The supporters of the McCanns claim that it is mean not to believe the parents of a missing child. Actually ‘mean’ is an understatement, the words ‘hater’ and ‘pitchforker’ peppered all and any reference to critics of Madeleine’s parents. Journalists, politicians and celebrities quickly learned that any questioning of the abduction story was career suicide. Gerry and Kate were middle class professionals, PLU (People Like Us), naturally their fellow PLUs would defend them against the non PLU Portuguese Authorities. Our government, our police, our media, chose to believe the two suspects of a serious crime, over the Portuguese police investigation. Let that sink in for a minute.
The supporters of the McCanns set up a forum Stop the Myths, in which a small group of deranged psychopaths discussed the ‘antis’ in malicious and abusive mean girls talk, while munching cyber popcorn. Their sister forum was ‘Exposing the Myths’, a site dedicated to tracking down and naming and shaming anyone on social media anyone who criticised the McCanns. Their objective; to do to every critic what they did with Brenda Leyland. Photographs were taken from facebook, including children of their targets and posted on Exposing the Myths. Members were urged to write to their target’s employers, friends and neighbours, informing them of their online activity. This blacklist of course, became the infamous dossier, and was swiftly deleted following the inevitable tragedy. And it should be mentioned, such lists have a history of ending in tragedy.
Everyone should be presumed innocent until proven guilty. Quite so. Except perhaps when faced with the bleeding obvious. Someone caught in possession of a smoking gun, for example. It would be hard for the arresting officers not to have an opinion one way or the other. Unfortunately for the McCanns, their story was unbelievable. Quite literally. And that became more and more clear as the media storm died down. They were putting the story out there, as fast as their fingers could type, but there was no innocent explanation for leaving toddlers alone in a holiday apartment, and that stark reality was never going to go away.
Ever since then, Gerry and Kate have focussed on anything but the dangers of leaving children. Understandably, perhaps, because they fear criticism but also because it is going to be hard to sell the one danger of a stranger abductor. The biggest danger of course, is accident. And that should have been the lesson learned from this tragedy. The McCanns were unfortunate, that the 1 in a zillion predator was out and about that night, but for most people, the risk would be a toddler falling, or ingesting something.
Instead for the last 11 years, we have had fawning British PLUs, reassuring the parents of Madeleine that they did nothing wrong. I can't help wondering if there would have been any fawning, if the parents were unemployed and from a Council estate? I suspect not. In those cases investigative journalists can be quite ferocious. This case has, amongst other things, exposed the huge class divide there is in journalism and the police. Would Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe have been releasing balloons to raise money for Shannon Matthews? Would Jim Gamble have appeared alongside her mum and step dad on morning TV? Would Karen and partner have been regular guests on Lorraine? The case of Ben Needham only came back into public attention because of the huge chasm between the way Ben and Madeleine were treated.
The amusing side to the class issue, if there is one, it that normally reasonable people have to pretend they too can see the Emperor's new clothes, rather than being thought a chavvy hater. And this is the weird bit. The very prolific McCann media monitoring machine, managed to convince the watching world, that those who refused to believe the abduction story, hated the McCanns on a personal level. All the suspicion is based on jealousy of their looks, their beautiful house, all their achievements etc. I've always wondered why owners of shiny objects think others are jealous, they are clearly not wise enough to know that others don't care. I don't think anyone is coveting their material goods, or even their bodies for that matter. Given their obvious suffering, I think most people feel sympathy for them. Myself included.
I think the question of it being mean to criticise the parents of a missing child, is again debateable, when those parents are being mean to others. That is disparaging the work of the Portuguese police and the people of PDL, who did so much to help them. More specifically a ten year vendetta against the detective who searched for their child. Their continued claims that Goncalo Amaral was somehow responsible for the loss of their child has gone beyond unreasonable, and into obsession. Their belief that a victory in the ECHR against him will somehow bring them closure, is delusional. Do they not have any psychologists among their friends who could point that out to them?
Ultimately, Gerry and Kate chose the battlefield, social media. They believed they could control it, that they could continue to enjoy the benefits that came from it, whilst bullying and silencing outspoken critics with threats to destroy names, careers, etc, and of course the Black list. They achieved the opposite. Every time they struck one down, 10 fold took their place. It was never going to be sustainable and the strong arm of the law was never going to arrest people for disagreeing with them.
Of course, the length and ferocity of this social media battle is largely down to Team McCann. For whatever reason, they have kept it going through the years, mostly, I suspect for any outrageous comments they could turn into tabloid front pages to get the sympathy vote. There was always a sense of 'go on, say it, I dare you', just as there is on my blog now. Anyone, literally anyone, can disappear from the public glare if they want to. Gerry and Kate demand the impossible. They want to stay in the public spotlight, but they want immunity from criticism.
And they have largely achieved that in the mainstream media. Possibly because all the PLUs who run the mainstream media still can't contemplate that 'nice people' are capable of committing crimes. But, more likely I think, none of the legal departments can be bothered to get into a spat with the very litigious parents.
On social media, the McCann media monitoring machine has all but capitulated. Apart that is, from a couple of battle weary diehards who are still trying to tell us the dogs were wrong and we're a bunch of losers. They are almost rejoicing at the moment, that the long, long, investigation into Madeleine's disappearance is drawing to a close. Why, I must ask, don't they want to find the child? They mock advances in forensics and technology, advances that might even help their case by introducing new fingerprints or DNA that will rule the parents out. Why do they assume new advances would be detrimental to the parents?
For anyone who is interested, and with me thus far, the supporters of the McCanns foresee Operation Grange closing, with the file being put in the 'cooler' to shield culprits of greater importance than world leaders and the pope. Ooer, I actually got as far as the Dali Lamar and Putin, before I told myself to stop. No-one is above the law, and no-one can just make little girls disappear. We don't know what OG are doing, we don't know what the PJ are doing, but they are obviously working on something.