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.”
Police release new CCTV image of murder suspect
DYFED-POWYS POLICE has released a new CCTV image of Steve Baxter, who detectives are keen to speak to in connection with the murder of Simon Clark from Pendine, Carmarthenshire.
The image was captured in Glynneath on Saturday, September 29. He is believed to have traveled to the west Wales area shortly afterwards and is believed to be in the Haverfordwest area.
Baxter, also known as Steve Tidy, Steve Rowley, Wayne Tidy or William Tidy, is aged 52, 5’5” (1.65cm) tall and has tattoos on his forearms – the name Chez and entwined circles on his left arm and a serpent on his right arm.
He is bald, but was last seen wearing a hat and wig, as shown in this image. He may have made other attempts to alter his appearance such as growing facial hair or wearing glasses.
Detective Superintendent Huw Davies said: “We’re releasing this CCTV image from the latest confirmed sighting of Steve Baxter to give people the most up to date example of how he may be dressed and how he may currently look.
“Time is passing and we really need to speak to Steve Baxter to build a more accurate picture of what happened in Pendine.
“To anyone that may know where he is, please pass this vital information to police.”
The independent charity Crimestoppers is offering a reward of up to £5,000 for information leading to Steve Baxter being found. Information would be taken by the charity anonymously.
If you see Steve Baxter call Dyfed-Powys Police on 999.
If you have any information on the whereabouts of Steve Baxter call Dyfed-Powys Police on 101 immediately.
To pass on information anonymously, contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or through the non-traceable anonymous online form at www.crimestoppers-uk.org.
David Davies Llandinam show comes to Tregaron
THERE will be a special opportunity for the people of Tregaron to learn about one of Wales’ most successful industrialists, David Davies Llandinam with a performance by the drama company “Mewn Cymeriad”.
To celebrate David Davies’ link with the area, Cered: Menter Iaith Ceredigion, Cymdeithas Hanes Tregaron and Clwb Plant Capel Bwlchgwynt have organised a performance of the family friendly show “David Davies Llandinam”.
David Davies was born in Llandinam, Montgomeryshire but he had an influence across Wales. He built railways across the country including the Manchester and Milford Railway that connected Tregaron with Aberystwyth and Carmarthen by using a huge amount of Cardiganshire wool to lay the rails across Cors Caron.
In addition to being an astoundingly successful entrepreneur, David Davies Llandinam was the MP for Cardiganshire between 1874 and 1886. Nine years previously, he stood against one of Tregaron’s hero, Henry Richard to be the local Liberal Party candidate for the 1865 Election.
Councillor Catherine Hughes, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services and Culture, “The history of David Davies Llandinam is very interesting. It’s wonderful to see organisations coming together to put on this show in Tregaron and Mewn Cymeriad following this character’s fascinating story.”
Mewn Cymeriad is a drama company that travels across Wales to present one actor shows full of fun and excitement to children about historic characters such as Barti Ddu, the Lord Rhys, Hedd Wyn and Owain Glyndŵr. The David Davies show was written by Mewn Cymeriad’s founder Eleri Twynog Davies and the show is performed by the actor Ioan Hefin who has starred in programmes such as Hidden, Gwaith Cartref and Teulu.
The free show of David Davies Llandinam will be shown at Bwlchgwynt Vestry, Tregaron on Monday, 29 October at 7pm. Come to see the actor Ioan Hefin present a lively and interactive show about the man who brought the train to Tregaron. It is an interactive show that is aimed towards children aged 6 to 11 however it is suitable for the whole family.
For further Information, contact Steffan Rees, Cered’s Community Development Officer on 01545 572 350.
Visit to inspect new Active Travel works held
SUSTRANS CYMRU director, Steve Brooks visited recent work to the Aberystwyth Active Travel Network on 26 September. The network of pedestrian, cycling and general accessibility improvements has been developed in partnership with the Welsh Government and Sustrans.
Mr Brooks met with Councillor Alun Williams, Ceredigion County Council’s Cabinet member responsible for Adult Services and the Council’s Sustainability Champion, as well as Council Officers. During the visit they discussed the work carried out so far and future work to improve the Active Travel Network in Ceredigion.
Councillor Williams praised the work undertaken to date, “It was a pleasure to meet with Sustrans colleagues and County Council officers. The excellent work that the County Council has done so far in Aberystwyth was showcased, with the aim of encouraging children to cycle, scoot and walk to school. The improvements do of course benefit everyone in the community by helping to encourage healthier and more active lifestyles whilst reducing traffic congestion and we had a useful discussion about further developing active travel initiatives across the whole of Ceredigion.”
Three towns in Ceredigion have been designated as Active Travel Settlements under the Active Travel (Wales) Act 2013. The Council carried out a public consultation during 2017 to identify and prioritise future improvements. As a result, walking and cycling routes are being improved incrementally through various Welsh Government grants as funding permits and subject to physical constraint.
Steve Brooks said, “Plascrug Primary is one of many schools in Ceredigion where Sustrans’ Active Journeys Programme is delivered and it’s great to see the positive difference made at these locations, in conjunction with improved routes and new scooter and cycle shelters installed by the County Council following successful grant funding from the Welsh Government. The Programme includes classroom activities where pupils can help influence future grant bids and also embraces a range of engaging activities which helps to build the confidence, enthusiasm and skills needed to help form new active travel habits. These activities and lessons support schools’ efforts in achieving Eco-Schools and Healthy Schools awards as well as working towards Sustrans School Mark award which recognises excellence in sustainable travel.”
The Council is also improving active travel opportunities outside these three settlements, such as near schools, employment sites and key tourism destinations.
Image: Left to Right: Sioned Lewis, Sustrans Cymru; Plascrug Primary School Pupils; Councillor Alun Williams; Steve Brooks, Sustrans Cymru; Gari Jones, Ceredigion County Council.
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