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Friday, April 27, 2007 

Putting a thug in someone's ear

The following is yet another blistering editorial from the Surrey Advertiser. The local Conservatives are sure to continue their moaning about the newspaper being 'anti-Tory', but the Surrey Ad has been extremely even-handed over the years and what this stance really shows is how outrageous the recent Tory antics have been.

Whoever is in overall charge of the local campaign will want to watch their back next Friday... the knives will be out after the results come in.

Writes and wrongs of local elections

Surrey Advertiser - 27 April, 2007

Are you a regular reader of the letters page? Well it has not been quite as it seems when it comes to the background to some of the contributions to these pages in recent weeks.

The reason for this is quite simple - it's election time and people are coming out in their true colours (be they blue, red, yellow and so on).

Does anyone recall a letter from a Mrs Podmore published on April 6? As a pensioner with no axe to grind, Mrs Podmore's letter clearly touched a nerve or two.

This newspaper, in good faith, published two letters in response to Mrs Podmore's prose - one from Cllr Tony Rooth (Guildford Borough Council Executive member) and another from a gentleman called Tim Downing. Both sought to put Mrs Podmore straight on a few things although perhaps not done in a way that would be to everyone's taste.

However, the Surrey Advertiser has been alerted to the fact that this was not the first time someone had tried to clarify a few things concerning her letter. At 4:53pm on the day it was published, Good Friday, she received a phone call from a man wishing to "put her right" regarding issues in her letter.

Understandably, Mrs Podmore, given the time of the call and the fact that the caller would have to had found her telephone number, found this slightly intimidating. This information is being made public to highlight what often goes on unseen or untold in the run-up to an election. But where does this leave voters? Possibly feeling disenfranchised with elections and politics but one thing is for sure - just like Mrs Podmore in using the democracy we live in to make her opinions known through these pages - anyone who can vote should vote on May 3.

For further insight into the repercussions of Mrs Podmore's letter log on to www.albertjack.com/blog

1. The full article at albertjack.com can be found here (PDF). You will definitely want to read it to find out more about the mysterious Tim Downing, who poses as a concerned member of the public but actually appears to be working for the Tories in a professional capacity as a PR operative.

2. The use of ringers will, no doubt, ring a few bells.

3. So will the local Tory tactic of taking the case directly to anyone who dares to write a letter to the local newspaper that is critical of them. Regular readers may recall my mentioning back in 2005 that; ... the last person who dared to pen a letter in the local paper that was critical of Anne Milton ended up with a Tory rep on their doorstep wanting to 'discuss the matter'

In that instance, the person involved did not feel intimidated... but that's mainly because they are not a very easy person to intimidate. Tell me, how would you feel if someone turned up at your door out of the blue wanting to discuss a letter that you had written to your local newspaper?

Something to keep in mind when you vote next week.

Cheers all.


What was in the letter that made it so urgent she was 'put right'?

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From what I can gather, it was about potholes and poor road maintenance.

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Hi Tim,

Just thought you'd be interested to know that Mike Chambers has been leaving his mark on the Fackbook group site for "save the royal surrey"

You may need to login if you have an account. Not sure where else he has left his mark! But i'll keep an eye out:)

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Hi Cassia.

Mike Chambers has been active elsewhere... and not always under his own name.

This activity has increased over the last 24 hours, which comes as no surprise... smears work best when you drop them or repeat on the eve of an election. For now, I'm just letting him get on with it; proof of who is behind the smear-blog is on record.

Dennis Paul has started creating some new identities, but he's not getting very far with it. Yesterday he was reduced to plugging his latest anonymous blog on his official weblog.

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    Hi. I'm Tim. I live in Guildford. I've built a few political weblogs here and there. If you're wondering why I decided to start this particular blog, click here.


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