only push more people towards signing YesCymru’s petition to revoke planning permission, which had already garnered over 19,000 signatures.

Mark Drakeford said that his objection “is not to a union flag per se; it is whether a 32 m tall, 8 m wide union flag is a proportionate way of proceeding”.

“It’s important, maybe, just to put on the record that this was not a decision taken by elected members of the council,” he added. “Within the standing orders of the council, this fell to officers to determine, and, as I understand it, the planning rules are such that the presumption is that planning permission is granted and the officers have to be persuaded to go against that presumption.

“They decided that, neither on amenity or on safety grounds, should the application be turned down. But this is the letter that the leader of the council wrote to the Secretary of State for Wales, and he said that ‘a misconceived exercise in image projection now would serve little purpose other than to generate disagreement’.

“And I think that is a point that the UK Government ought to think very carefully about. If the purpose of their actions is to strengthen the union, then they need to ask themselves whether or not a union jack on the scale and size that they are proposing is likely to achieve that ambition.

“Or whether it will simply drive more signatories to the Yes Wales petition asking for it to be reconsidered.”

‘Concern’

His answer came after Plaid Cymru Senedd Member for South Wales Central, Rhys ab Owen, said that allowing the flag could set a precedent for other large advertisements or logos.

“I’m not going to rehearse the argument about the union flag. What the UK Government is doing is blatant, it’s obvious, and, I think, as you’ve said previously, First Minister, it’s not going to work,” he said.

“It’s more the technical point I wanted to make. As you’ve mentioned, the flag is classified as an advertisement, and the planning officer, whilst granting it, used, as an example, an LED screen in the city centre, which is 44% smaller than the union flag.

“The flag isn’t up yet, but still we haven’t got the recourse to call it back in and we can’t appeal it. The only people who can appeal it are the applicants themselves, and, of course, the UK Government won’t appeal.

“I’m glad to hear you are looking at other options, because my concern is the precedent this sets, First Minister. Who knows, we could have more union flags popping up; we could have advertisements for fast food outlets; we could have advertisements for betting firms coming on our skyscrapers in the city centre.

“So, the concern I have, First Minister, is the precedent this sets. Diolch yn fawr.”

‘Branding’

A UK Government spokesperson said: “Ty William Morgan is a significant UK Government building and is the first of its kind in Wales.

“As is practice with similar UK Government sites across the United Kingdom and around the world, it will feature the Union flag as part of its visual branding.

“The flag of Wales is flown at Ty William Morgan which also contains other specifically Welsh branding, while the name of the new building was chosen to reflect the UK Government’s investment in Wales and Welsh culture.”

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Quornby
Quornby
3 months ago

There is a union flag flying outside our parliament in Cardiff. Can this “advertisement” be removed please?

CapM
CapM
3 months ago

This is basically Drakeford telling Johnson –
We’re on the same side Boris but can’t you see that my tactics for binding Wales into the UK are more effective that yours.

j humphrys
j humphrys
3 months ago
Reply to  CapM

Yes, Taffy Duck is always giving ’em advice on how to undermine Welsh freedom.
Trouble for him is, they don’t listen, simply waiting for him to finish polishing their boots.

Dave
Dave
3 months ago
Reply to  CapM

how confident are you with that assertion? as a Labour member I’m not so sure #Indywales @labourforindependence

CapM
CapM
3 months ago
Reply to  Dave

The Labour Party is effectively the Labour and Unionist Party. If Mark Drakeford and others break away to form a genuinely independent (of the current Labour and Unionist Party) Labour Party Cymru I’d welcome it.
If that party ditched the federal fantasy then better still.

As a Labour member how sure are you that that will happen?

Chris
Chris
3 months ago

UKBIN Government need to “think carefully”

Does nobody else see the fatal flaw in that plan?

defaid
defaid
3 months ago
Reply to  Chris

There’s a pretty vast assumption in the suggestion, isn’t there?

defaid
defaid
3 months ago

A pound of flesh, but no blood. Can be done.

How about leaving the butcher’s apron in place, thus sticking to the letter of the planning application, but…

… placing a 100 foot Draig Goch on top of it?

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
3 months ago

The Union Flag dragged through the gutter by Fat Shanks, not content with killing and maiming tens of thousands of Brits, now he has condemned hundreds of thousands of the poorest around the world to the same fate.

Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
3 months ago

The order of events – The flag will go up. It will stoke the Welsh Independence movement. We will leave the UK. End. .

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