Sunday Times declares Mark Drakeford ‘comfortably the most popular UK leader’
The Sunday Times newspaper hs declared the First Minister “comfortably the most popular UK leader” due to his handling of the Covid pandemic.
Pointing to his approval polls and public support in Wales, the newspaper said that Mark Drakeford’s “nurse-knows-best approach” seems to have won over the public, giving him a higher approval than Boris Johnson or Nicola Sturgeon.
Meanwhile, in the marginal constituencies that the Conservatives won in 2019, “Johnson is toxic here and it takes a long while to find anyone with a good word to say about his government”.
The article was written by the newspaper’s Washington correspondent Josh Glancy, who declare that due to Mark Drakeford’s differing approach to handling the pandemic “the Welsh border, which has been mostly ignored since the two nations were unified under Henry VIII in 1536, has begun to matter again”.
Wales has generally imposed harsher lockdown rules then England throughout the pandemic, including a five mile ‘stay local’ rule during the first lockdown. The First Minister also decided to introduce new rules on outside sports and hospitality over the New Year, while England did not.
Those rules are due to be relaxed over the next two weeks, with crowds at elite sports such as the Six Nations returning next Friday.
But the Sunday Times also warns that Drakeford, a “cricket-loving, clarinet-playing academic” may also be “playing with fire”.
“His emphasis has been on ‘following the science’, which he has accused Johnson of blithely ignoring. With some recent restrictions, however, there is also a sense that he is playing the populist, feeding anti-English, anti-Tory, anti-Boris sentiment in a way that could imperil the union between the two countries,” the article says.
“Certainly the question of devolution, which has been an uncertain one in the minds of many older Welsh voters since a referendum supported it by a narrow margin in 1997, now appears settled.
“Welsh language use has soared, with the government’s ‘one million speakers by 2050’ goal looking well within reach, and there is growing confidence in the future, despite the country’s economic difficulties.”
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