John Redwood's Diary - 10.09.2007
It is not usually wise to venture into questions of individual guilt or innocence. These are properly matters for the courts, not for politicians.
I do so briefly today because I have never seen so much speculation and so many press stories, created by the spin doctors of the parents and by mysterious sources for the Portuguese authorities, when there is so little fact behind it all. It is part of the modern disease, of fighting battles through the media instead of people getting on and doing their jobs diligently.
The Portuguese side, after four months, seem to have decided that the little girl is dead and the parents were involved in the death. To prove this it would be helpful to have a body, and an autopsy which shows how she died. At the very least, if they cannot find the body, it would help if they had an independent witness who had seen the death occur, or had seen the parents moving the body after the time of the disappearance. It demonstrates little police competence that this most closely watched couple was able according to sources to keep the body from police attention immediately after the disappearance, and then to move the body many days later. How come the police did not search extensively enough to find the body at the beginning? How did they miss any evidence of harm to the child they now might claim to have? How did no-one see anything strange when the body was moved?
The McCanns theory that the girl was abducted also needs evidence to support it. Can they clear away any doubt over whether entry was forced into the holiday home? Were there no screams or disturbances as the little girl was taken? Did no-one see her at any point as she was carried away? Why has no-one seen her since, despite the massive awareness campaign? How did the abductor time the removal, given the fact that parents and friends were returning to keep an eye or ear open for the children?
Have the police questioned all who left that resort around the time of the loss of Madeleine?
This is a heart rending story. The two sides seemed determined to damage each other. The truth remains a casualty. Maybe the McCanns should employ a private detective rather than a spin doctor, to find evidence of the abduction they are sure happened and the trail to her present whereabouts. In the meantime with so few facts it is difficult to say what happened, apart from understanding the grief that the loss of Madeleine is causing.
Middle Class Hypocrisy
Janey Godley - 09.11.2007
You will probably know the story about Madeleine McCann.
Madeleine went missing from her holiday flat in Portugal on May 3rd when her parents left her and her two younger siblings alone as they had a dinner date across at the tapas restaurant 50 yards from their bedroom. Madeleine has never been found since that fateful night. The parents Gerry and Kate have had an audience with the Pope, they had millions of pounds in a fund to help find her, they have had major TV and media stars pledge support to their cause, they had MP's in the UK come out wearing yellow ribbons to remind people of the missing child. Madeleine's father even spoke about child safety at the Edinburgh International Television Festival, they have flown around the world in private planes, and been courted by the press from all over the world.
Yet no one asked them why they saw fit to leave three kids under four alone in an apartment in a foreign country with no baby sitter or carer to keep a watchful eye on them. Who leaves small babies alone in a flat? No one I know.They could just as easily choke on their vomit if they were sick, fall out of bed, scream from a nightmare and wake up hysterical and possibly be sick (again), wet the bed and want Mummy...a host of things that can happen when small children are left alone...never mind intruders trying to snatch them. I don't know anyone in my family who left their kids alone in a flat and walked off to have dinner in another part of the street and I have alcoholics and drug addicts in my family. The people I am talking about may not be the best parents in the world but they don't leave their kids alone and none of the kids have ever gone missing. The UK charity the RSPCC advise parents that it's illegal to leave kids under ten years old alone in a house and parents can be prosecuted for negligence if this occurs.
The McCann's left twins aged two and toddler aged three alone in an unfamiliar room in a foreign country.The McCann's are white middle class doctors, from a professional background in the UK, so no one has challenged them on their decision to leave three toddlers under four years old alone to fend for themselves as they ate tapas with friends.It's a class issue through and through. Imagine the horror of reading about some overweight, flip flop wearing single mum from Essex who left her three babies alone in Butlin's as she went off to eat a burger 50 yards from the chalet and one child went missing. Pictures of the tubby woman in her white shell suit and cheap jewellery would be splattered over every tabloid that would scream "I left my babies to get a burger and my child is missing". We would hang the worthless woman for sheer negligence. Her crying fat face on TV begging people to help find her child would be met with derision and pain for the poor kid. The other babies would immediately be shipped off to a foster home whilst the burger scoffing bitch had to account for her bad parenting skills to outraged authorities.
There would be no outpouring of pain, or candles lit or locals supporting the woman as she held a teddy bear in grief for her missing baby. Pop stars would not be flocking to lend supportive and heart wrenching songs to the website of the child, politicians would shun her suggestion of a meeting, football teams would give no minutes silence for the missing child's remembrance.There would be no free flights or television chats and millionaire celebs would not offer a penny to a fund.The Pope would have condemned her as an unfit parent and David Beckham would never have given her two minutes of his precious money charged time. The fat burger muncher from the spam sucking society would have to live the rest of her life in penance for deciding to eat alone and not caring for her kids properly. She will get what she deserves.
Do you honestly think the world famous author J.K Rowling would pledge money to a clumsy stupid fat woman who left her kids alone to go eat from a burger van 50 yards from a holiday flat whilst one of her kids got abducted? Maybe I am wrong and society would get behind this poor uneducated woman, but it's an odd state of affairs when questions were raised in Parliament when the infamously and achingly common Jade Goody and Danielle Lloyd made racist comments on a reality TV show in the UK, yet no questions were raised when a nice middle class couple through blatant neglect and misjudgement managed to lose a child as she was left alone in a holiday flat. The images of the slummy Jade Goody dominated the headlines for weeks, many media giants predicted her fall from grace and sure enough her career was over. Yet the McCann's will go home to be doctors. What does this say about us a society?
Still the image of the slim blonde pretty mummy McCann and well dressed daddy McCann seem poignant and acceptable. They only went off to eat tapas, they are doctors and come from a clean middle class house and wear nice coordinated clothes, their hair is shiny and they are devout Catholics. How can they be judged badly? They must be good people underneath. They just wanted dinner and some local wine with friends, leaving their kids alone isn't really a bad thing is it? We have all done it ourselves haven't we? When on holiday after working hard all year, mummy and daddy deserve a little ‘me' time don't they?
NO! They can pay for the onsite baby sitting service more than the burger eater. They could easily have taken shifts on eating dinner the way millions of parents do every where when on holiday and babies need their bed time. Now the gears have shifted.
The parents of Madeleine McCann have been named as suspects in her disappearance. So much has been said about the alleged evidence gathered by the Portuguese police, apparently Madeleine's DNA has been found in the boot of the car that the McCann's hired six weeks after Madeleine's disappearance. Team McCann is screaming that evidence has been planted; this is confusing for me, as I can't imagine how the police can plant evidence when there is no body to gather evidence from. And why would they do such a thing?
The McCann's swore blind they would not go home to the UK till Maddy was found. They are at present back in the UK after being named as suspects. Their respective families are screaming to every newspaper that will listen that ‘It is an outrage to believe Gerry or Kate could kill their own child'. How can they know this for sure? I don't know if they are capable of killing their own child, I don't know anyone capable of killing their own child but statistically it has been proven that kids are more likely to die at the hands of a family member than a stranger.
We have to ask ourselves why we believe the McCann are incapable of killing their child.Is it because they are doctors? Is it because they wear nice clothes? Is it because they both have university degrees? Is it because they don't look like killers? Or do the middle classes of the UK want to believe that the parents are innocent as they have all joined in this parading of grief from the start?
All those politicians who hugged them on TV, all those media stars who lent unbridled support... surely they didn't get it wrong? Surely all those letters of sympathy and hope they sent the McCann's will not be held up to them as reminder that good people like them can do bad things. But now so many people who leapt on the Madeleine bandwagon are now systematically jumping off.
Being middle class educated people is not a good enough reason to omit them from suspicion; the only thing that will omit them from suspicion is evidence. The crime scene from where Madeleine was taken was contaminated right from the start. The McCann family invited loads of friends and family round to the flat where the child was taken and allegedly refused to leave.
The casualty of this debacle is the child Madeleine. She seems to be forgotten in the whirlwind of publicity. Hopefully she will be found alive and well at some stage. Now there is uproar from the trustee's of the Madeleine McCann fund. The parents want some of the gifted money to hire the lawyer who had defended General Pinochet to defend them. That money that was raised to help find the child, some of it came from ordinary people across the world, some of it was gifted by the richest people in the UK...no wonder the trustee's are angry. It was never assumed to be used as legal fees to defend the very people who were supposed to protect the child in the first place. Only a middle class mentality can have two doctors who leave their kids unattended on holiday, have one child go missing, get the world's press at their feet, be horrified at any suggestion of foul play and get millions of pounds and a meeting with the Pope as a result.The McCann's may prove their innocence of the accusations of killing their child, but in my eyes they will always be guilty of neglectful behaviour of leaving their kids alone in that flat.