The less cynical amongst you may have noticed that this story that we published on Tuesday was actually an April Fool wind-up. That fact notwithstanding, we did spend a certain amount of time carefully crafting it so that it sounded quite convincing. Personally, we think we have Siege's Mike Flynn off to a tee, we even managed to bring the petition up - like they do at every opportunity.
To make the joke somewhat funnier, we tried to get it published. We're unsurprised to report that David Jones of the Glossop Chronicle (known round here as 'Chronic' from now on) didn't fall for it, and there's a feature in this week's paper about our 'hoax' (viewable here). It doesn't name us - after all, why give us free publicity - so we're adding this post to ensure that those curious enough to search the internet may land on this site.
But for us the funniest part of this story is the accusation that we 'hacked' into Siege webmaster Robin Haycock's email address to send the release. We only wish we had such powers, as if we did, we'd have got up to all kinds of mischief by now. So to slay this dragon and spell things out for the unimaginative (or the downright thick as pigshit) this is how we did it:
We created a (free) googemail account as close as possible to 'robert haycock' (email@example.com - someone has already taken firstname.lastname@example.org). We then placed robert's actual email address (email@example.com - lots of spam coming your way Robert) in the 'account name' bit, so that that would be the first thing anyone would see when they got a message from the (anti)bob. No hacking involved, just a confidence trick.
We subsequently received a message from Robert Haycock on the same day, it goes thus:
just like to say thanks for hacking into my email and sendind (sic) the spurious email to the Glossop Chronicle. If you are this desperate then no wonder that you do not have the support of local people. If you would like to contact me for any "quotes" please feel free to contact me and I will be glad to have the debate or meet face to face.
A long time resident of Hollingworth who lives on the A57.
Longdendale Siege Secretary
Whatever... we're game for a laugh, unlike Siege and their resident hack at the Chronicle. The spoof press release follows:
Longdendale Siege Committee call for donations large and small to ensure construction of the A628 Bypass
The Longdendale Siege Committee, who are campaigning for a Bypass to be built to relieve Longdendale of traffic, have today called for the general public to donate money to their campaign to ensure that the bypass is built.
Siege chairman Mike Flynn outlined the plan:
"We're obviously concerned about all of the delays to the scheme that seem to keep cropping up, plus the mounting costs. Although we think the potential benefits outweigh any costs, we're aware the government might not see it that way, so we're asking our supporters and anyone else who wants this road to donate what they can."
Mr Flynn envisages that a Private Finance Initiative could seal the deal, "a PFI is increasingly in favour in government circles, so rather than the taxpayer stump up all of the £184 million, we'd like to encourage companies, private investors, institutions and the general public to dig deep and help form a PFI to make sure the road is built."
Mr Flynn was hoping to meet with Tesco representatives, who are planning to build a store at Mottram over the next few years to ask for their support and possible donations: "as Tesco say, 'Every Little Helps'. They stand to benefit greatly from the increased custom at the Mottram site for their new store which the bypass will bring, so they might not be averse to helping us out a little".
"We've got 9,000 signatories to our petition that we presented to Parliament, and over the next few months, we'll be contacting them all to ask them to give what they can. If everyone who has signed our petition gave us £20,000, we'll be well on the way to paying for the scheme by ourselves. Obviously, we don't expect people to give that much, but the point is that some will be able to give more than others, and we may be able to reach our target before the Public Inquiry is over".
"Plus we'll be taking to the Streets all around the area again on Saturday mornings with our bucket if folk want to donate".
The Longdendale Siege Committee have a website at http://www.longdendalebypass