Astroturfing Here… UPDATED

And the Tory embarrassments keep coming in think and fast (and I’m not just referring to Praguetory here).

Lib Dem Voice appear to have caught, Grant Shapps, the Tory campaign supremo in Ealing Southall, engaged in what is probably the worst attempt at astroturfing in history.

In a comment posted yesterday under a Lib Dem campaign video posted on YouTube, a posted named ‘GrantShapps’ commented:

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.


We? Us? Is that the royal ‘we’ or is Shapps really trying to pass himself off as a Lib Dem?

Now I know what you’re thinking – its a cleverly worked set up…

…but then YouTube doesn’t allow the posting of anonymous comments and the link from Shapps’ comment leads directly to what certainly appears to be Shapps’ own personal YouTube profile.

Rumour has it that Shapps will shortly be replaced as Tory campaign manager in Ealing Southall by a new e-campaigning expert flown in specially from the United States…



Exactly as Tim predicted

The best defence that Grant Shapps could put forward? Well, here’s a small selection of what you might expect based on my years of experience in dealing with political dickwits who use sock-puppets to ‘debate’, congratulate, or fellate themselves:

– The account (or perhaps even YouTube itself) was compromised in some way.

So it follows…

UPDATE: (2:59pm) – Grant Shapps claims that his account was accessed by person or persons unknown because his password was set to “a rather too guessable ‘1234’” (since changed). Other claims are being made, and I’m seeking proof regarding same. For now, I would have it known for the record that Shapps’ excuse topped the list options I provided.


Shapps claims to have set his YouTube password, on an account created on October 13 2006, to which he’s posted he’s posted 13 videos to ‘1234’ and only now got around to changing it?

‘1234’ is such dumb password that it’s pretty much the last thing someone trying to get into his account would try, simply in the belief that no one could be that fucking stupid.

There is, however, another little curio to clear up…

To log into a YouTube account you need not only the correct password, but also the email address used to register the account, which is different from the displayed user name on the account and not displayed or disclosed anywhere on YouTube.

So whoever (allegedly) cracked Shapps’ account in order to post a comment on the LDs video had to know the exact email address used by Shapps to register the account and guess the password on the account…

Victim of a malicious cracker or Arse-covering bullshitter… you decide!


I stand slightly corrected here – apparently you can get into YouTube via a user name if you have a old style account, rather than the Google account, which I personally use.

Still, as Tim quite rightly points out…

“So the combination is one, two, three, four, five? That’s the stupidest combination I’ve ever heard in my life! The kind of thing an idiot would have on his luggage!” – Dark Helmet (SpaceBalls)

Oh, and if anyone does find Shapps’ debit card lying around, try ‘1234’ for the pin number – you never know your luck.

5 thoughts on “Astroturfing Here… UPDATED

  1. After years of banging my head against the outer wall of Tory HQ with proof of their activists playing these games in very nasty ways it gives me pleasure beyond measure to see a senior Tory hoist by his own petard.


  2. Hate to rain on your parade Unity, but it depends on whether you have a google account or an old style Youtube account. Old style accounts just need the screen name.

    Of course it’s still likely that any hack attempt would have been a brute force attack, I’m not sure what measures YouTube have in place to combat this kind of thing.

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