Michael ” I have a theory as to …

Comment posted Document given to councillors on Jo Smith investigation by Simon.

Michael ” I have a theory as to why no spy accounts were found. There weren’t any in the first place”.

You’ll know by now that here are a fair number of conspiracy cranks on here.

They want to believe the wildest rumours they make up their minds and then call for heads to roll even one shred of evidence appears.

You described this episode as a storm in a tea-cup, the Dunoon Observer wnet further wondered if it was a ‘conspiracy’ ahead of the elections http://www.dunoon-observer.com/index.php/news/1-news/3850-kilmory-conspiracy

For Argyll played a significant part in publshing rumours and allegations and remember also before any evidence was produced our very own Newsie called for the sacking of Jo Smith.

Simon also commented

  • Integrity – the Dunoon Observer, amongst others, had a quote from NUJ Scottish organiser Paul Holleran who stated that Jo Smith intends to appeal.

    Given that there were no spy accounts found the whole affair seems to rest on biased Herald and For Argyll reporting and accounts of what happened.

    It appears that on the face of it the punishment is extreemely harsh. However, there may other factors we are not aware of and that’s why I would welcome Jo Smith taking this all the way.

    No one could denyt that Jo Smith has had a hard time on here. But let’s remember, Newsie’s accuracy in reporting and her credibilty has been found wanting on more than a few occasions and given her poor track record – until I see evidence – I refuse to accept the rubbish she writes and the claims she makes just to fit her own biased agenda.

    Just ’cause she says it’s so – don’t make it so. Have a nice day :)

  • Michael – agreed. Newsie’s nasty streak was laid bare for all to see in her vindictive abuse of Jo Smith. Strikes me also as having a personal element. Perhaps it’s because Jo Smith is a qualified journalist whilst Newsie is a blogger with both pretentsions of grandeur as well as a chip on her shoulder over her lack of qualifications. Which, as Neil Kay pointed, she tries to compensate for by using LOTS OF BIG WORDS and the most twisted convoluted prose.

    Either way – she’s certainly had in for Jo Smith from the start. She might even be part of the conspiracy that the Dunoon Observer* alluded to.

    *Yes – still going strong I understand Newsie – despite another of your ‘exclusives’ that it would be shut by Xmas 2010.

  • The only good thing is that Jo Smith will appeal and if she loses that then go to a Tribunal. Hopefully then the evidence will come out and we can make up our minds based on the evidence presented rather than the slavering, hang-her-high, knee-jerk-Spygate reactionts we have seen on here in response to these allegations.

    Allegations remember that suspiciously were made months after the Conference took place and by individuals who were not present at the Conference.

Recent comments by Simon

  • Castle Toward community ownership bid issues pursued
    I don’t know about anyone else but if I was asking for a one million pound reduction on an independent valuation price I think I might be trying to get alongside the sellers and understand their problems and their real difficulties rather than trying to publicly embarrass them with allegations.

    As I’ve said elsewhere this ‘attack dog’ policy is misguided, badly advised and surely can only be counter-productive. A project with significant potential might just wither on the vine because the increasingly politicised and polarised handling of this matter. I’ve also said previously that this decision is not an easy ask (Dick Walsh refers obliquely to just some of the difficulties)and that this group would be far better trying to understand and help resolve those problems instead of naively trying to publicly pressurise and embarrass individual councillors.

    On a very human level I must confess that if I was a councillor on the receiving end of manufactured emails and personal attacks I would be disinclined to give the group responsible my support.

  • An unexpected pairing to email in Day 8′s Save Castle Toward Advent Calendar
    In the event the council did sell the property at £1 million below valuation what would happen if(despite all the cosy assurances and claims that ‘it makes sound economic sense’) the project fails? What happens then? What happens to the property? Does it revert to the Council? Or, is it sold at a knockdown price to pay off debts?
  • Castle Toward: Councillor Breslin asks straight questions of Council Leader Walsh
    Aral. Are these jobs guaranteed? What if the project fails – does the property come back to us the council taxpayer? Can the council even give away a property valued at £1.75 million for £750k? What other project anywhere in Argyll has received this level of subsidy?

    I’m not being anti the local group but there are some serious questions here that need answered. And indulging in childish stunts or making personal attacks does NOTHING to advance their cause – neither does suggesting that I’m employed by ABC – I’m not.

    I do however have genuine concerns about this project and as a council tax-payer being asked to subsidise this group to the tune of £1 million I would ask – would everyone who backs them agree to underwrite the losses in the event the project fails?

    Would you Aral?

    I’ve already said I’m not involved with the council – are you involved directly/indirectly with the project Aral?

    I’m a neutral observer in this – are you?

  • Castle Toward: Councillor Breslin asks straight questions of Council Leader Walsh
    I posted this on another article and feel it is still relevant.

    ‘If ownership rather than lease is so important for their business plan then should they (the local group) not be concentrating their efforts on raising the money to pay the valuation determined by the District Valuer? Or appealing the valuation?

    That’s would seem to be a more constructive route than pushing this cheap gimmick of an ‘advent calendar’. A gimmick that does absolutely nothing to promote their case and quite obviously is nothing more than a blunt attempt to pressurise councillors.

    I don’t know who advised them to take this approach but it seems to be spectacularly inept and this orchestrated gimmick might yet prove to be counter-productive. Of course, the fact that it is being promoted by Newsie of this blog will of course do absolutely nothing to help their case

    If this group are serious about their project then surely they require to treat councillors equally seriously? They need to understand their position. They need to understand that a) even if the group had a cast-iron case this request of theirs is not easy to agree to and b) regardless of what it takes, they would be far better using their time to develop a more effective working relationship with the council and councillors rather than promoting such a childish stunt.

    Granting a group a discount of a £1 million is not a trivial matter and they are being silly beyond belief if they think otherwise’.

    I would only add that I’m also a Council tax payer, that is one of those who are paying the £20,000 per month to keep Toward Castle (valued at £1.75 million)secure. I am appalled at the attempts of some to reduce, what is a very difficult decision, to a personal attack on individual councillors within the Council.

    It seems that this issue has been engineered to become a political ‘hot potato’.

    Who benefits from that?? The local group????

  • Argyll Labour politicians warn of the anorexic ‘thin blue line’ of Police Scotland
    You are talking nonsense Jamie.

    I quoted “According to the Institute of Fiscal studies the impact of Osbourne’s Autumn statement is that we’ve had £35 billion of cuts with a further £55 billion of cuts yet to come”.

    You’re suggesting it’s all the SNP’s fault with their ‘vanity projects’.

    Really???

    £55 billion pounds of SNP vanity projects??

    Really?

powered by SEO Super Comments

Share and Enjoy:
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
  • email
  • LinkedIn
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Ma.gnolia
  • NewsVine
  • StumbleUpon
  • SphereIt
  • Reddit
  • Slashdot
  • Print

28 Responses to Michael ” I have a theory as to …

  1. So they have only checked for key words in the server connected to people in the Communications Team.

    Why not look for those keywords in the Senior Staff’s accounts?

    And why on earth did it take so long (and so much money) to come up with so little?

    I know Asda had big buckets of white paint on sale last week. Now I know who bought them.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  2. CS-B, “Why on earth did it take so long….. to come up with so little?” Maybe taking so long was their motive, they thought that we would all eventually forget about the issue. And they might have got away with if the school meals debacle hadn’t thrown the staggering ineptitude of their communications department (under the direct control of Sally Loudon)into sharp focus once again.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  3. Worth remembering that the linked report is purely the summary covering paper with the Council recommendation. The ‘devil in the detail’ or ‘lack of devil’ as the case may be, is in the main reports which are the appendices mentioned at the end of the linked report. Not sur if they have been made available as I haven’t been on the Council webpage to look yet.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  4. can u put up a copy of smiths presentation not just the case for the prosecution. detail will confirm that investigation reported what it was told to report- the all clear for louden, sneddon, walsh and co. why was this whitewash supported by macuish and co?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  5. Checking the sever accounts of the 6 employees seems fair enough, but surely the suspicion was that there were “spy accounts”……the point being that they would not be directly traceable back to the originating individual. I’d have thought that looking for additional accounts or for such orphan accounts or ghost accounts as were not linked to legitimate employees would have been appropriate. There is no mention of this having been any part of the investigation methodology.
    The methodology, as described, also rather assumes that the hardware used would have been “corporate” and that any access to social networking sites or whatever would have been via the corporate network. I rather doubt that if something covert was going on it would risk being so easily discovered and traced in this way. C’mon, if you’re posing as a punter, you use common or garden domestic equipment.
    As far as the 20 key word search is concerned, does anyone seriously think that if “spy accounts” existed there would be any need for them to contain words like “Spy;Covert;Surveillance and Dummy” or such-like?. Wouldn’t you avoid using such terms? Wouldn’t you consider encrypting communications?
    I’d like to think the actual investigation was more rigorous and comprehensive than this executive summary suggests. For the time being I’ll assume it was and it has been necessary to be selective and restricted given its links to a disciplinary investigation.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • All fair points Jake but they would be no right of access to personal computers which is potentially what would have been used if such activity was being carried out.

      Similar to you I would be interested in seeing the full report rather than the summary just to get a better feel for what work was actrually carried out.

      I woud have thought it would have been obvious to search for terms relating to the parties that might have been subject so any untoward activity. Examples being ‘ARSN’, ‘Crazy She Bat (feel the honour CSB) or maybe ‘It’s my turn to be Simon’

      I notice that the summary report makes reference to the need for disciplinary action against Jo Smith without any indication of why. That has probably been kept out of the report in the public domain for obvious reasons and I assume it is referenced in the full report. There is no way she can have been fired for simply using the phrase ‘Spy account’ in a presentation.

      I am pretty sure the powers that be at A&B have finally got wise to what they should and shouldn’t put in e-mails after the laughable attempts at bluff to cover their tracks during the schools farce (and in particular Bloomergate) so not sure how much correspondence there would be to external e-mail addresses about any activity.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  6. I have a theory as to why no spy accounts were found. There weren’t any in the first place. If one thinks logically about it. There was a gap between the presentation and its shock horror revelation of around six months later. So ‘if’ there were active accounts then they would have been operating for at least that amount of time. Now Smith was removed sharpish from her position, so not enough time to get rid of them. Yet not one person, ANYWHERE, can prove the existence of any spy account. Not the enquiry, not any member of the AB public can positively point at any interaction with any fake account.
    Yet some people seem determined, despite all the evidence to believe they exist. No doubt they also believe the moon landings were faked, Elvis is alive and they have been taken by aliens and probed up the …. One of them especially, seeing as their journalistic credibility has taken a severe beating over this. They should stick to making arty farty tv shows that nobody watches in my humble view.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • If somebody is responsible for communications and media I think they would be getting the sack if they were not monitoring what was being said about their organisation.

      To access this site you don’t need an account. To access Facebook and some other sites you do. To me setting up such acounts is no more “spying” than keeping newpaper cuttings, recording radio and television broadcasts and so on.

      The use of the word “spy” was unfortunate but no doubt Ms Smith was trying to make her presentation as lively and interesting as possible for the audience. It seems her talk was very popular. The slides also said to make the Council connection clear – that is hardly spying. To me this is a storm in a teacup over one word taken out of context.

      Interesting to see Newsroom’s (aka soapbox) lips so uncharacteristically sealed. Still no answer on the question of whether Newsroom has been covering its tracks by deleting its posts from the archive.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • The natural next question then is ‘Why was she sacked then?’

      As I have stated before it normally takes something pretty substantial to be dismissed in the world of local authorities.

      Somebody somewhere, who has seen all the evidence, clerly believes there is enough wrong doing to merit a straight dismissal without going through the normal disciplinary stages (i.e. verbal warning, written warning etc).

      The clean bill of health would sound more credible if the punishment awarded wasn’t so disproportionate to the review findings.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • Most disciplinary actions don’t involve the media.

        ForArgyll however was braying for blood making statements to the BBC saying it was a “sacking issue”,that there was a “straightforward sacking imperative since this practice has destroyed the council’s reputation for ethical conduct in its communications operation.” and that “It has left the leader of the council’s communications team in a position beyond public trust and therefore leaves all public communications from the council suffering a profound credibility deficit.”

        There was the conference, the suspension which was reasonable, the report that appears to have revealed very little wrongdoing, then the dismisal without warnings.

        This seems to have set a very high bar for the Council to clear to prove the dismissal was justified and fair.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • Simple real. This whole saga has been one long embarassing story for the council. The charges are flimsier than wet tissue paper, they are just hoping it will all go away.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  7. Michael ” I have a theory as to why no spy accounts were found. There weren’t any in the first place”.

    You’ll know by now that here are a fair number of conspiracy cranks on here.

    They want to believe the wildest rumours they make up their minds and then call for heads to roll even one shred of evidence appears.

    You described this episode as a storm in a tea-cup, the Dunoon Observer wnet further wondered if it was a ‘conspiracy’ ahead of the elections http://www.dunoon-observer.com/index.php/news/1-news/3850-kilmory-conspiracy

    For Argyll played a significant part in publshing rumours and allegations and remember also before any evidence was produced our very own Newsie called for the sacking of Jo Smith.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • Simon, Newsie called Jo Smith lots of things. A mere two hours before the council published it’s findings clearing Smith of ‘Spying’ Newsie accused Smith of having ‘a diseased mindset’. Strikes me as personal, as much as Newsie denies it, there appeared a one woman campaign to get Smith.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • Michael – agreed. Newsie’s nasty streak was laid bare for all to see in her vindictive abuse of Jo Smith. Strikes me also as having a personal element. Perhaps it’s because Jo Smith is a qualified journalist whilst Newsie is a blogger with both pretentsions of grandeur as well as a chip on her shoulder over her lack of qualifications. Which, as Neil Kay pointed, she tries to compensate for by using LOTS OF BIG WORDS and the most twisted convoluted prose.

        Either way – she’s certainly had in for Jo Smith from the start. She might even be part of the conspiracy that the Dunoon Observer* alluded to.

        *Yes – still going strong I understand Newsie – despite another of your ‘exclusives’ that it would be shut by Xmas 2010.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

        • I don’t think professional jealousy is the issue here Simon. My view (feel free to disagree) is that Newsie now genuinely feels she is part of the established media and to a certain degree FA is. However FA is not a professional news organisation but does feel it has a sense of entitlement to report on council meetings. Hence the fuss about accreditation and FA’s ongoing refusal to fill the forms in which would give them legitimate access. No doubt Newsie believes it’s all Smiths fault for stopping them, hence the dislike.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

          • The attacks were quite personal and potentially damaging as the blog is visible internationally. It is still not clear if they were being made by an individual or a company because of Newroom’s inability to write plain english. It is also not clear if Newsroom has been ferreting through the archives deleting things.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  8. The only good thing is that Jo Smith will appeal and if she loses that then go to a Tribunal. Hopefully then the evidence will come out and we can make up our minds based on the evidence presented rather than the slavering, hang-her-high, knee-jerk-Spygate reactionts we have seen on here in response to these allegations.

    Allegations remember that suspiciously were made months after the Conference took place and by individuals who were not present at the Conference.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • I agree entirely that the good thing is that hopefully she will appeal (it isn’t a sure thing) as if she has been dismissed for reasons which don’t merit it then that decision has come from a high place within the Council and the obvious next question is why did they take it.

      Interesting times indeed.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  9. Integrity – the Dunoon Observer, amongst others, had a quote from NUJ Scottish organiser Paul Holleran who stated that Jo Smith intends to appeal.

    Given that there were no spy accounts found the whole affair seems to rest on biased Herald and For Argyll reporting and accounts of what happened.

    It appears that on the face of it the punishment is extreemely harsh. However, there may other factors we are not aware of and that’s why I would welcome Jo Smith taking this all the way.

    No one could denyt that Jo Smith has had a hard time on here. But let’s remember, Newsie’s accuracy in reporting and her credibilty has been found wanting on more than a few occasions and given her poor track record – until I see evidence – I refuse to accept the rubbish she writes and the claims she makes just to fit her own biased agenda.

    Just ’cause she says it’s so – don’t make it so. Have a nice day :)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • Simon, i think what is being lost here is that someone very keen on mischief making ‘leaked’ a presentation to both FA and the Herald and then added as a commentary what we now know were a huge pack of lies. Now why those two particular parties? I have my own theories, but both were obviously either too stupid or too keen to believe their source to actually check the facts and went ahead with the stories. Having just watched the last episode of the excellent tv show Newsroom, one of the journalists said if i get a second source then i will publish. Something to be borne in mind in the future. If i was FA or the Herald i would be extremely keen to expose this source to at least attempt to limit the damage caused to my reputation.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • ‘Given that there were no spy accounts found the whole affair seems to rest on biased Herald and For Argyll reporting and accounts of what happened.’

      Not actually true Simon. Remmember the report states that there ‘ is sufficient cause that a Council employee should be subject to the COuncil’s disciplinary procedures’

      It doesn’t name the employee but then states the procedure is ongoing so it is pretty safe to say it was referring to Jo Smith.

      There is clearly much more to this than just using the word ‘spy’ on a presentation or media accounts of that presentation. As I have stated before the people who made this decision are high up in the Council and have been around the public sector long enough that dismissal for such a frivolous reason will never stick and only end up with them having some very difficult, and potentially public, questions to answer.

      I am not saying definitively that this means she has been fairly dismissed, just that it is extraordinarily unlikely that it is based on something as small as the reference to ‘spy’

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • I think Integrity that you give ABC far too much credit in believing that they operate in a sane and normal manner. Remember ABC bullied a 9 year old and started an expensive investigation based on a newspaper report. Why wouldn’t they discipline someone for having a single wrong word on a slide?

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  10. You too can run your very own “spy” account.
    There needn’t be anything sinister about it.

    https://spy.appspot.com

    Try it……using terms like…..Argyll and Bute Council…..or…. For Argyll…..

    … noui
    consilia et ueteres quaecumque monetis amici,
    “pone seram, cohibes.” sed quis custodiet ipsos
    custodes? qui nunc lasciuae furta puellae
    hac mercede silent crimen commune tacetur.

    (… I know
    the plan that my friends always advise me to adopt:
    “Bolt her in, constrain her!” But who can watch
    the watchmen? They keep quiet about the girl’s
    secrets and get her as their payment; everyone hushes it up.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


All the latest comments (including yours) straight to your mailbox, everyday! Click here to subscribe.