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Anorak | Anorak Bingo: With Shannon Matthews, Madeleine McCann And Scarlett Keeling

Anorak Bingo: With Shannon Matthews, Madeleine McCann And Scarlett Keeling

by | 16th, March 2008

fiona-mackeown-rampling.jpgMcCANN, MATTHEWS. McKEOWN. It’s all part of Anorak Bingo – the game that’s taking the press by storm. The aim is to get the names ‘McCann’, ‘Matthews’ and ‘MacKeown’ into your article. Get all three and score double points. Pens at the ready…

THE INDEPENDENT: “Sarah Sands: Scarlett Keeling died at the roll of a dice. It’s a perilous game”

Each human tragedy has its socio-economic dimension. The terrifying abduction of Shannon Matthews is coolly discussed as a portrait of a debased white working class, with its multiplicity of fathers and attendant social workers. When Madeleine McCann went missing we rapidly absorbed the context. The parents were doctors, ambitious, gym conscious, dressed in high street chic. The holiday destination, Mark Warner in Portugal, was family minded and middle class. The McCanns felt safe to leave their children in the room, because they were among their own people.

Tick. Tick.

Fiona MacKeown was as trusting of her own way of life. Goa was the geographical affirmation of her identity. Gentle, free, non materialist, non judgmental. True to her beliefs, she has rejected the conventions of work, family structure and social aspiration. She has nine children by five fathers.

The Good Life:

One person’s small holding is another person’s squalor. The shack that she calls home looks wretched to me, but I was not very shocked by the interior shots of Scarlett’s bedroom. My daughter’s room is just as untidy.

But let’s look anew at Diona MacKeown. Nice hair… blonde hair…

Similarly, I do not share the distaste of many journalists for Fiona MacKeown’s hippy appearance. She has a calm beauty and resembles Charlotte Rampling in some photographs. Scrubbed up a bit, the whole family could appear in a Calvin Klein advertisement. The children with their tousled hair and burnished bodies laughing on a beach with their carefree mother. It would be an alpha ideal if they had a few million in the bank and a Bryanston education.

Fiona MacKeown’s daughter has bene raped and murdered in India.

Perhaps it was negligent to pull children out of school for six months to go travelling, but Fiona MacKeown was only following the advice of Times columnist Mary Ann Sieghart.

The Times employee took her children on a overseas adventure. She wrote about it. Fiona MacKeown hung on her every word. Let no-one doubt the importance of a newspaper columnist.

Tick.

SUNDAY TELEGRAPH: “Behind celebration and blame, anxieties lurk”

Writes Jenny McCartney

“Complicated” –

Therein lay all the elements of a fairy tale satisfactorily resolved. But one little word in the police statement hinted at a different story: the circumstances of her disappearance, it said, were “complicated”.

That is, perhaps, the word that has defined Shannon’s life so far. She is one of Karen Matthews’s seven children, by five different fathers. The shifting male presences in her life must have taken a bit of adjusting to. The current stepfather is Craig Meehan, a 22-year-old fishmonger, whom relatives alleged had been violent towards Shannon and her siblings – a charge Mr Meehan has vigorously denied.

We have become accustomed to treating the disappearance, death or recovery of children as a sort of cathartic public theatre. The long hunt for four-year-old Madeleine McCann has been followed by Shannon’s disappearance and the rape and murder of 15-year-old Scarlett Keeling in Goa. Such cases arouse strong public sympathies, certainly, but frequently also the fiercest censure of the families involved at the very moment when they are at their most vulnerable.

Tick. Tick. Tick.

In the case of the McCanns, a degree of public anger focused on their decision to leave their three children alone while they went for dinner with friends nearby. In that of Scarlett Keeling, her mother, Fiona MacKeown – who has eight other children and a complicated personal life – has been harshly castigated for permitting her daughter to remain with a 25-year-old male tour guide and his aunt while the rest of the family travelled elsewhere.

A front page in the Daily Mail last week advertised an opinion piece with the tastelessly emphatic headline: “Sorry, but I blame Scarlett Keeling’s mother”. There was little mention of the culpability of the men who allegedly gave Scarlett drugs, raped her and left her on the beach to die.

Now, read on…



Posted: 16th, March 2008 | In: Madeleine McCann, Tabloids Comments (66) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink