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Welsh council refuses UK Govt call to fly Union Jack from authority buildings

23 Jun 2023 4 minute read
Gwynedd Council has confirmed there are no plans to fly the Union flag from the authority’s buildings despite new UK Government guidelines

Gareth Williams – Local Democracy Reporter

A Welsh council has refused calls from the UK Government to fly the Union Jack flag from its buildings and said it will not comply with “any Westminster dictate”.

A successful UK Government planning application to display a massive Union flag on the side of the recently constructed HMRC hub in Cardiff has kicked off further wrangling over identity and nationhood.

But responding to a question during Thursday’s full council meeting, a member of Gwynedd Council’s cabinet confirmed there were no plans to fly the Union flag from the authority’s buildings despite new UK Government guidelines.

In March the culture secretary announced that all UK Government buildings in England, Wales and Scotland would fly the flag every day, described by Oliver Dowden MP as “a proud reminder of our history and the ties that bind us”.

The UK Government’s Local Government Secretary, Robert Jenrick MP, subsequently wrote to all councils in England asking authorities to fly the flag as “a sign of our local and national identity.”

But prompted by a question by veteran Welsh nationalist councillor, Owain Williams, the portfolio holder for corporate support confirmed that Gwynedd would not be veering from its existing practice of flying y Ddraig Goch (Red Dragon) above Siambr Dafydd Orwig in Caernarfon.

Describing the UK Government’s motives as “brazen,” the Llais Gwynedd leader added: “I am unwilling to see us accept this and feel we should express our unhappiness at what’s been proposed.

“This is only a small part of Westminster’s plan to undermine our nationhood and our identity, I ask that the council contacts the UK Prime Minister’s office and seek an apology for besmirching our nation.”

In response, portfolio holder Nia Jeffreys noted: “There have been guidelines and encouragement issued to fly the union flag, but we are responsible for our own flag policy.

“Recently there were calls for a UK day with schools to join in a song glorifying the union and the strength of the union.

“I’m thankful to the Football Association of Wales for coming up with the idea, on the same day, for children to sing Hen Wlad fy Nhadau with schools across Gwynedd joining in after being encouraged by our education department.

“I believe we’re doing all we can as a council to promote our culture and Welsh nationhood.”

The authority has previously been criticised by some of its members for replacing Wales’ national banner with a UK Armed Forces Day flag to note the annual June occasion, which features a portion of the Union flag on its design.

Policy

A row also broke out on Anglesey in 2017 with members of the council’s independent opposition group attempting to pass a motion that the Union flag should be flown all year round alongside y Ddraig Goch and the authority’s own logo.

That motion was defeated, however, after failing to gain the support of the Plaid Cymru and Independent ruling coalition nor Labour councillors.

Gwynedd’s existing flag policy notes that the Union flag only has to be flown on the day of the funeral of a member of the Royal Family, and that at half mast.

Others, including LGBT, Owain Glyndwr and United Nations flags are flown on designated days while a Yes Cymru flag was seen above the debating chamber after the authority passed a motion backing the principle of Welsh independence in 2019.

Speaking after the meeting Cllr Jeffreys added: “In Gwynedd we celebrate our Welsh identity at every opportunity.

“We fly Y Ddraig Goch proudly on all our council buildings and no dictate from Westminster or anywhere else will change that.”


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Riki
Riki
10 months ago

Yes, UK flag. Not British. The Union flag is exactly what it sounds like. The flag that represents the political union of two countries on the island. It has no cultural connection to a “British” people. Now ofcourse known as Welsh by English speakers. So if we were to use the Roman term British to whom they intended it for, the British flag would apply to Y Ddraig Goch.

Leigh Richards
Leigh Richards
10 months ago

Brilliant stuff from Gwynedd’s Plaid controlled council 👏 – would that other councils in Wales would do the same.

Stephen Owen
Stephen Owen
9 months ago
Reply to  Leigh Richards

Da iawn

Gareth Westacott
Gareth Westacott
10 months ago

Da iawn, Gwynedd!

Mr Williams
Mr Williams
10 months ago

Da iawn Gwynedd. Come on the rest of our councils!

David
David
10 months ago

RE posted from 2021.

Dai Ponty
Dai Ponty
10 months ago

Called the Butchers Apron my many countries

Cathy Jones
Cathy Jones
10 months ago
Reply to  Dai Ponty

It’s called The Litter Tray Liner in our house.

Stephen Owen
Stephen Owen
9 months ago
Reply to  Cathy Jones

Excellent

The Original Mark
The Original Mark
10 months ago

Are we also aware that it is illegal to fly the EU flag on public buildings without jumping through various hoops due to a law passed by Westminster government.

Cathy Jones
Cathy Jones
10 months ago

This is Cymru, we fly the flag with the Draig on.

Rob
Rob
10 months ago

Wales isn’t represented on the Union Jack so why should we fly it? As encouraging councils in England to fly Union Jacks, why don’t they encourage them to fly the Cross of St George, it is after all England’s national flag? I find it interesting that we in Wales or our friends in Scotland get accused of being ‘anti-English’ simply because we want to protect our identity or because we won’t support their football team, yet we are not the ones suppressing England’s identity.

Riki
Riki
10 months ago
Reply to  Rob

Indeed. However, it’s done because they know if The Welsh and Scots are to capitulate and Their nations cease to exist (including England). England would live on through the UK and Britain because they have conditioned the world to believe they are the same thing. This is the fundamental reason why the people of Wales and Scotland cannot give up. Especially Wales because what makes it worse is the fact that it’s the people of Wales who are the historical and cultural Brits. Who new themselves as such before the English chose to use the term themselves.

Steve A Duggan
Steve A Duggan
10 months ago

The UK government doeesn’t have a clue – by forcing the union onto us it just pushes us away more. But that is its mentality, ‘you will do what we say and want, whether you like it or not’. Well not any more, those days are coming to an end. Well done Gwynedd.

Riki
Riki
10 months ago
Reply to  Steve A Duggan

It does to critically thinking people. However, Wales is known for its sheep, and not just the four legged kind.

Gwyn Hopkins
Gwyn Hopkins
10 months ago

As Rob implies the composition of the Union Jack does not represent the Kingdom it purports to represent because it omits Wales which is in the UK but consists of the Cross of St Patrick which represents both Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic which is not in the UK. It is therefore a bogus flag that insultingly discriminates against Wales and, as such, no council in Wales should fly it. The people of England and English councils would certainly not fly it if England’s Cross of St George wasn’t on it, nor would the UK government.
 

David Smith
David Smith
9 months ago
Reply to  Gwyn Hopkins

As well as being technically inaccurate in that it does not represent the Awesome Foursome of Our United Kingdom, it is also a sinfully garish, angular, strident thing that has been only cheapened over the decades by being plastered on all manner of cheap tat.

It’s also the only flag I know of which suffers from the following paradox. Being nearly, but not quite, symmetrical, it’s quite liable to be flown upside down by the less attentive. This means its loudest and most obnoxious wavers, i.e. the stupidest in society, are the most likely to fly it this way!

Sion Griffiths
Sion Griffiths
10 months ago

It’s quite remarkable that people such as Oliver Dowden can’t see that they are characaturising themselves and their fellow English

Richard
Richard
10 months ago

Having served on numerous local authority and WJEC committees with the late Dafydd Orwig as well as being a former student of his – I am sure his international views as the author of Yr Atlas Cymraeg 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 would have been to support 🇬🇧 being flown over the Council Chamber on United Nationals Day. A day to remember human rights and oppressed minorities still striving for the freedom and destiny from their colonial conquers.

Malcolm Jones
Malcolm Jones
9 months ago

Why should We in Wales fly the butcher’s apron no thanks you can stick it where the Sun 🌞 don’t shine

Stephen Owen
Stephen Owen
9 months ago

Very good, I don’t want to see the butcher’s apron in Wales. Cymru am byth 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿

David Smith
David Smith
9 months ago

It’d be laughable how clunky, desperate and overt these edicts from On High are, were they not also troubling in their heavy-handedness. This dying empire will fight to its last.

John Howard Edwards
John Howard Edwards
9 months ago

The union jack should not be flown on any public buildings in Cymru. It is a symbol of imperialism, and this is conveyed by the fact that the red cross of Saint George is plonked squarely on top of the crosses of Saint Andrew and Saint Patrick, thus deprecating their importance. The only cross you can see clearly without ambiguity is that of Saint George. The flag is an abomination.

David Thomas
David Thomas
9 months ago

Nice to see xenophobia is alive and strong in Wales! Not

Following M Drakefords one of three get out of jail comments.
1. You don’t understand the point I am making.
2. Shame on you
3. It’s all Westminsters fault.

Be careful what you wish for, because the Welsh assembly will screw it up, Plaid will tax you to death, and local councillors will put you down with their pompous power egos.

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