Tonight, we present the evidence we have accumulated that the Longdendale Labour Councillor Sean Parker-Perry is more actively involved in the fight for the Longdendale Bypass than the occasional letter to the press or election leaflet would suggest.
Exactly 12 months ago today, a new weblog appeared called 'Support the Hollingworth Bypass'. Over the next 61 days, a series of posts appeared which attempted to lampoon and contradict posts appearing on this weblog, all the while displaying a cavalier sense of design and poor grasp of grammar.
Posts to the blog were signed by the contributor 'Roadmunkey', who left a comment on our very first blog post (scroll down to view). The link to his profile clicked through (and still does) to display info about him. Our first warning as to the existence of the blog came from a comment left on one of our posts by someone anonymous who wanted to bring attention to it (they plugged it again later on that month on this post). We kept following the link back to the profile, and eventually, on April 13th 2007, the blog appeared (the roadmunkey profile used to link to the blog, until it was removed).
With the appearance of this blog, the evidence started to form into a picture of the culprit. We had been tracking edits to wikipedia for some time, and it was clear that someone with a particular IP address - 22.214.171.124 - had been making lots and lots of edits, and had obsessions with subjects familiar and unfamiliar - but unsurprising (we later found out that someone else had decided to chronicle these edits on a separate weblog here).
In one of the more entertaining edits made by this IP address, someone purporting to be Sean Parker-Perry complained vigorously (highlighted in green) about edits made to his (and other fellow Councillor's) pages on wikipedia. The language and tone matched that of an article about these edits that appeared in the Glossop Chronicle on 7th June 2007
But all the while, we had the crucial evidence. Going back to the 'Roadmunkey' blog (since restored by us so anyone can read what he said), the user profile featured an email address - email@example.com. We set about sending spoof emails with tracers attached to all of the email addresses linked to Sean as well as this one. They all came back with the following results (click through to see the tracer results):
We also sent an email to Sean's secretary at Tameside, and it was then forwarded to him, as this tracer shows. All the enquiries returned the same IP address - 126.96.36.199, the same IP address that edited the wikipedia pages. If you click through to this IP address, you get a login screen. This is because it is the server at James Purnell MP's office and presumably allows remote working (from home), and Sean clearly uses his office computer for all his activities, under whatever pseudonym he chooses.
So Sean was Roadmunkey and did edit wikipedia (and still does as far as we can tell). Whilst none of this is illegal, it certainly raises questions about his methods - he'll no doubt do all that he can to disassociate himself with anything that makes him look devious and spiteful.
And what about us? One of roadmunkey's accusations was that we are cowards - largely because we are anonymous. As far as we are concerned, the difference is that we are not running for office as a Councillor and do not claim to represent all the people in Longdendale.
It is far too easy for Politicians to say one thing in public, and do another in private. They are quite rightly held up to scrutiny, though not often enough in our view. It's not our fault that Sean chooses to leave dirty great skidmarks all over the internet, but why should those who point out that the emperor has no clothes have to take huge personal risks to do so?
The information is out there, and all that we are doing is bringing it to light. Watch out for more Sean Parker-Perry stories this month.