Being Norman Lamb

The Lib Dem health spokesman gets faked on Facebook

In an unprecedented turn of events, the blogosphere was focused on East Anglia for much of this week.

Recent reports of identity thieves finding a rich resource on Facebook were highlighted in the ongoing saga involving the profile on the social networking site of Lib Dem health spokesman Norman Lamb. A brief history of which is covered at Lib Dem Voice.

The same IP address was shown to be responsible for tampering with Lamb’s Wikipedia entry and also uploading an anti-Lib Dem video on YouTube. Various Conservative comments have been made from the same IP address across the internet and there have also been 12 comments from eight “different” people on Lib Dem Voice.

After much href="http://www.libdemvoice.org/who-was-the-person-who-faked-the-norman-lamb-...">digging
around in the murky world of internet fakery, Mark Pack believes he has found the culprit.

The permutations of the affair rippled across the blogosphere. The Bloggerheads blog pointed the finger at an unspecified Tory. While, Iain Dale, Lamb’s North Norfolk opponent in the 2005 general election, was keen to condemn the culprit and distance himself from the debacle.

As href="http://duncanborrowman.blogspot.com/2007/08/who-is-82118116193.html">Duncan Barrowman and the href="http://norfolkblogger.blogspot.com/2007/08/flushing-out-fake-norman-lamb...">Norfolk
Blogger stepped up the hunt for the illusive 82.118.116.193, Nich Starling concluded: “It is in everyone’s interests that whoever is behind this is exposed.”

Lamb had had to apologise last week to Norfolk and Norwich hospital after his claims about kitchen hygiene turned out to be unfounded. He was not the only MP apologising for false accusations about Norfolk’s hospitals. On the first day of David Cameron’s fight back he published a list of 29 district hospitals which would have to close their maternity wards due to funding cuts.

One of which was in fellow Tory MP Henry Bellingham’s Kings Lynn constituency. Bellingham then claimed the allegation was false and apologised “unreservedly” to staff at the hospital. In Nich Starling’s post about the incident he backs up Bellingham’s claims despite Cameron reiterating his original statement.

Following the incident, which has been termed the “Dodgy Hospital Dossier”, Mike
Ion
lists the various responses from hospitals refuting Cameron’s claims.

A week I’m sure the Tories would like to forget as they came out less popular in East Anglia than Alan Partridge following his comments about farmers.

Owen Walker is a journalist for a number of titles within Financial Times Business, primarily focussing on pensions. He recently graduated from Cardiff University’s newspaper journalism post-graduate course and is cursed by a passion for Crystal Palace FC.
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Just you wait – soon fake news will come to football

No point putting out a story saying that Chelsea got stuffed 19-1 by Spurs. Who would believe it, even if Donald Trump tweeted it?

So it is all settled: Cristiano Ronaldo will be arriving at Carlisle United at the end of the month, just before deadline day. It all makes sense. He has fallen in love with a Herdwick sheep, just as Beatrix Potter did, and like her, he is putting his money and energy into helping Cumbria, the land of the Herdwick.

He fell out with his lover in Morocco, despite having a private plane to take him straight from every Real Madrid game to their weekly assignation, the moment this particular Herdwick came into his life. His mother will be coming with him, as well as his son, Cristiano Ronaldo, Jr. They want to bring the boy
up communing with nature, able to roam free, walking among the lakes and fells.

Behind the scenes, his agent has bought up CUFC and half of Cumbria on his behalf, including Sellafield, so it is a wise investment. Clearly CUFC will be promoted this year – just look where they are in the table – then zoom-zoom, up they go, back in the top league, at which point his agent hopes they will be offered megabucks by some half-witted Chinese/Russian/Arab moneybags.

Do you believe all that? It is what we now call in the trade fake news, or post-truth – or, to keep it simple, a total lie, or, to be vulgar, complete bollocks. (I made it up, although a pundit on French TV hinted that he thought the bit about Ronaldo’s friend in Morocco might not be too far-fetched. The stuff about Beatrix Potter loving Herdwicks is kosher.)

Fake news is already the number-one topic in 2017. Just think about all those round robins you got with Christmas cards, filled with fake news, such as grandchildren doing brilliantly at school, Dad’s dahlias winning prizes, while we have just bought a gem in Broadstairs for peanuts.

Fake news is everywhere in the world of politics and economics, business and celebrity gossip, because all the people who really care about such topics are sitting all day on Facebook making it up. And if they can’t be arsed to make it up, they pass on rubbish they know is made up.

Fake news has long been with us. Instead of dropping stuff on the internet, they used to drop it from the skies. I have a copy of a leaflet that the German propaganda machine dropped over our brave lads on the front line during the war. It shows what was happening back in Blighty – handsome US soldiers in bed with the wives and girlfriends of our Tommies stuck at the front.

So does it happen in football? At this time of the year, the tabloids and Sky are obsessed by transfer rumours, or rumours of transfer rumours, working themselves into a frenzy of self-perpetuating excitement, until the final minute of deadline day, when the climax comes at last, uh hum – all over the studio, what a mess.

In Reality, which is where I live, just off the North Circular – no, down a bit, move left, got it – there is no such thing as fake news in football. We are immune from fantasy facts. OK, there is gossip about the main players – will they move or will they not, will they be sued/prosecuted/dropped?

Football is concerned with facts. You have to get more goals than the other team, then you win the game. Fact. Because all the Prem games are live on telly, we millions of supplicant fans can see with our eyes who won. No point putting out a story saying that Chelsea got stuffed 19-1 by Spurs. Who would believe it, even if Donald Trump tweeted it?

I suppose the Russkis could hack into the Sky transmissions, making the ball bounce back out of the goal again, or manipulating the replay so goals get scored from impossible angles, or fiddling the electronic scoreboards.

Hmm, now I think about it, all facts can be fiddled, in this electronic age. The Premier League table could be total fiction. Bring back pigeons. You could trust them for the latest news. Oh, one has just arrived. Ronaldo’s romance  with the Herdwick is off! And so am I. Off to Barbados and Bequia
for two weeks.

Hunter Davies’s latest book is “The Biscuit Girls” (Ebury Press, £6.99)

Hunter Davies is a journalist, broadcaster and profilic author perhaps best known for writing about the Beatles. He is an ardent Tottenham fan and writes a regular column on football for the New Statesman.

This article first appeared in the 12 January 2017 issue of the New Statesman, Putin's revenge