Brexit made people in Wales feel more Welsh after UK left bloc, academic claims

John Penrose issues warning at EU red tape holding back Brexit

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According to Professor Richard Wyn Jones, director of Cardiff University’s Wales Governance, polls showed the percentage of people who defined themselves as Welsh in Wales had risen from 24 percent to 30 percent.

However, the number who defined themselves as British and Welsh had fallen from 27 percent to 19 percent.

He told Barn magazine: “My theory is that it is Brexit that explains this fall.

“Over the past five years, it has become clear that Brexit is a national project in that it is an effort to embed and advance a particular understanding of a nation’s past as well as a possible future.

“But of course, it’s an understanding that both divides and polarizing understanding, with many rejecting it outright.

“In such a context, is there not likely to be a tendency among those who reject also reject the national project and the national identities most closely associated with that project?

“After all, in the context of the complex patterns of identity that exist in the UK, we all have options!

“And indeed, on closer scrutiny of the latest data, it seems that the supporters of Remain – the Remoaners, as the tabloid press call them – are those who abandon their dual identities and embrace a sense of national identity that better links with their political aspirations.

“One of the consequences of Brexit, therefore, is to make the Welsh Welsher.”

These findings come after a poll published last week found a majority of Leave voters in Wales believed Brexit should not be used to remove powers from the Senedd.

Academics used Welsh Election Study (WES) data to show 52 percent of Leave voters rejected the suggestion the “UK Government is right to remove powers from the Senedd if it is necessary to maximise Brexit benefits”.

Writing in a British Politics after Brexit report for the UK in a Changing Europe initiative, they found there was opposition to use Brexit to undermine devolution among 88 percent of Remain voters as well as 71 percent of the Welsh electorate as a whole.

Data confirmed that the Leave vote in Wales during the 2016 referendum was not fundamentally linked to scepticism over devolution.

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Back in November, the Welsh Government accused the Tories of “levelling down” their nation after the UK Government confirmed it will receive less than one-seventh of funding it would have from the EU.

Michael Gove, the Minister for Levelling Up, announced a “community renewal fund” and claimed it would pump around £46million into the Welsh economy by funding 160 projects.

However, the Welsh Government said this is just a fraction of the £375m it would have received annually from the EU before Brexit.

A Welsh Government spokesperson said at the time: “Throughout the Brexit debate, the UK Government gave repeated assurances Wales would not lose ‘a single penny’ of EU funding should the UK exit the EU.

“Today’s [Thursday’s] announcement by the UK Government shows they are short-changing Wales by cutting the replacement funding we were promised.

“Instead of Wales receiving at least £375m annually in new money to invest from January this year, it confirms Wales will receive just £46m.

“This is not ‘levelling up’, it’s levelling down.

“The UK Government also promised devolved powers would be respected.

“The unconstitutional Internal Market Act undermines democratic devolution by stopping decisions about Wales being taken in Wales.

“It is yet another clear demonstration the people of Wales have been misled by the UK Government.”

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