Sunday, 23 August 2015
DISCUSSING THE MCCANNS
Most people are mystified at the discussion surrounding the case of missing Madeleine McCann. It all began in the early summer of 2007 when the world awoke to the news of a toddler being stolen from the bosom of her family in a fanfare of sensational headlines. The iconic picture of the toddler Madeleine in her red Christmas party frock bore little resemblance to the almost 4 year old little girl, but it captured the public's imagination and it tugged at the world's heart and purse strings.
The bereft parents Gerry and Kate, two intelligent and erudite doctors appeared in front of the cameras almost immediately to establish that their daughter had been abducted and that they were the innocent victims of a heinous crime carried out by strangers. They were not irresponsible chavs who had left their kids without a babysitter to go out on the lash, they were hard working, middle class professionals desperately in need of a break who made a mistake, and punishing them for that mistake would not bring their daughter back. They were appealing to the PLUs (People Like Us), the similarly minded middle classes, people who would have done the same, people who had done the same, journalists and politicians, people who would understand and sympathise with their dilemma.
So successful was their campaign that criticising Gerry and Kate for endangering their children became taboo and it also became a class issue. Not only did the lower classes not understand the difficulties with childcare faced by their hardworking betters, they were downright evil. They were haters and pitchforkers who lacked the intelligence and compassion of the PLUs, lowlives and scum who deserved to be shunned or made examples of.
Thus in the summer of 2007, we entered the Twilight Zone. Wrong became right, black became white and the pious, God fearing parents were flown out in a private jet to meet the only person holier than themselves, the Pope. Their blessing by the Holy Father broadcast to Catholics all over the globe - forget the poor, the sick and dying, there were two new saints on the block who needed their help more.
Whilst it was true to say the case of missing Madeleine attracted more than its' fair share of nutcases and self righteous prigs, it also caught the attention of thousands who could see almost immediately, that they were watching a scam. Whilst the McCanns' lips said their daughter had been stolen, their eyes said they were lying through their teeth. Any one of the hundreds of interviews given by the parents could be used as a master class in deception and forensic linguistics and I have no doubt they will used in psychology, criminology and media courses for decades to come. But expertise isn't necessary, our ability to spot lies is programmed into our psyche, if it weren't, we would all be the doormats the McCanns believe we are. We know what devastation looks like, we know what grief looks like, sadly we have seen all too often, how genuinely grieving parents look and behave, and we know how we would act ourselves. These were not parents bereft at the thought of their child's body being ripped apart by paedophiles and monsters, they were parents buoyed by media attention and public donations.
The parents' campaign was intended to capture the world's attention and provoke discussion. They even paid an agency £500k to keep them on the front pages of the tabloids for a year whilst in the background, their anonymous media monitors stirred the pot, urging the haters on to provide them with proof of harassment and unfounded allegations. They needed sympathy and nothing says you are innocent more than the angry face of sanctimonious busy body as desperate for media attention as themselves.
Tony Bennett became the unacceptable face of those who did not believe the McCanns. Taking on the case as investigator, prosecutor, Judge and Jury, he confirmed time and time again, that even the most reasonable of people who dared to question the abduction story were cut from the same hardfaced vigilante cloth as himself and thus we were all treated by the media with the same disdain and contempt. Most of us had nothing to do with his 'Madeleine Foundation' (a way to steer donations to himself?), or his hounding of the McCann family and their associates but we were all tarred with the same despicable brush.
For the McCanns, Bennett was the gift that kept on giving, he gave them headlines during the quiet periods, provided evidence of harassment in their damages claim against Goncalo Amaral and invoked public sympathy for their cause. Who could fail to feel sorry for them, Bennett's stalking knows no bounds.
However, the majority of McCann sceptics are nothing like Bennett. They were drawn to the case through their sympathy for the little girl who's life was taken and who's image has been abused for this past 8 years. Abandoned by her parents, the little girl was abandoned again, by the adults on that fateful holiday, by the grandparents, the uncles, the aunts and all the extended family and friends who sold the lie to the watching world with such relish and enthusiasm, trashing the Portuguese police and Goncalo Amaral, the investigating detective who was getting far too close to the truth. The parents were the victims, the doubters were the enemy.
But the abandonment of Madeleine didn't finish there, not only did her family perpetuate the lie, the British government and several high profile members of the British police joined in. It suited their agenda, stranger danger is one of the most effective ways for a government to propagate fear among the masses. In a nutshell 'your kids are risk, (especially from the internet) and only WE can protect you'.
For many of us, this case became so much more than that of a missing child. It revealed the sordid underbelly of Whitehall's power seekers and the depths they will sink to in order to gain and maintain control. Restrictions on Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Information go hand in hand with discussion of this missing particular missing child. Criticism of the parents was not only taboo, it was almost a criminal offence, with calls from Jim Gamble to place 'antis' in the dock, no doubt with a prison sentence to follow. Brenda Leyland didn't stick around to find out what her punishment would be, she killed herself.
Yes some sceptics are angry, and understandably so, no parent should make their child disappear and profit from her tragedy and no government or police authority should aid and abet such a crime, even if does suit their own murky agenda.
For all those who abandoned Madeleine, there are hundreds if not thousands who will never give up on her. People who understand that the only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing. And this case sadly, and intriguingly, takes evil to a whole new level. The appeals for money for a child who is no longer with us, goes off the scale. Who would do that? Who could do that? The books on psychopathy need to be rewritten, Madeleine doesn't need cash, she needs a decent burial, but most of all she needs justice.