Thanks for reminding us of the Summers and Swan 'McCanns are innocent get it' book, with its chapter dedicated to the scourge of the 21st century, internet trolls. Doubt Summers and Swan will be too happy to be reminded of their sell out, it was hardly their finest hour.
The whole purpose of the S&S book seemed to be to stir up public hatred against the critics of Kate and Gerry McCann. They officially introduced the word 'hater' to the English lexicon, to describe anyone who refused to be taken in by the obvious faked abduction and subsequent cover up.
The S&S book was in fact laying the groundwork to purge the internet of McCann critics, it was hoped through the eloquence of their words, S&S would sway public opinion back to the way it was in 2007. Not only to revive the unprecedented generosity to the K&G Fund, but also to incite anger and hatred towards anyone 'trolling' the officially cleared parents online. I use the word 'trolling' very loosely here, because it is one of those 'catch all' words that will be used constantly by those who want to police the internet. And of course Gerry and Kate claim not to use social media, ergo, strictly speaking, they cannot be trolled.
The campaign to keep Madeleine (or themselves) in the public eye, was made up of several components, the most vigorous faction, headed by a megalomaniac who believed he had the power to control the internet and the news, and who demands that any criticism of himself and his good wife should lead to instant arrest. The sane among us would have told him to get a grip and maybe have a lie down with a mind improving book. Those on £300 per hour however, tell him it's perfectly feasible, and would he like to pay by instalments.
The launch of the Summers and Swan book was timed to coincide with Jim Gamble's clamp down on the internet trolls who keep reminding the world that Madeleine wasn't abducted. In Martin Brunt's feature, Mr. Gamble, in his strict, authoritarian Policeman mode, told all the critics of Kate and Gerry, we are coming to get you. Unfortunately, S&S failed to turn public opinion around, their definitive book on the Madeleine disappearance was met with scorn and derision, each and every one of their 'parents are innocent' assertions swiftly deconstructed and ridiculed by real experts, in their Amazon reviews.
The McCanns however seem to have a thing for runaway trains, so part II, Sky News went ahead anyway with Mr. Newsman himself, Martin Brunt exposing the evil behind those members of the public posing as ordinary people. Mr. Gamble could not hide his sheer glee as he congratulated Martin on twitter for exposing public enemy number 1, a quiet, unassuming, middle aged lady in a pretty Leicestershire village. Unfortunately, no-one was saying, thanks Jim, thanks Martin, we can all now sleep safely in our beds, they were horrified that Sky News even considered this non story as being of public interest, and appalled at the cruelty behind it.
Summers and Swan may be that rarity, well heeled writers, but that one book has now made their entire body of work unreadable. For me at least, I am an absolute stickler for the truth, if an author distorts even one aspect of the facts in order to fit their own conclusions, I stop reading. My reading list is so extensive I have to be discerning and nothing irks quite so much as having my time wasted. I was once having what I thought was a sensible telephone conversation with a McCann 'anti' when 45 minutes in, she told me Madeleine was a clone. It was one of those 'doh' moments, and 45 minutes I will never get back. I'm afraid I view the S&S Madeleine book in the same way.
I have to say there is a certain amount of pleasure watching the McCann spin team tie themselves up in knots, but the plan to wipe out the McCann sceptics online was cold, calculated and cruel. Despite the fact that S&S were unable to stir up an angry mob, Sky News went ahead anyway. It chills me to the bone that not one of them were compassionate enough to consider that what they were doing could have such a tragic outcome. And let's not be in any doubt here, Brenda Leyland was to be the first of many, the death dossier contained dozens of names, in my own case they had over 100 pages on me. The death dossier, or as it used to be known, the blacklist, was publically available for years, an additional CV if you like for any employer checking out candidates on social media. The McCann supporters have always used threats of exposure to silence online critics.
Have to say, I was a little disappointed not to have been included in the 'troll' section of the S&S book, especially as their researchers had provided so much information. It could be because I am a survivor of the Catholic care system, bipolar and known for past alcohol and substance abuse and a smidgeon of promiscuity. I was a bit of a party girl, what can I say? hic. Of course the dossier compilers have used all of the aforementioned to pillory me for years, in their Amish heads, anyone who lives outside of the designated Christian man, woman 2.4 children combo, is quite clearly a lunatic. Unhappily for them, I wear my lunacy with pride, not only do I not regret my wild past, I wish I had done a bit more.
It may be that my CSA survivor status spared me a public door stepping by Martin Brunt, but I think it is more likely to have been my big gob. I'm what my friends and family euphemistically describe as 'a loose cannon'. My sons have actually compiled a list of things I can and cannot do and say when out with them in public! I cannot be too critical of them because I remember compiling a similar list for my own mother, and just like her, I'm having great fun doing the opposite ;) I'm too honest for my own good, my dad used to tell me, and he was right, it's been positively detrimental, among my funeral songs, I have 'Whyyyyyyy can't I keep my big mouth shut', from the batterings I took in the convent, to the batterings I take online, my honesty always manages to offend someone. I will have to include in that offended group, several past bosses. It seems the question, 'aren't you getting paid £200 an hour to do this?' takes you straight past Go, and out the revolving doors.
But let's get back to the next part of the spin doctors cunning plan. It was hoped through the S&S book, the public at large would once again feel overwhelming sympathy for eternal victims Kate and Gerry, and their outrage would be captured in a call for a clampdown on internet trolls. However, apart from the shrill mean spirited comments of Carol Malone, the best they managed to stir up was 'who gives a feck'. Kate and Gerry have hogged the front pages for years, how much more do they want ffs? The love the public felt for Kate and Gerry in the summer of 2007, is now worse than hate, it is indifference.
Ten years on the publically funded investigation into Madeleine's disappearance continues. Whilst it is true that the McCann family and indeed all of those involved must, as far as humanely possible, be protected from a media storm on the scale of that which took hold when the story broke. No matter what we on the internet know, or have discovered, we are not the Law. Quite rightly, everyone is innocent until proved guilty, and everyone deserves a fair trial.
However, it is wrong on every level to sweep those wicked crimes under the carpet. Especially a crime that reached the scale of this one. All the great and good who rushed to Mr and Mrs McCanns assistance must somehow squirm out of their past gushing enthusiasm. For myself, I no longer believe a word Donal MacIntyre or Mark Williams Thomas says, crime experts, pah! Dr. Sharon Leal, how far back have you taken the science of lie detection? It's the assumption that we the audience are idiots that I find most offensive.
If Operation Grange remains live to preserve the myth that this was a stranger abduction, then questions must be asked of those signing the cheques. Aren't there current, solveable, cases they could be working on? Why are they wasting resources and manpower on a dead duck? It is not the job of Scotland Yard detectives to preserve the dignity of politicians and ex police chiefs, their job, first and foremost, is to uncover the truth behind Madeleine's disappearance and bring those responsible to justice.
As for Gerry and Kate, they are already living in a prison of their own making, so too all those closely involved in that fateful holiday. That kind of hell must be akin to Edgar Allen Poe's Tell Tale Heart, something we wouldn't wish on our worst enemies. In a strange way, I actually feel sympathy for them, they can never go back to being the care free thirtysomething doctors they once were. In choosing the path of deception, they sealed their fate. They have plastered their own faces all over the globe, and not in a good 'A' lister film star way, but in a way that castes suspicion over themselves for ever more.
However, before I start getting maudlin about the infamous pair, I have to remind myself that they have maliciously and vindictively set out to inflict misery and fear on anyone who crosses them. Their happy clappy, Christian charity fund raising persona is just as phoney as that of Jimmy Savile and Lance Armstrong. And for a while there, they had a good thing going. The Fund was growing into a large corporation, and Gerry was styling himself the UK John Walsh. With the Mr and Mrs as the faces of Missing Children, they were looking at a multi million
In not bringing any charges, or disclosing the results of their investigation, Operation Grange are effectively allowing the cover up to continue. That is the raising of funds and the persecution of their Portuguese colleague, Goncalo Amaral. This fine mess cannot continue ad infinitum. There are other crimes that need solving and other children that need finding.