Friday 29 June 2012

Friday Ramble, starting with the Councillors Moores Scobie web hack, going on to Manston Airport and stuff.

I am feeling distinctly frail today, a victim of yesterday afternoon and evenings activities brought on by the very hot and humid weather and combined with the aging process.

Anyway before my day off there was a lot of excitement on Thanet Life, see the most controversial aspect of which Simon Moores has now changed with an image editing program.

It is this change that has caused me to mention the post here more than anything else. When Simon first put up the post it had only one image showing a screenshot from Will Scobie’s personal FaceBook wall, promoting his partner as an election candidate.

As Simon was saying that she was also being promoted by Will on the Mayor Margate FaceBook wall I commented:

Michael Child said...
Simon if it was part of a screenshot of it would say Mayor Margate next to the picture, this is the name of that facebook account.

Part of a screenshot of which is what you appear to be showing in the picture of will show William Scobie next to the photo.

Of course a full screenshot would show the url anyway.

It would be helpful all round if you could publish a full screenshot to clarify the issue.
2:20 PM   

After this Simon then published part of another screenshot from the Mayor Margate FaceBook wall, what was really unusual about this was it showed the page signed on by the FaceBook account holder.

Now I guess most of us have various internet accounts and know when we are signed on to them we see things that no one else is supposed to be able to see, this could be our bank balance, or it could be pictures of an erotic nature where the participants have moved from using the feather to using the whole chicken, well it could be any number of things, but the point here is that when you sign on to a website to view your private account, you should be the only person who can view the secure pages.

If you came across a screenshot of one of your signed on pages being publicly displayed on someone else’s website I guess you would call this cause for concern.

Accessing the private parts of other people’s websites, is generally called hacking and can occur in a number of different ways including totally by accident.

There are two sides to this coin, one where the hacker deliberately or accidentally hacks someone else’s secure page, whether they recognise that they have hacked the secure pages or not and what they do with the results.

The other side of the coin is the person being hacked, whether by accident or design they caused their private pages to be hacked and what they do with the results.

The simplest way that computers get hacked is that someone leaves a computer that is accessed by more than one person without signing out of their account. Following this, another person may come along and use this computer sometimes not even realising they are signed on to a different account than the one they are usually signed on to.

Another way this can happen is if, as sometimes happens the account holder sets the password and username the same, with something like FaceBook combined with a mobile device and a bit of sunlight it would be quite easy to sign onto someone’s account without even realising that you had. 

Continuing down this particular line of thought, having become signed on to FaceBook you see completely different things depending on who you are signed on as.

It is very difficult to explain this sort of complicated thing to people who either don’t understand sites like FaceBook or worse of all think they do but don’t.

I will try here by going back to my activities yesterday afternoon and evening, the youf of today decided that it would be interesting to take up dingy sailing and as I can sail a dingy, or at least could when I was a youf I tried to explain aspects of sailing an inexpensive dingy (old) in the sea without joining a club (expensive).

For those of you who haven’t taken this particular route in the game of life, the most prevalent disease in Graduate Lane is acute skintitus.

Anyway I managed to borrow a sailing dingy of 1970s vintage and took the youf out for a little sail off Ramsgate yesterday, until weary with the experience, hence my frailty today.

The difficulty with dingy sailing off Ramsgate is basically the current, you need to be certain that you have enough wind so you can sail fast enough to avoid going to Holland, Broadstairs or some other foreign place and the only other dingy I have sailed off of Ramsgate was a different design so with the wind increasing yesterday seemed like a good day.

As a rule of thumb here with the wind blowing sufficiently to cause waves about as high as the sides of the dingy it sails very well indeed.

Having taken all sorts of advice I decided that I did after all warrant the banana and donned my Velvet Underground T-shirt, sorry about the photo.

Anyway back to the hacking business, I think it fair to say that at some point around Wednesday Simon acquired a screenshot of Will’s signed on FaceBook page and published it on his blog.

Thinking of the last post where at least one anonymous commentator seems to be so virulently against Manston airport that he or she is generating more support for the airport than any of the normal pro airport commentators, I did wonder a bit about this hacked screenshot.

Obviously publishing it and the information suggesting that Will has broken rules that he doesn’t appear to have broken, isn’t doing Simon’s credibility much good. So I did wonder if the picture and the information had been sent to Simon with malicious intent towards Simon.   

More likely I think this is likely to have originated from someone ill intent towards Will, who rather like my anti airport anonymous commentator became a bit blinded towards reality by a fanatical approach that they went ott.   

Onto some airport reality, as an interested party in the purchase of the airport myself, I gather that there is now yet another interested purchaser, this time it’s London Oxford Airport Owners, The Reuben Brothers. 

With Balfour Beatty this makes two experienced UK airport operators in the frame.

Of course you will understand that these are just the wild rumours of an ageing shop assistant so you will presumably give them little credence.   

For me the main worry about the airport just now is that the airport operator has applied to The Environment Agency to reduce the environmental controls that were set out and the subject of a major consultation exercise.

These environmental controls were mainly designed to protect Thanet’s drinking water supply and Pegwell Bay with its international wildlife accreditation.

Any airport operator that wishes to make cuts to the safety issues relating to both these issues in order to make the airport more attractive to a potential purchaser, is to my mind hoping to attract the sort of potential purchaser that may be undesirable, so I am glad that these two operators that are already familiar with the stringent UK environmental controls are in the frame.  

I will ramble on here later if I get time and when I have solved certain technical problems that seem to preventing me from publishing pictures from this computer.        


  1. For someone who brags about his intelligence, Simon often acts incredibly stupid. An example of this is that on the one hand he's always complaining about being mis-represented by the local press, when on the other hand he's pompous and rude when journalists go to the effort of trying to get his side of the story! Surely every politician knows how important it is to try to get the press on their side?

    As for his constant comments regarding Will, it must be obvious to everyone that he is just green with envy. Will is already proving himself to be a fine mayor, just as Jodi (a lovely lady who I remember from her appearances in shows at The Winter Gardens) is no doubt making a fine mayoress, and one reason why is because they both have good PEOPLE SKILLS, something Simon is sadly lacking in. I look forward to the day when ageism (particularly towards younger people) is taken as seriously as racism and homophobia.

  2. I had reason to look at both the mayor margate and will's facebook last week and both had a picture of will in his robe of office,when simon warned him about a clash of interests the picture on will's site was changed,this seems to be another tig ruse to get simon's blog taken out of circulation.
    I think simon has been open,honest and above board unlike the tig trinity and the people who are now getting power and influence because labour lack the balls to do anything about them.

    1. Not Simon, Peter, but me. Heh, that almost sounds religious. Anyway, what both Michael and Peter are missing that Will simply cannot seperate himself from his mayor role whenever he feels like it. For this year he is apolitical and should not be endorsing any candidate on Facebook or anywhere else. Simples!

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. Simon's been obsessed with this ever since we first heard that Will was becoming mayor, and is doing everything he can to make him look bad (let's just hope he doesn't kill any animals while in office and then lie about it under oath!).

  3. Best follow the comment thread on thanetlife as it's been done to death with different conspiracy theories. You'll also see that the fabulous Mr Fox is also signed in as the Mayor of Margate and he looks suspiciously like the Gazette's Thoimas Brown!

    1. Goodness me Simon so he does.

      I am reminded here of the three wishes, it doesn’t matter what the first and second wishes were the third wish is always the same.

      To put right the damage done by the first two.

  4. Looks like a bit more trivia here. How many people look at the Mayor of Margate's facebook page? The position of mayor in Margate and all the other towns where its just a ceremonial role belong to a bygone age. The mayor can say/post what he likes as it has absolutely no standing with the general public and anybody that thinks otherwise is just being pompous and needs to look at the real Thanet issues.

  5. Michael

    Putting Manston Airport and Margate’s mayor to one side for a moment.

    Your earlier comments make note of the use of a feather and a whole chicken used in an act of an erotic nature and while one could assume a feather could be used to stimulate I fail to see anything erotic about a whole uncooked chicken, this maybe as a result of a somewhat sheltered adolescence and a secondary modern education.

    Given that both you and a number of your correspondents would appear to highly educated people maybe you would care to elaborate further.

    1. 8.45 I think you have hit the nail on the head here in a number of ways, at the moment I would say that Terry Pratchett is probably the UK’s greatest living author and this is a modified quote from his book “Eric” so I assumed that most people would be familiar with it.

      There was however no mention of that the chicken was raw, this suggests you have formed opinions of your own that take us further that nine and a half weeks and that perhaps you don’t like bread and butter or toast and jam, to eat that is.

      I suggest you “Google Terry Pratchett chicken” or better still come into my bookshop and buy some of his books.

  6. The airport has twice been sold without doing any kind of environmental impact or risk assessment. It is essential that this does not happen again. You wouldn't buy an expensive house without getitng a surveyor's report and, if you did, any structural problems would be down to you to sort out. Buyer beware. It is ludicrous to allow somebody to buy the airport without ensuring that potentially serious environmental issues are addressed. In my opinion, if the airport is to be sold as an airport, there are two options. Either the sellers (Infratil) do a full environmental impact assessment prior to sale, or the new owners are legally committed to doing one as soon as they have bought it. Either way, there should be no way that new owners can wriggle out of the expenditure needed to protect the aquifer and Pegwell Bay from their activities. In addition they should be prepared to take on liability for any damage which subsequently turns out to have been caused by the airport (i.e. you buy it - you're liable for it). If this means that the purchase price for the airport has to be reduced, then so be it. Infratil will have to pay the price. Otherwise, the long-suffering taxpayer could end up footing the bill for the activities of a commercial company.

    1. Like, wow!

    2. 11.05 I don’t think it would be possible for government to enact a law saying that UK businesses had to reach some sort of environmental standard before they could be bought and sold.

      I guess the main difficulty with Manston is that it was built as a military airfield and that no one build a commercial airport on that site in that way.

      The compromises here were caused when the MOD wanted to get rid of the site without losing millions of pounds of taxpayers money, hence no planning permission, inadequate environmental controls, no public enquiry and so on. I wouldn’t think the council had very much sway in the issue.

      I would guess this situation isn’t exactly ideal from the airport operators point of view either.

      But yes the asking price that started at £80m has dropped by considerably now.

  7. The Environment Protection Act 1990 covers most aspects of pollution etc. The sale of a business - especially an airport - would fall within that. As Manston already does, hence cleanup notices on the aquifer etc.

    The regulations are there, it's just that Infratil and TDC have decided to remove them and ignore them upto now.

    Infratil will just walk away - a $20M sale is neither here nor there for their $1bn profits - and leave KCC/TDC to sort out the mess or shunt the problem between them and do nothing.

  8. What I dont understand is that as a charter trustee it is Simon's duty not only to elect the mayor but also to support him so why is he critising the mayor in public? Politics should play no part in this. Simon's action can only be an attempt to put the position of Margate's mayor in disrupute.

    1. Come now, Anon 7:18, it was the mayor himself who brought his office into disrepute and it would be very naive to expect political opponents not to draw attention to it. Next you will be saying that all MPs of all parties should support the PM and never criticise his mistakes.

      No doubt you are one of those Labour luvvies who would deny Labour shit smells like anyone elses, if I said it did.

    2. Tom kindly moderate your language here or I will apply actions that will make it difficult for you to use blogger.

    3. Sorry, Michael, but would never have classed SH one T as seriously obscene, but fair enough, it is your site. Love the threat of actions. Do you really have the power, or the right, to stop people using blogger? You must be even closer to Big Brother than I thought.

    4. Thanks Tom, my children read this blog and I try to keep a tight reign on the language, I insist they know both the meaning of words and which ones not to use.

      I first gained access to a mainframe computer in 1968 and have picked up the odd thing since.

      If you understand computers take a gander at and consider how it works.

    5. Interesting and thanks for the link.

      Be grateful if my youngest ever stood still long enough to read anything.

  9. This is the best Mary Portas and TDC can come up with for regeneration: £100k grant and £60m tax?

    An instant market of anyone with two suitcases to sell junk.

    Clutching at straws.

  10. Mary Portas, TDC, KCC and every other busybody should stop trying to use public money to regenerate Margate. Margate will be regenerated by individuals who will beg, steal and borrow money to do it if they smell a profit. The role of Councils is to allow this to take place by letting it be known that they won't be putting obstacles in people's way and that they will be highly focussed on making this a great place to live and work. You need good schools, low crime, a range of amenities and you need the streets kept clean and tidy. The Council doesn't have a role in schools and it doesn't have a role in crime; which leaves us with improving amenities and sweeping the streets. We have 54 Councillors and if they all got out there with a broom they'd do a lot more good than they do at the moment.

    1. Useful point - and in that case do we need so many people at the council - and the tax and rates that fund them?

      Active officials/councillors and lower tax improves things. At the moment it's just waste. What are they doing?

  11. I wasn't going to bother getting involved in all this - Scobie made a mistake and corrected it as soon as it was pointed out to him; bless, he's only young. However, a few comments above have led to to feel that some sort of interjection is needed, before Conspiracy City goes into overload.

    Peter. Some questions for you, not that I'm expecting sensible answers. Since you know Ms Hibbert so well maybe you can explain how she has been below the radar until recently. From what she (?) says in her Westgate material you would think that she had been around and been prominent in local politics for ever - well until a couple of weeks ago I'd never even heard of her; and that despite the fact that she numbers all our IoTG hacks as Twitter followers. I know they hardly qualify as journalists but I would have thought that if she was such a local celebrity she would have warranted a few lines in Red Rebecca's Rag. Another question based on your extensive knowledge of her is to do with some confusion over her name. In her listing in she is variously described as J S Hibbert, J S Allen or J S Khadamzedeh. Please explain. Finally, hasn't she been one of your "models"?

    Michael. Let me propose a hypothesis. Let's imagine that there's someone working in the Mayors office (who by Will's own admission has access to the Margate.Mayor Facebook account) - let's call him, Mark Felt. He's a little miffed at the political message on the Mayor's page (again, not denied) so decides to leak. Traditionally he would go to the local press but they're not into investigative journalism (or in fact any real journalism at all) so he decides to approach a local politician, Mr Bernstein-Woodward. Mr Felt takes a screenshot of the offending document and sends it to Mr Bernstein-Woodward who promptly makes sure that the information is widely disseminated. At no time did Mr Bernstein-Woodward access the offending page himself. In fact, if Mr Bernstein-Woodward was not known as a world-wide IT expert, no-one would have assumed that he had anything to do with the original leak other than accepting it.(I'm afraid I've had to unmask Mr Felt in this story since you don't allow offensive language, even when it's a nom de guerre.) There's no reason why this fairly traditional leak scenario isn't the version applicable to the present furore, except in the fevered minds of the local conspiracy theorists.

    I do hope your children don't learn to spell from your blogs - "keep a tight reign" indeed.

    1. Where have I ever said that "I know her well"? I've just met her briefly a few times that's all - enough to know that she has good people skills and seems very nice. Sadly, she's never modelled for me (the Jodie on my blog is a different Jodie). However the offer's always here if she's reading! ; )

      I believe that the way politicians, councillors, mayors (etc) act to minimum wage workers (ushers, catering staff, etc) is an excellent way to judge them. That's why I didn't like Ted Watt-Ruffell from day one, as he was rude and dismissive of staff (Steve Ladyman was another one), and that's why I also have a lot of time for Laura Sandys, Roger Gale, Roger Latchford, Mick and Shirley, etc.

      Our local press do a mostly excellent job (though it's about time they did another feature on "Naked in Thanet"!), and Rebecca is genuinely beautiful.

    2. Tim I don’t supposed the similarity between Meregate and Watergate has escaped many local historians, so your hypothesis is apposite in that respect.

      I think where you may have gone wide of the mark is in your understanding of FarceBook, where indeed Will hasn’t needed to correct any mistake as he didn’t make one.

      What you are considering a mistake is still there only you can’t see it because you haven’t hacked his account.

      As I said in the post it was the publication of the hacked page and its subsequent alteration that interested me and caused me to write the post in the first place.

      Take a purely hypothetical situation where you hacked one of my internet accounts either by accident or design, I would be surprised if you then decided to publish a screenshot of the hacked account online.

      Suppose instead you had hacked one of my accounts by accident and not realised that you had actually hacked it and were therefore seeing pages that you were not supposed to be seeing, pages only intended for me, possibly my bank account details or possibly unusual pictures of chickens.

      Having then given this some thought you then forwarded it on to a well known local internet guru, you would have hexpected well known internet guru to say “look ere Tim old lad, you as been a akking, seen that wot you wasn’t supposed to see.” You could further Hexpect said internet guru to say summit along the lines of. “FarceBook is a funny old fing and if you sets it up wrong both people and apps can post things on your wall that everyone can see.”

      I guess the problem here is that Will like so many young pipple understands FarceBook only too well, never had it set so that everyone can see any chickens posted by others or by computer programs.

      On the other hand I am not so sure that Mr Bernstein-Woodward does understand FarceBook nor am I convinced that he recognised that the screenshot he was sent and subsequently published publicly on the internet was a picture of a hacking.

      What interests me is that the net result of this is that the picture showing Deep Throat with a bag saying swag on his back was then substituted for a picture showing a journalist with the same bag of swag on his back.

      Sorry about the spelling, I was severely disabled as a child and didn’t attend school until I was accepted at LMTC at thirteen.

    3. Peter

      We agree on Ladyman. He was a little "can't say the word for fear of causing offence".

      We'll have to agree to differ on IoTG. I've been through last week's edition and there isn't one piece of true journalism there; nothing that they have unearthed themselves. Every bylined article was effectively a press release. I don't know Rebecca as well as you - was she one of your models?

    4. You seem obsessed by the idea of the women of Thanet modelling for me, I don't know whether to be flattered or slightly disturbed...

  12. Isn't the Mayor meant to be political - it's a political office and in this instance held by a politician. Why would you have a ceremonial role funded by the public?

    I've seen bigger leaks from a tap. It's petty piffle.

    The problem is that our councilors can only do ceremonial. Or insult each other for being political - rather like insulting each other for breathing.

    Then they end up having no policies except ribboncutting. Add in the MP's doing the same,and TDC and KCC Chairmen and there's dozens of them swanning around to no use at all.

    In effect charity work on the rates rather than running the council and public services such as streetcleaning etc.

  13. Michael

    Let me try this again without the Watergate metaphor.

    Mr X works in the Margate Mayors office. He is an old fashioned sort and has always believed that the job is apolitical. he has been happy working with Iris and her predecessors who, although very politically active, have managed to separate their political stance from their role as Margate Mayor. Mr X also has access to the Mayor.Margate Facebook page. Mayor Scobie admits as much "The second screen shot shows you logged into the Mayor Margate facebook page. Only the Mayors office and myself have access to that page". One small error in this statement - the screenshot shows that someone was logged into that page, it doesn't show that this someone was Simon Moores.
    So Mr X is a bit of a traditionalist. He's not happy that Mayor Scobie is using the Mayor's page to promote a political cause. What should he do? He could tell the press but he knows that isn't going to get him very far. So he takes a screenshot of the offending page and sends it to Cllr Moores as a JPEG. Cllr Moores then publishes said JPEG on his site and then, in a mood of devilment, Photoshops various personal profile pictures to the top of the screenshot. Not very hard to do. No conspiracy then, except poor Mr X. Since Will, possibly somewhat confused at this point, has let out the secret that there appears to be only one staff member in the Mayor's office "There are only two people who have access to that, myself and my office staff", one has to assume that the mysterious Mr X is in fact this "office staff". Or, of course, all the previous Mayors, who presumably also had access.

    The picture with the Labour Party office in the background is from the Mayor.Margate Wall and was captured and sent to Simon as a JPEG by Mr X.

    The second picture is also a screenshot taken by Mr X.

    In both cases Mr X has authorised access to this account so he can't be accused of hacking.

    You however can be so accused. "What you are considering a mistake is still there only you can’t see it because you haven’t hacked his account". How do you know this to be true unless you have hacked the account?

    Maybe time to move back to one of your other hobby horses. We haven't had Pleasurama for at least 24 hours.

    Oh and I can no longer post comments from my BlackBerry, presumably due to changes in settings. Only affects you and Flaigy, all the other sites still work OK.

    1. Tim the screenshot doesn’t show the Mayor Margate wall it shows the Mayor Margate signed on wall.

      For example I am friends with Laura Sandys so every time I put something on FaceBook it appears on her signed on wall, she and I guess the people in her office see it, but no one else.

      This doesn’t mean that she in any way endorses my views, or that anyone else can see what I have written on her signed on wall.

      I recommend you get a FaceBook account and learn to use the thing, I was so baffled by it initially that I had to set up three accounts, one to see what my friends could see and one to see what someone signed on to FaceBook but not my friend could see.

      I have tried the blog on several mobile devices without problems commenting, try rebooting your BlackBerry, this is done by turning it off completely, holding down the on off button until you get a message etc. also you may need to clear your cache on your phone’s browser.

  14. Thank you for the egg sucking lesson, which didn't solve the problem.
    I'm not sure why you are being so obtuse. The top picture is a jpeg screenshot of a posting by Will on the Mayors Wall. The second picture is a jpeg screenshot of the "admin" header of the Mayors page. It is not impossible that the screenshots were taken by Mr X and then sent to Simon. All I'm asking is that you admit the possibility.
    I've had and used a Facebook account since 2007 so I'm pretty sure that there is at least one other person in the world apart from you who has some idea how it works.
    You haven't explained how you got into the Mayors account to tell me what isn't there.

    1. Because in Labour circles he is one of the privileged insiders.

    2. Tim you just don’t seem to be getting this, the top picture isn’t “a jpeg screenshot of a posting by Will on the Mayors Wall.” It’s most probably just what will says it, from his personal blog. Whatever it is just a picture that appears if you are friends of the person who posted it, but as there is nothing to show it’s a screen shot it is total unremarkable and meaningless in any other context than the one it was first published in.

      The second picture is a screenshot and when first published was a screenshot taken when signed on by the account holder, however it was acquired what is remarkable is that it was published at all.

      The Mayor Margate account password, now changed, wasn’t very secure and as I said here, using a mobile device and with a bit of screen reflection it wouldn’t be difficult to become signed on by mistake.


Comments, since I started writing this blog in 2007 the way the internet works has changed a lot, comments and dialogue here were once viable in an open and anonymous sense. Now if you comment here I will only allow the comment if it seems to make sense and be related to what the post is about. I link the majority of my posts to the main local Facebook groups and to my Facebook account, “Michael Child” I guess the main Ramsgate Facebook group is We Love Ramsgate. For the most part the comments and dialogue related to the posts here goes on there. As for the rest of it, well this blog handles images better than Facebook, which is why I don’t post directly to my Facebook account, although if I take a lot of photos I am so lazy that I paste them directly from my camera card to my bookshop website and put a link on this blog.