In response to an interesting observation on my last blog, I pictured a very large cherry cake, or the remaining crumbs of a ravaged small one.
This set me musing, as my readers' comments often do. I once did a blog entitled 'The Million Pound Baby'* (should have said dollars, it sounds dreadful in sterling). Although that blog is only 18 months old (March 2016), one million pounds now seems like peanuts.
When you consider all the beneficiaries from Madeleine's abduction, the amount is incalculable. From the inside working outwards, the McCanns and their entire entourage, including Government spokesman Clarence, got to stay in the Sunny Algarve for 3 months all expenses and mortgage payments covered. It also gave them a huge fund to protect themselves against any criminal charges they may have faced for leaving the children on their own, or anything more. Apart from the extended family, among the first to benefit from Madeleine's loss were the lawyers.
Then, there were all those knights in shiny armour who boarded planes to PDL rather than trusty steeds - all eager to assist in a news story that had gone global. The British police agencies, the crisis managers, the spin doctors, and several more firms of lawyers. Batch 2 of the beneficiaries were all those who could see there were fortunes to be made.
Then we have the politicians. I have no doubt there was a major Oops in Whitehall during the early hours of May 4th, but they decided to go with it, because the benefits outweighed an embarrassing confession. Also, because it offered so much opportunity to bury bad news and take up a populist cause. It fitted in with New Labour's Big Brother approach to democracy. A national data bank holding our blood and every detail about us from cradle to grave and a good reason to introduce policing of the internet. Blair used the angelic face of Madeleine to increase fear of paedophiles, just as he used tanks rolling into Heathrow to increase fear of terrorists.
Gerry and Kate wanted stricter border controls (as do tyrants, see D.Trump), and control over what is printed in the press and said about them online. Again, see D. Trump. The scaremongering of the McCanns and New Labour was designed to win our vote for compulsory DNA testing (all new born babies) and government access to all our internet activity (even D.Trump hasn't gone that far - yet). As Gerry McCann fought the freedom of the press, then Home secretary Jackie Smith sat (uncomfortably it must be said) alongside him. The McCanns' goals were New Labour's goals, so big old tick in the beneficiary box there.
Then there were the British police agencies. Such is our capitalist system, different branches of law enforcement must compete with each other for funds. Therefore, it is, erm, in their interests to promote their specialist skills and demonstrate that their needs are greater.
CEOP were among the first police to arrive, which many consider odd, as their field of expertise is ONLINE protection. Madeleine was not yet 4, clearly she wasn't targeted and groomed online. Their clumsy attempts to turn it into an internet crime by seizing computers and naming men who watched porn, fell at the first hurdle. Were CEOP and the other police agencies beneficiaries of the abduction story? A question that must be asked.
Then there are the National Charities, who received a major boost by putting aside all those missing on their books, and promoting the face of Madeleine. Did they benefit from Madeleine being missing, rather than deceased? Undoubtedly, but charities are beyond reproach, even when they attach themselves to major creeps like Jimmy Saville, there is an unwritten law that they must not be criticised.
How about the media industry? For sure. The decline in the sale of tabloids had already begun in 2007. The Madeleine story was a new lease of life. Every redtop with a Madeleine picture or headline was flying off the shelves. It was as fascinating and addictive as the first episode of The Osbornes. The profits from Madeleine stories probably went into millions, in a way the McCanns have a right to be bitter, they only got a fraction of the story's worth to the media moguls.
Then there were new crisis management companies and reputation managers, all of whom no-one needed years ago, but who are now essential should you suffer trauma. The ambulance should be your second call. The McCanns are not entirely to blame for reputation managers, the spin doctors were already lurking and waiting to pounce. They take ambulance chasing to a whole new level, 'can you sign this before they cut you out of your car', hoping the tears and blood in your eyes blinds you to the small print. Have they benefited? Yes indeedy, but not half as much as they thought they would.
Last but not least, there are those famous crime solving experts, Donal MacIntyre and Mark Williams-Thomas. Each staking their reputations on the fact that the McCanns are innocent. If I remember rightly, DM claims the abductors (there were several), gave the apartment a good clean before leaving. MWT's theory, I struggle to remember, actually, he gives me the creeps, so I struggle to watch. Did they benefit? No doubt, it is a high profile case, it has an audience.
In the USA missing children are big business. The US version of the old CEOP, received millions in government grants, and the cause has it's own TV channel and millions of supporters. I believe similar plans were intended for the UK. Those patenting Madeleine's name and planning annual Madeleine Days had big ideas. None of which included registering Madeleine's Fund as a charity.
Did they benefit? For a while, yes. But they didn't succeed. The public have never truly believed Madeleine was abducted, and that was integral to the plan.
* A good read, though I say so myself, and with pictures!