It was inevitable that there would be repercussions from last week's damning McCann headlines, and one of the first among them is the questioning of Kate's role as Ambassador for the national charity, Missing People. Her appointment caused outrage at the time, but once again it was written off as the rantings of a small group of trolls on twitter.
Now that questions are being asked about Kate and Gerry McCann, quite rightly, questions should also be asked of a few major Charities. Following the Madeleine case has been enlightening on so many levels, and many of us are now seeing Charities in a whole new light. It would not surprise me if Missing People were among the collateral damage when the proverbial hits the fan.
But why did they select Kate? Kate had proved herself to be an outstanding fundraiser, the millions raised by herself and her husband for ONE child was unprecedented. In the McCanns' slick, professional, 2007 'Find Madeleine' campaign and European Tour, the stalwart Kate didn't miss a single camera call. No matter what was going on behind the scenes, this neat and tidy, devoted family woman and good Christian, could give interviews and hold press conferences without turning into a blubbering mess. And she already had a public role. That is, as the mother of the most famous missing child in the world, she was the 'go to' commentator and renowned world expert on child abduction, Amber Alert, the Nasty Press and fundraising with a little 'ffff'. Not forgetting of course, both Kate and her husband, get their highs from competitive sports. Whilst others in PDL searched for their daughter, they were running up mountains trying to achieve their personal bests. What better for a Charity than a sporty celebrity wearing a vest with their logo all over it?
Call me an old cynic, but the answer to every question is money, and reasons to appoint Kate Ambassador, outweighed all the reasons not to. It is not up to the Charity to question the guilt, innocence or motives of those who need their help or those who assist them, and that's what they will say. The have the same role as the Church effectively, that is their role is philanthropic, they are not there to judge. They have the get out of jail free card without all the ceremony.
I suspect that the word 'Charity' will protect them, just as it did with Jimmy Saville and Lance Armstrong. I don't think it should. Missing People is a national charity with hundreds if not thousands of live and findable kids. Imagine, if they had received just a fraction of the time, money and resources as the non findable Madeleine, how many families could have been reunited? It was also misleading. Madeleine is not a typical Missing Child. How many cherubic 3 year olds are stolen from their beds in the night? Answer, almost zero. Most missing kids are spotty, troubled and belligerent adolescents who have gone off in a huff. Happily, most return, but some don't. It was disingenuous of the Charity to use the face of Madeleine - putting it bluntly, she is not representative of their product. Carry on stepping over the kids huddled in doorways, and focus on well cared for, pretty little 3 year olds out with their families with a distinctive mark in her eye. If you find one, photograph her, sell the picture to all the national newspapers, Oh and, report her parents for child abduction.
There are many aspects about this case that are extremely distasteful, not least the dreadful monetary exploitation of this poor little girl and her memory. Not just by the McCanns, but by all those who opted for the profit making side of this tragic human interest story. There are many mainstream journalists out there who should hang their heads in shame. Not just for not doing their homework, but for choosing the more popular (and more profitable) alternative facts over the truth. But please don't misunderstand, I don't blame any journalist for trying to make a buck, even a fast one, what they do is entirely down to their own conscience. I just hope theirs are troubling them now, particularly with regard to the way in which they have treated Goncalo Amaral, to whom they now have the opportunity to make amends.
Given the choice however, most people opt for the truth. That is they don't have the time and inclination to continue reading something they know to be absolute bollox. Or they read parts, just as I do, to wind themselves up. Ultimately, I hope, truth will be the winner. That is, readers will seek out and stay loyal to, writers who are not out to bullshit them. I have to say, I was exhilarated yesterday to receive well over 5,000 hits to my blog! Ie. 5 times my usual daily average. Whoever shared, a big, big thank you :)
Just to assure new readers (those who come back), my interest in this case is mostly academic. I have no truck with vigilantes. I, like most of readers have been drawn into this real life (though somewhat niche) reality show. And we are not entirely to blame. The parents of Madeleine enticed us into their interactive saga from the start. It was very progressive of them, it was pre Kardashians I think, but for a while there Jon Corner had a whole 'At Home with the McCanns' thing going on. Unfortunately, the Pleasantville lifestyle has no audience today, had Gerry dossed on the sofa with a bottle of beer and a spliff, and Kate been caught telling the kids to shut up and eat their McDonalds, it may have had a chance.
But I digress. Missing People are a Corporation like any other, but with a charitable status that gives them exemptions, not least, it would be impolite to question their motives. Ultimately, the decision to appoint Kate McCann will depend on charts and graphs. Has her appointment raised their profile and brought in more donations, or have they plummeted? Will these latest revelations from Portugal have a knock on effect? Will those who appointed Kate Ambassador be held responsible for any huge drop in their income? With corporations, karma usually comes in the form of loss of profits and changes at the top. Nah, who am I kidding, someone in the post room will get fired.