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Welsh Secretary warns against ‘just slagging off negatives of independence’

18 Apr 2021 3 minutes Read
Simon Hart (left) by Chris McAndrew (CC BY 3.0).

The Welsh Secretary has warned against “just” slagging off the “negatives of independence”.

Simon Hart made the comments in an interview with POLITICO, for an article that analysed Boris’ Johnson’s “Project Love” strategy for saving the union.

The centrepiece Boris Johnson’s ‘charm offensive’ is a plan to replace EU investment cash, which used to be under the control of the Welsh Government with the so called “shared prosperity fund” which will be managed from London.

The move has been slated by the Welsh Government, describing it as an “attack on democracy” because it takes away powers from the Senedd.

But Hart is a keen supporter of the plan and said that he believes the public wants to hear Westminster set out the benefits of the union “in a positive way, rather than just sort of slag off the negatives of independence.”

Tory Ministers want to give cash directly to local authorities for specific purposes under the banner of the Union Jack, rather than handing money to national parliaments and letting them take the credit.

It is hoped that it will become a tool to demonstrate what the UK Government perceives to be the value of the UK.

‘Rip-roaring’ 

Simon Hart said: “Devolution can be a rip-roaring success if it’s in the right hands. And it can be a rip-roaring success if it isn’t hijacked by people who want to pursue a different sort of objective.

“I think at the moment we’re not making it absolutely clear what we think unionism looks like and why it’s a good thing.”

Hart is worried that Wales could end up in a similar place to Scotland on the question of independence, where opinion polls consistently show a majority for leaving the UK, if the Johnson  government can’t respond effectively to the nationalist stirrings.

He said: “Although the numbers are quite a long way off where Scotland is, if you look back 20 to 25 years, then you can see the sort of general shift.

“I think that’s what we need to take seriously and, above all, respectfully.”

Hart also claimed that the mindset was of the UK Government was changing, with ministers now applying a “union filter” to all decisions, by considering what their impact will be on the other nations and making sure there is a benefit for them.

Westminster wants to promote “growth deals” around the UK. A transport review of connections between the nations is underway, which includes looking at a bridge, physically linking Scotland and Northern Ireland.

It is also planning low-tax freeports around the UK – one of which is planned for Wales despite the Welsh Government having misgivings. The Welsh Secretary has said he is prepared to overrule the Welsh Government on the issue.

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Howell williams
24 days ago

Mr Hart your project is doomed from the start if you belive that handing out cash rapped in a jack ribbon will impress people you must be living on a different planet.
Handling back our money and telling us it’s from westminster think again.
We will have an independant nation and we will look after our cash our way.
The way all you union party’s have kept us in poverty is unforgivable.
Just pack up and leave and spear your selfs further embarrassment.

Richard Davies
Richard Davies
24 days ago

Agent provocateur & Tory overseer Welsh Secretary Simon Hart can’t bemoan the rise of the Welsh independence movement or calls for further devolution when he and his Conservative party act like tinpot dictators towards Wales by using threats of overruling and bypassing our Senedd & Welsh Government regarding the creation of a freeport in Wales , structural funding and intrusion into already devolved areas etc… Simon Hart forgets that it was his party that devolved ports to our Senedd, and now like a spoilt Tory brat threatens to throw his dummy from his pram by overruling Senedd competency. Very democratic… Read more »

J Morgan
J Morgan
23 days ago
Reply to  Richard Davies

Another baseless rant. As for this rise in support you bang on about. What rise? All in your head. Not one person I’ve ever spoken to thinks it’s on the rise at all. As for “colonialists” what tripe. We have more Tory MPs,Ams and councillors than pLIED. pLIED may I add are the most useless representatives I’ve ever come across. Most are no show and if you really claim to “speak for wales” then why do you continue to vote against us time and time again? Now that REALLY is Anti Wales. The last year has been an eye-opener for… Read more »

Last edited 23 days ago by J Morgan
Wrexhamian
Wrexhamian
23 days ago
Reply to  J Morgan

You are making the usual “Abolish” mistake of confusing the Welsh Labour Government with the Senedd. Your rant against them and against Plaid Cymru is justified to the extent that Plaid have been a reluctant Opposition and Welsh Labour have failed to solve the post-industrial problems facing the poorer areas and have squandered resources on projects of little or no value to the country. These facts are not, however, an argument for abolishing the Senedd; they are, instead, an argument for voting a new party into power in May, committed to using the already-limited powers of devolution to fight an… Read more »

J Morgan
J Morgan
23 days ago
Reply to  Wrexhamian

I have never advocated “Abolish” at all. They are a one policy “party”. I also do not advocate more AMs or power’s either. Not when there is already more than enough policy to make a difference locally. But time and time again the Bay don’t use them and just blame others for their OWN failures. Devolution for the last 22 years has made us worse off and most underperformed part of the UK only slightly behind the abysmal SNP administration in Edinburgh. As for pLIED they are the most useless no show representatives I’ve ever known. Same as LIEbour. I… Read more »

Last edited 23 days ago by J Morgan
Johnny Gamble
Johnny Gamble
23 days ago
Reply to  J Morgan

I agree that The Senedd government has had its flaws but its no worse than Wasteminster, A place full of tax dodgers, benefit scrounger and war mongering psychopaths

Last edited 23 days ago by Johnny Gamble
Wrexhamian
Wrexhamian
22 days ago
Reply to  J Morgan

You’re certainly right that the Welsh Government have, except in a few cases, failed to use devolved powers to act in the country’s interests. I am relieved to hear that you are not as a result proposing the abolition of the Senedd.

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