The prevailing opinion which has come in today via e-mail and comments falls into three categories:
1] The man is well aware of what is going on around him and even if he has himself covered and his supporters are doing it all [or the party behind him], they have blighted these awards, the BNP is using them for their own purposes and UKN&P should be ejected forthwith. [about 40%]
2] He's as guilty as hell - everything points to it but I can't see how we can actually eject him without documentary proof. [about 50%]
3] The man is innocent and can't be held responsible for what his supporters may or may not have decided to do. [almost 10%]
4] UKN&P himself, who states:
I am a bit irratated you suggested UK News and Politics was involved in vote stacking in any way. I simply put a post on the blog encouraging readers to support the blog and nominate and I send out an email to the monthly newsletter subscribers. I did not realise promotion of the awards and encoraging readers to nominate and vote was considered vote stacking.
My case is this:
1] My background as a Headmaster of a Secondary School puts me in the same category as the insurance assessor or policeman, in that you are always investigating this or that matter which arises with students. You hear so many stories and see so many people trying it on, seemingly plausibly but sometimes there's something which "smells" wrong.
So you become more critically observant and start writing things down. The moment you voice your suspicions, the other usually becomes more careful, covering his tracks.
2] In the nominations phase, the first sign was the excessive politeness, the meticulous nature of the entry, down to the url and the sameness of the format. Many different people were nominating UKN&P but the format and language were the same. I'd like to have posted one of these and will do so once I can get an hour to wade through the 865 e-mails I've kept and find it again. [At this point, no proof.]
2] By the third day of nominations, the same format e-mails were coming in but all that indicated was that the guy had organized his troops well. Another thing was the same format nominations for certain movie and other sites, right down to the wording and layout and the same sign off message but that's another issue.
3] I posted a comment in an "issues" post, [with no proof, mind]: "The BNP were well organized."
Thanks for everything you are doing for the awards. BNP were organised? Well if we can do it online...
A lot of people nominated a lot of people and many were complimentary but not in the same way. I was very suspicious now and e-mailed one blogger and asked if he knew who this UKN&P was. "Oh, the BNP blogger?" [This was no proof whatsoever but the reply was immediate.]
4] The nominations came to an end and eight e-mails came to me protesting against the BNP hijacking of the awards this way. How these people made the connection between UKN&P and the BNP is unclear, except for one who said: "He's a front man for the party. Not a member himself but with ties to party members." I now e-mailed bloggers of a more libertarian nature to get a more easy-going opinion on it all. The replies were interesting and to the point. [Still no proof].
5] I felt it was time to set the cat among the pigeons and wrote in a post about it and at 6:14 AM, thebestnewsfirst immediately replied [see above], followed at 7:05 AM by youdontknowme, defending himself on the question of vote stacking. The immediacy of how they picked up on anything happening was eye opening [but still not proof].
6] So, UKN&P finished in an extraordinary position for such a small blog with under 100 readers and leading or high in so many categories, due to very slick nominations from his supporters [that in itself is not an accusation]. [Still no proof.]
7] Voting started and very soon he was leading in a number of categories and polling strongly, too strongly for under 100 readers. [Still no proof.] Tony Sharp posted on the matter on Friday, June 08, 2007 and the votes suddenly stopped for UKN&P, who replied:
I simply suggested that my readers voted for central news because I appreciate them promoting my blog by naming it blog of the week. I have NO idea how I am winning in categories. [Still no proof.]
8] His votes picked up again after an interval but at the same time, a number of e-mails came in, this time not from nominees and this time offering "proof" that he was indeed tied with the BNP and that they were using multiple IP addresses to skew the results.
I didn't see at this point that if he was BNP, why they'd need to be bothered if they had enough supporters - they would have to be careful how many votes they allowed to go on so it didn't play into the hands of their detractors. Nevertheless, I wrote, at this point:
Undue influence. There are three allegations which have been made both by e-mail and in one comment on a post: A particular British political group has hijacked and skewed the results by waging a concerted campaign to artificially boost its candidate's results in particular categories not, for example, in Category 17 where they don't have anyone.
Extraordinarily, it was Wayne of Central News who did all the defending. And UKN&P? He posted, on his site:
I will be out of town from Sat 9 June until Wed 12 June and will be writing posts if (hopefully when) I have any free time.
His votes suddenly slumped to the point where I got worried myself and Calum Carr had had enough, which brings us to last night and my post this morning.
9] However, Unity said at 8:52 AM...
Regarding Calum's comments about one blog doing well for the first three days and then getting very few votes over the weekend, much the same has happened to myself in category four. So far as I can tell, the 'message' in this is simply that many of my regular readers visit from the office and have other/better things to do at the weekend than vote in online polls.
Fair comment except, as another e-mailer pointed out, then what the heck happens when he returns? [Still no proof.]
10] Then came the extraordinary vote surge which I warned evryone to watch for on Wednesday but it came early. How, after a zero increase in his votes and telling everyone he was away until Wednesday, somehow 30 votes went on his site in Category 10 and similar increases in other categories between midnight and next morning. He's a Brit. Was he awake all night or his legion of supporters? [Still no proof.]
11] Today his votes suddenly stopped again for several hours immediately following the posting of the insinuations and no one but
With my background, this, more than any of the other things smacks of a very strategic game where they await my move, make a few of their own then go silent and await the fallout. In other words, waiting for me to play my best shot, knowing they will achieve their goal of winning their categories anyway, so why bother getting into arguments?
I have voted for UK News and Politics 1,712 times today, but my votes don't seem to coming through. This doesn't seem fair.
Now, follow her link. Even though the post is tongue in cheek:
Oh, yes. Today the Blogpower Awards, tomorrow the world. We shall reclaim the world for the Aryan race and that starts here and now. Show the world that the RIGHT people can win the Blogpower Awards.
UK News and Politics has our support. A vote for this blog is a step towards bringing about the Utopia of the Fourth Reich. It is at hand!
... it includes a picture of Hitler in the sidebar and the proviso:
The Programme of the this blog is designed to be of limited duration. The leaders have no intention, once the aims announced in it have been achieved, of establishing fresh ones, merely in order to increase, artificially, the discontent of the masses and so ensure the continued existence of the Party.
This is the same site which has a blogger called The Bournemouth Nationalist who said...
I can assure you of one thing, Crushed, the BNP hasn't the slightest interest in these insignificant and fatuous awards.
I believe there is more than a prima facie justification that UKN&P can be asked to depart [others have put it far more graphically than that] on the grounds that:
1] He lied about his connection with the BNP;
2] He lied about his 100 votes or less, in terms of his total support and entered the competition under false pretences;
3] He is running a campaign where his supporters are clearly taking the p--s out of us all and he is doing nothing whatsoever to remonstrate with them or write disclaimers on their sites, asking for them not to endorse him.
4] He is the subject of strange voting patterns in the small hours of the morning and the circumstantial evidence above, if not proving his actions, at least highly indicate them.
I believe that but my legal advice today said that yes, there was such a case against him on the evidence but unfortunately, we can't ask him to depart in that we could be involved in litigation the moment we take this action.
Theefore, on legal grounds, Blogpower must cave in and allow UKN&P to do with these awards whatever it takes his fancy to do.
Tomorrow morning I'll write about the multiple IP addresses issue.