The Smelly Sockpuppets of Môn

I have been following the Welsh Blogosphere from its earliest days; one of the paucities of the Welsh blogosphere as a coherent entity is the lack of comments on most posts. The typical number of comments on posts which I have published in the last 12 months is 3-6, one in 10 of my posts have had no comments at all. A quick flick through the Total Politics Top Ten suggests that my comment rate is typical of the others.

There are exceptions. Wales Home often has posts which receive more than 50 comments, Blamerbell use to attract a huge number of commentators on some posts, but even they have had no comments on some posts.

The exception to the exception is the Druid of Anglesey – The Druid's weakest posts in the last 28 days have had 7, 9 and 18 comments, the typical number of comments is 30-60, it's not unusual for his posts to get well over 100 comments – Wow!

I recently posted about my disappointment at finding out that, despite his protestations of being above party politics, the Druid has declared himself to be a Tory hopeful in the next Assembly Elections. I have had an above average response to that post.

But there was something odd about the number of responses.

In response to every other post that I have made in the last 4 years that has been controversial enough to get more than 15 comments, about half the comments have come from signed commentators; the signed response to my post about The Druid was 2 out of 21!

Wales Home and Blamerbell also seemed to have had 40-60% signed comments on their most popular posts. But the Druid has an incredible and untypical number of unsigned posts, in comparison to most other blog sites, fewer than 10% signed on his last ten entries. Those that are signed are mainly from the just 7 individuals.

Something doesn't seem open and transparent. Something smells a bit corrupt! Could it be a dirty sock, over used as a puppet?


  1. The paranoia of you seem to suffer from appears yet again, you need to get out of Glan Conwy more often!

  2. most of the multiple comments on sites seem to be between a small number of the same people arguing with each other.
    What do comments count for anyway?
    Surely its number of hits- even if you care about that.I would guess that's only important if you want to make money from your blog.

  3. good point. I can't even get a post up anymore. Since I discovered his real id I've been trying to attack his stance. He won't allow any critic who's voice is an opposing voice. The druid has always been a con. Most of his info, I would argue is cut and copied. He also has "insiders" supplying him with tit bits, so he's one of them even before he's begun his "fight". Don't believe everything you read on there. I know for certain that some of the info passed to him from one meeting was false and he published it. Same old same old.

  4. Anon, Paranoia is a psychological disorder characterized by delusions of persecution – for all his faults I don't think that I have accused the Druid of persecuting me so your accusation is a bit farfetched.

    Mam, I agree the number of comments or even hits isn't that important to most of us – however Paul was reported in the Daily Post as having decided to stand as a candidate partially because of the number of positive comments he has had on his blog, so questioning the veracity of such comments is justified. I think that there is something that doesn't ring true about a parochial blog getting more comments than even one of the largest UK wide bloggers such as Iain Dale; and when something doesn't ring true in the musings of one who claims to be campaigning on a platform of truth and honesty it needs pointing out.

    One on the streets, Paul isn't alone in not publishing negative comments – a number of Welsh bloggers follow the same policy unfortunately. Personally I think that not publishing opposing comments negates the point of political blogging; what's the point of having a debate only with those who agree with you?

  5. sounds like the era of political dictatorship. Phew glad we don't live in one of those:)

  6. The reason is simple. There are lots of bloga like yours dealing with all Wales issues competing for comments from people all over Wales. The Druid comments mostly on Anglesey matters and has become over time a forum for local debate (like caergybi.com) especially about the council. As Valleys Mam says, the majority of comments are a number of people arguing with each other.

  7. I've been following the Druid for some time

    Some of the reasons for the Druid's popularity is that:
    He was seen as an independent voice and fighting against the problems of corruption and incompetence in the local authority, (his strap-line no longer says this).
    He didn't moderate his comments until after they were posted, (also changed)
    That he got a lot of anons commenting was maybe something to do with the 'nasty' politics that happens on Anglesey, and the anons made a majority of the posts
    As he himself says 'it was after I posted about the council that the blog took off' - this was probably due to Gwynfor Pierce who published his details of complaints against the council on the blog - which gave a voice to others who felt the same way about the council (hiding wrongdoing)
    He suggested putting together a manifesto which was picked up regular posters Stats Man (now the Anglesey Telegraph blog) and resulted in the People's Manifesto, which is now the Druid's personal election manifesto.
    There are a core of commentators who make serious contributions to the Druids own posts along with some amusing comments, that have good entertainment value, and create debate.
    The Druid runs a marketing company and his blog looked good

    and as anon above points out - local debate/arguement vs. national issues is what bumps the number of comments up

    Up here we are waiting to see whether the traffic continues now that he's declared his conservative loyalties and had been moderating his comments - what is clear is that he's opened up the blogosphere on Anglesey and other blogs have started to fill the gap. (The Anglesey Telegraph and Photonic Anglesey)

    I'd include the Anglesey Island of Opportunity blog, but that seems to have pretty much stopped and G. Pritchard-Jones from his comments on the Druids blog (along with Ridge-Newman's own blog comments)hints that they have both been involved with the druid for some time.

    thanks for address of caergybi.com - never knew it was there.

    Mam mon - 1/2 rants 1/2 debate

  8. You should be ashamed of yourself Alwyn – cynicism is old politics – quite unlike the Druid’s wonderful new politics.
    You don’t seriously imagine that a very, very senior and important business man such as Paul, would while the hours away conversing with himself on the comments page of his own blog, now do you?
    Do you seriously think that all those Labour voters who assure us that they’ll be voting Tory next time because Paul is a wonderful human being, are mere figments of his own imagination?

  9. For anyone who cares to look, there can be very little doubt about whether the Tory of Anglesey is a serious businessman in the real world or not.

    From his blog, we can see that he's computer literate and puts a lot of emphasis on his online presence ... so just one look for his company Gryp Marketing should give us a very good idea about how much effort he puts into running his business.

    I'd say the Tory selection committee has been duped.

  10. MH - I'd say the Tory selection committee has been duped.

    That would be such a pity.

  11. I believe that Grip Marketing is the official company name. It appears that Journalists have been copying each other and each others mistakes.

  12. Looks like the chaps at the Druid have never heard of puppet theatre. I noted talk of nuclear power. Thought that had rather died but is being pushed again.
    I'm afraid I'm one of those noting a congruence of approaching catastrophes - which is a bummer to say the least.
    The advent of new news sites is rapidly spreading the news that politics is institutional farce. I'm sure that would have been a shock to Gilbert & Sullivan - or Shakespeare. It seems 'profit taking' is to be the order of the day. Haven't had fun stuff like that to a great degree since the Potato Famine.

  13. Epic fail by "MH" (that's not his real photo btw).

    At least Paul Williams has come into the open. Nobody has any idea who "MH" is or how he finds so much time to blog on behalf of Plaid Cymru.

    What's the bet that all this party propaganda is being spewed out at the taxpayers expense?

  14. http://angleseylaudanum.blogspot.com/

  15. link not working on google

  16. I've met MH. That photo seems a pretty good fit.

  17. "I've met MH. That photo seems a pretty good fit."

    Rubbish. It's taken from the internet.

    Why would someone who conceals his true identity post a picture of himself?

    More to the point, why would he conceal his identity? Its not a smear site. If he is politically restricted he shouldn't post.

  18. There is something quite hilarious about "Anonymous" complaining about MH not revealing his true identity

  19. The Druid has had a significant impact on his constituency, you can't take that away from him. His posts have helped shape political events on Ynys Mon, though not further afield.

    However I do think he posts up alot of things that aren't true - his review of AMs "private sector experience" or lack of, for example, produced different results to the IWA's research. And with no disrespect to the Druid, I do trust the IWA to an extent and their blog is professional and excellent.

    The heavy focus on localism also means that the Druid is pretty parochial and pork barrel- but then again, that's his USP...

  20. I've noticed a marked reduction on paul williams blog replies. It was predicted

  21. Alwyn (and others)- to touch on the political rather than partisan implications of Paul Williams' candidacy, i've done a new post. Would appreciate it if you gave it a read. All the best, WR.