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).
2015 update: Grant Shapps comment still live on YouTube
That Grant Shapps quote is still live on YouTube, and here’s a screenshot safely recording it for posterity:
Grant Shapp’s subsequent ‘explanation’ was that his password was 1234 and someone must have guessed it and decided to use this power over his account to try to discredit him by making this particular comment. It wasn’t an explanation that met with widespread acclaim.
At the Ealing Southall by-election count, I found myself stood next to Grant Shapps and so politely introduced myself to him as it seemed a bit rude just to stand there and ignore him. After I said my name, there was a slight flicker on his face and very promptly afterwards he exited himself from that part of the hall.