I have always hesitated to write about this case, because it seems to incite such extremes of emotion. Do I dare disturb the universe today - heck, yeh, why not?
Firstly, I am not a 'hater' nor am I a 'forker'. I don't hate Kate and Gerry, nor do I hate Madeleine. I would describe myself as an observer, perhaps, occasionally, a wannabe iconoclast.
I began watching this curious case from the moment it first broke news. It was one of those 'I remember where I was, and what I was doing' moments. At first my reaction was the same as everyone else, shock, horror and heart wrenching sympathy for the parents.
As time and revelations unfolded, I became hooked enough to make it my specialist subject, should Mastermind ever give me the call. I have since discovered that there are many of us out there, so have decided not to beat myself up over it.
Its been gripping all through, for sure, and so many twists and turns - fortunately there are those dedicated people out there keeping meticulous and easily accessible information - its that kind of case.
It is a Masterclass in spin doctory and sales techniques. It has raised the bar on everything that has gone before. From a media perspective, it should be used in textbooks. Clarence should be having a proud father/son moment with Alistair Campbell. But Gerry McCann should have a standing ovation too, the man is a genius, and obviously followed the wrong calling in life.
Whether you like Kate and Gerry or not, they have achieved a marketing campaign, the like of which has never been seen before. It does not surprise me that the Charity Missing People have appointed Kate as their ambassador. The name Madeleine McCann still sells newspapers, and that is the bottom line. We live under a tory government, everything is a business. I take back the last remark, it happened under a labour government too. They all seem to have blurred into one.
I have read the book of Dr. Amaral, and the first thing that struck me, was his compassion towards the parents. I understood his reasons for writing it. Honour/reputation is one of the few things we can live and die by - we are but a short time on this earth.
I won't judge him. In all good detective stories, the hero is usually flawed. Its what makes them human. If this is ever made into a film, I am sure A-list actors will be fighting to play his part. My money is on Antonio Banderas. Just because I am feeling mischevious, I hereby open a suggestion box for the leading protagonist roles!
Anyway, to explain my obsession with this case: Among the many things I have learned along the way, is a little bit of Portuguese culture, a lot about the political skullduggery that goes on behind closed doors and my own personal favourites, body language and forensic linguistics.
But back to the case in question. Imo, the massive media presence muddied the investigation. I was chilled to the bone, when I heard/saw details of Madeleine's distinctive eye, flashed all over the news. I was perturbed that Team McCann had their own news channel on Sky, though I too watched it obsessively for updates.
This case has attracted more than its share of fruitloops. The Stephen Birch 'buried in Casa Liliana' is headline grabbing, but too incredible for those of us, who have done our homework and believe in the dogs.
This is real life however, and in real life, detectives rarely, if ever, solve homicides and missing people cases within 60 minutes, or during an ad break. I have made up my own mind, based on the evidence that exists, though I am always open to persuasion either way, but my gut feeling is, that the parents and their friends, should get themselves ruled out as suspects once and for all. I think this would have been hugely beneficial to the morale and enthusiasm for their search.
This is indeed, an intriguing case, and one I shall watch closely for ever more, as I am sure will many. I'm happy to say I am one of those people who can watch a mystery, and still say 'blimey, I didn't see that coming'.