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Neil Hamilton least popular leader in Senedd history



Neil Hamilton least popular leader in Senedd history

Neil Hamilton least popular leader in Senedd history

A RECENT poll revealed that UKIP’s new Senedd leader Neil Hamilton is by some distance the least popular leader of any Welsh political party in the history of the Senedd.

The Welsh Political Barometer poll, as is standard, included a question asking respondents to rate political leaders on a dislikelike scale of 1-10. Although they are not the leaders of their parties in Wales, Senedd leaders Kirsty Williams and Neil Hamilton were included this time. Neil Hamilton’s average score among respondents was 2.1 out of 10, on a scale where zero indicates strong dislike and 10 represents strong like. To put this in perspective, while Welsh party leaders generally score less than five out of ten, the most popular leader, Leanne Wood, scored 4.8, and was closely followed by Carwyn Jones on 4.7. Kirsty Williams, the last remaining Lib Dem in the Senedd, scored 4.4, while Leader of the Welsh Conservatives Andrew RT Davies, in spite of losing his party’s status as the official opposition in the Assembly elections, showed a slightly improved showing on 3.6.

Wales’ Green Party leader Alice Hooker-Stroud, despite failing by some margin to win the party’s first Senedd seat, got an average score of 3.4. Professor Roger Scully described Mr Hamilton’s approval rating as ‘quite extraordinarily poor’. “I’ve looked back through the full run of past YouGov polls in Wales that have asked this form of question (and also asked my colleagues at YouGov to doublecheck), and cannot find any other leader ever scoring as low as an average of 2.1 out of 10,” he said. “Indeed, no-one has ever scored nearly as badly as Mr Hamilton.

Nor have I yet been able to find any other example anywhere in the world where, on this form of question, a political leader has been so poorly rated,” he added, suggesting that Mr Hamilton has reached a nadir of popularity as yet unsurpassed in democratic society. The question also includes a ‘don’t know’ option, which although it is used by some people because they are genuinely undecided about a leader, generally functions effectively as a way of measuring their public visibility.

Given that the poll was taken less than a month after the Assembly elections, it is perhaps unsurprising that First Minister Carwyn Jones received the least ‘don’t knows’ with 25%, closely followed by Leanne Wood on 30%. However, a mere 35% of people were unable to express an opinion about Neil Hamilton, compared to 47% for Andrew RT Davies who has led the Welsh Conservatives for five years. “Indeed, it is striking that Neil Hamilton appears to have greater public visibility than Davies, Williams, Farron or Bennett, and far greater recognition levels than were ever managed by Nathan Gill,” Prof Scully remarked. However, he quantified this by pointing out that ‘recognition is only generally a good thing if it is accompanied by a fair level of popularity’.

Unfortunately for Mr Hamilton, it appears that his unpopularity is not confined to non-UKIP voters. Prof Scully admitted that 2.1 was an average rating, and that it has been suggested that what matters for parties like UKIP is less the views of the whole public, but those of the 20-25% who may consider voting for them. As an example, he pointed out that among current UKIP supporters on the Assembly constituency vote Nigel Farage averages 7.8 out of 10. Unfortunately the same cannot be said for Mr Hamilton, whose average score with the same group is a mere 3.4 out of 10.

To reiterate, supporters of UKIP in Wales, on average, dislike their Assembly leader more than they like him – something that is sure to be a cause for concern in the party. Prof Scully added that “literally 0% of them score him as a 9 or 10 out of 10. “It is d i f f i c u l t to place a positive interpretation on these findings,” Prof Scully remarked. “ P r o b a b l y the worst combination a political leader can manage it to be both visible and disliked. This, however, is what Neil Hamilton appears to have managed. The best thing I can say is that at least he hasn’t peaked too early in public popularity.”

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Two years of Active Travel improvements worth £336,750 completed in Cardigan



Councillor John Adams Lewis: On the newly widened footway

WORK has recently been completed by Ceredigion County Council to widen the footway on Pont y Cleifion Road, which sees the culmination of a two year package of grant-funded Active Travel improvements in Cardigan.

Deputy Leader of the Council, Councillor Ray Quant MBE, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Technical Services said, “I’m delighted that grant funding of £294,575 has been received from the Welsh Government’s Local Transport Fund over the two year programme. Coupled with financial contributions also made by Ceredigion County Council and Cardigan Town Council, the total value of this package scheme amounted to £336,750 to benefit the well-being of residents of Cardigan town. Further potential improvements have been identified by Highways Officers and these will be developed next year with a view to future implementation and construction.”

During the first year, the improvements were concentrated in the vicinity of Cardigan Primary School, which saw the introduction of a new 20 mph zone with traffic calming, wider footways, upgraded crossings and a new path to the swimming pool. A new cycle shelter and two new scooter shelters were installed at the primary school to help encourage more Active Travel journeys and less car trips. This was aided further by providing two brand new scooters and helmets which the school have used for pupils to earn ‘Scooterer of the week’.

The second year saw a 20 mph zone and traffic calming implemented outside Cardigan Secondary School, again with wider footways and new raised table crossings to aid pedestrians and mobility users. A new cycle shelter was installed to encourage pupils and staff to cycle to the school. The scheme included completion of the ‘missing’ footway link to the other side of the road on Aberystwyth Road with new resurfacing which has improved pedestrian connectivity and user comfort.

A new pedestrian refuge was also installed in the carriageway to aid crossing on Aberystwyth Road. The footway on Pont y Cleifion road was previously narrow and unsuitable for pushchair or mobility users due to the lack of dropped kerb provision. However the recent construction works have brought this section of footway up to modern design standards and provides a better quality Active Travel link between the town centre and the Parc Teifi Business Park.

Councillor John Adams-Lewis, Local Member for Mwldan ward and Chair of governors for Cardigan Primary School added, “I’m pleased that Cardigan Town Council has supported these improvements financially which has resulted in a number of footway enhancements in the town, especially at both our school locations which have benefited from road safety improvements and reduced speed limits. I would also like to thank Ceredigion County Council for their financial contributions and to Highways Officers for securing this grant funding and for overseeing these high quality works.”

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Police warn online trolls over ‘malicious’ Kiara comments



DYFED-POWYS POLICE have warned online trolls that they may take action against malicious comments relating to Kiara Moore, the 2-year-old child who sadly died in the River Teifi on Monday (Mar 19).

Her mother, Kim Rowlands, and father, Jet Moore, both posted on social media site Facebook following their daughter’s death.

Jet, responding to questions about the incident, said that it was a tragic accident.

Jet Moore: Explained what happened in Cardigan

He posted: “Just to let every one who keeps asking how know, it was the lemons stacked up too far!

“They got in the car to go home. Sat on bank card which snapped and needed money to get home etc.

“Went back to the office to get money from the desk and came back to no car. Looked in the river, no signs. So we thought she and the car had been taken.

“The police found the car a while later and went way beyond the call of duty jumping in and pulling her out.

“They tried to revive her for hours but unfortunately could not.

“Everyone had done their best.

“Thank you all so much for the support it means the world!”

Kim Rowlands: With her daughter, Kiara

His partner, Kim, added in a separate post: “Sadly yesterday my beautiful baby girl passed away!

“Due to my own stupidity, I will have to live with the guilt for the rest of my life!

“Mummy loves you baby girl and I’m so sorry.”

Many users of the social network commented on the posts which caused offence to many readers.

Now Dyfed-Powys Police has warned people to ‘think very carefully’ before commenting, and not to speculate about the events of Monday afternoon.

A spokesperson said: “Enquiries are continuing to fully understand the circumstances surrounding this tragic incident.

“Examination of the vehicle will form part of these enquiries.

“We can also confirm that the vehicle had not been stolen.

“We are aware of potentially malicious comments relating to the incident on social media. These are being reviewed and action may be taken where appropriate.”

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Two cardigan women warned of jail time



TWO Cardigan women have been warned they could go to jail.

Sarah Prytherch-Jones and Sarah Murnane appeared before Miss Recorder Elwen Evans at Swansea Crown Court for a plea and trial preparation hearing.

Prytherch-Jones, aged 32, of North Road, and Murnane, 35, of Greenfield Row, admitted breaking into a property on St Mary Street, Cardigan, on September 8, 2016, with the intention of causing criminal damage.

The plea was accepted by Nicola Powell, prosecuting, and a charge of burglary with the intention of causing grievous bodily harm was withdrawn.

They will be sentenced on April 3.

Miss Recorder Evans warned them that the offence was a serious one and that a jail sentence would be at the forefront of the sentencing judge’s mind.

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