Green, Shapps and Redfellows

There is something askew about Grant Shapps, a.k.a. Michael Green. Even the Daily Mail thinks so:

Shapps is now ultra-defensive about the whole business, not excluding the Brazilian he gave his wikipedia entry. According to his version he was ridding the site of false information — his exaggerated exam results (in Woodwork?) and his religious affiliation. What also went is the Southall by-election fracas.

Mark Pack had that one on libdemvoice:

Now here’s an interesting tale. … can anyone provide a decent explanation?

Over on one of the (official) YouTube films from the Liberal Democrats there is this comment from someone:

Okay, realistically we’re not going to win though. Especially since the Tories have just received 5 defecting Councillors from Labour. Don’t quite know how they’ve done it, but the Tories have stolen a march on us this time.

With phrases such as “us” this is clearly written as if from a Liberal Democrat member or supporter.

But according to YouTube the comment was posted by a “GrantShapps” (look just above the comment for the name), which is the name of the Conservative MP for Welwyn Hatfield, Shadow Housing Minister and their Ealing Southall by-election campaign supremo.

A forged name perhaps? Except that click on the name and it takes you through to Grant Shapps’s genuine YouTube profile: http://uk.youtube.com/user/GrantShapps

And yes, I know it is his genuine YouTube account because it is the one linked to from his own website,http://www.shapps.com/

I know that on Blogger you can post a comment and make it look like it really was posted by someone else, but that doesn’t seem possible on YouTube. To post under a particular name, you have to really be logged in with that name and password.

What’s the story here then?

Well, bear in mind that YouTube tells you at the top of the page who you are logged in as, but if you are at the comment box on a video and ready to type in a comment, there’s no reminder next to the box as to who you are logged in as, nor is there a username/password box there.

So it would be possible to make a comment, thinking it was anonymous or that you were logged in as someone else, and overlook that you are really, er…, you. That would be a bit silly wouldn’t it, but how else do you end up with a comment appearing under Grant Shapps’s name?

I’m a generous soul, so I’m willing to listen to an innocent explanation for all this. Can anyone reasonably explain away why Grant Shapps appears to be trying to pass himself off as a Liberal Democrat? (And Grant, if you’re reading this, happy for you to post an explanation in the Comments).

 Malcolm reckons that’s “bang to rights”

So, a parallel story, from nearer home.

It’s Malcolm’s birthday. Except it’s not.

With rare exceptions most readers here and elsewhere get the obvious: “Malcolm Redfellow” is a pen-name. A precious few, by comparing certain accounts and interests, have even bothered, shrewdly to put a real name to this creature. Well done, chaps.

The story so far

When all this blogging lark started, the bod that pulls Malcolm’s strings was still a working teacher, with a very distinctive name. It seemed a good idea to fudge the focus.

Malcolm reached back a long way.

Once upon a time a couple of undergraduates at Trinity College, Dublin, invented a series of “masks”. The slimy, upwardly-mobile, flexibly-unideological leftie was “Malcolm Redfellow”, a pale imitation of the great Michael Frayn’s “Christopher Smoothe, the Minister for Chance and Speculation”” and PR-man supreme “Rollo Swavely”.

“Malcolm Redfellow” was about the only one credible enough to pass scrutiny by the sub-editors of a number of periodicals.

Time passed, until it was right for “Redfellow” to be revived. And a hero was re-born.

Except, to get a blogging account, it was necessary to invent enough persona to get by. That required, in one case, a birth-date. So “Malcolm” was gifted with the first day of one Trinity student’s junior freshman existence — 1st October 1961. It’s only some eighteen years short of the string-puller’s real age.

So, to those e-mails which greeted Malcolm this very morning, thanks.

He even had one card:

He’s still trying to work out if there’s any hidden meaning in the front cartoon:

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Filed under blogging, Elections, Guardian, Lib Dems, Tories., Trinity College Dublin

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