Madeleine McCann: Kate And Gerry Seduce Vain David Cameron To The Sun’s Self-Serving Campaign
Daily Mail (front page): “CAN THE YARD FIND MADDIE?”
The Sun (front page): “EXCLUSIVE: CAMERON ORDERS NEW MET POLICE PROBE INTO MADELEINE CASE”
“PM: I’VE REOPENED MADDIE FILES”
David Cameron has taken the bait. “As a dad”, he had no choice. The Sun places their man at the centre of the story. This is personal. This is in the first person.
Theresa May, the Home Secretary, explains all in an open letter to the paper that backed the Tories at the last election:
FOUR years after she went missing, Madeleine McCann is still always in our thoughts. So I welcome The Sun’s role in making sure that her case is not forgotten. None of us can know what Madeleine’s parents, Kate and Gerry, have been going through. We can scarcely imagine the pain they have had to suffer or the pressure they have been under. We all want to see this beautiful little girl returned to her parents. That is why we have been doing everything we can behind the scenes in the search for Madeleine. Although it might not always be in the public eye, the British authorities have never given up on their work to find Madeleine.
Today I am pleased to announce that the Prime Minister and I have agreed with the Metropolitan Police Commissioner that the Met will now be using its particular expertise to review the case. The Met have skills, techniques and know-how which we hope can bring a new perspective to the case.
The Home Office will be providing the necessary financial support. Of course, the Metropolitan Police cannot promise that this work will lead to Madeleine being found. But it is right that we should do everything we can to help. It is my sincere hope that this new police involvement will bring closer the day that Madeleine comes home.
This is politics in the modern era: mawkish, opportunistic, emotive and ultimately self-serving.
Cameron writes an open letter to “Kate and Gerry”.
He says there “ordeal is every parent’s worst nightmare”.
And this from a man who buried his son. He won’t use his own grief to get ahead and show his caring credential but might use yours.
Cameron, billed as a “dad-of-three” – because in the language of tabloid, only a parent can understand –says:
“Thank you for your heartfelt and moving letter. Your ordeal is every parent’s worst nightmare and my heart goes out to you both.”
“I simply cannot imagine the pain you must have experienced over these four agonising years, and the strength and determination you have shown throughout is remarkable. I have asked the Home Secretary to look into what more the Government could do to help find Madeleine.”
He can’t imagine the pain, although “as a dad” he knows it is “every parent’s worst nightmare”; which suggests that he can imagine the pain. His words are hollow and routine. He writes not to the McCanns but to you, the Sun reading voter.
“She will be writing to you today, setting out new action involving the Metropolitan Police Service which we hope will help boost efforts in the search for Madeleine.”
Cameron is detailing May to do the job a President might order his staff. He presents himself as acting for the good of the nation he represents. This is all about him.
The Sun has pulled off a coup of getting the Prime Minister to back on its campaign of the moment. The routine is the same whether it be for knife crime, broken Britain, EastEnders, bin collections, hope for heroes and now Our Maddie. It is campaigns that give newspapers an idenity in a crowded new market. The Sun is just taking ownership of Madeleine McCann. She serves a purpose.
Daily Express (front page): “MADELEINE IS STILL ALIVE”
No quotation marks. That headline is not based on opinion. That headline is delivered as fact. We hear from the McCanns press conference to launch their book:
With heart consultant Gerry, 42, at her side, Kate – wearing a royal blue summer dress – added: “We hope we will find Madeleine before the money runs out.
“I don’t feel we will ever reach a point when we feel we have done everything. We will never give up. As long as Madeleine is still missing there is something we need to do.”
Gerry added: “I don’t think we’ll ever give up. I don’t think any parent could give up. We will always be looking.” The couple, from Rothley, Leics, insist no evidence has been uncovered to suggest their daughter is no longer alive.
The Guardain’s Caroline Davies was at the McCanns’ press conference:
Gerry, 42, sitting beside her, said they had “come to the end of our tether. We want action from the government, not rhetoric,” he said, urging the public to sign the petition for a review they hope could uncover a “key piece of the jigsaw” which may have been overlooked.
They want Cameron to talk to his Portuguese counterpart, and to offer the services of the Metropolitan police to review the investigation. “We’ve met three separate home secretaries, and we’re still not sure what the government has actually done. The prime minister does have it in his power to pick up the phone and speak to his counterpart,” he said.
His wife added: “When you’re in a position such as the prime minister, you have a responsibility. If you’re not willing to work for a child, you have to ask: who are you working for?”
Miranda Sawyer was also there:
What are we to make of Kate McCann? Do we think she should shut up and go away, that there are other kids who are missing too? Or do we admire her tenacity? Do we think she’s kidding herself that Madeleine will be found? Or do we cheer her optimism? The other option – that Madeleine is dead – isn’t one Kate or Gerry can live with.
Many think they “deserve” their misery because they left their kids alone. But what awful torture, to know your actions are partly responsible for your child not being here.
I ask them if they worry the public will run out of sympathy. On the contrary, they say, people are always coming up asking “How can we help?”
So how can we help? By buying and reading Kate’s book. By signing the petition for an independent review. If we’re bored of Kate McCann, maybe we should do something about it.
In Mrs McCann’s experience, the internet provides individuals with a ‘largely unregulated opportunity to set up websites and forums and blogs where they can share their bile and hate with other faceless, anonymous low-lifes, all locked away in their bedrooms’.
This quote seems to come from the CEDR:
“Launched in 1990 with the support of The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and leading law firms, business and public sector” the body deals with such things as conflict resolutions and libel. At first, the online accusations that she had murdered her own daughter upset Mrs McCann tremendously. Then she learned to ignore them. Ultimately, she began to pity these maladjusted nobodies and monomaniacs dishing out their reams of deranged malice under a cloak of anonymity. She is right. In the end, it’s only the babble of loons, ricocheting around cyberspace like astral junk. It may be wicked, but none of it matters a jot. Yet how sad that the McCanns’ ordeal should be besmirched by the casual cruelty of so many online.
And that from Jan Moir. Is your computer screen blushing?
Back to the matter in hand. Why is a matter for the Portuguese now a matter for the British? A Home Office spokesman said:
“Although she disappeared in Portugal, and the Portuguese retain the lead responsibility in the case, law enforcement agencies here have continued to follow up leads and pass information to the Portuguese authorities as appropriate.”
Meanwhile, the Mirror has been flicking through the Madeleine book:
The 384-page book, which is dedicated to the McCanns’ three children, Madeleine and six-year-old twins Sean and Amelie, includes intriguing insights into the couple’s surreal existence in Portugal in the summer of 2007.
Mrs McCann discloses that Cherie Blair phoned her five days after Madeleine’s disappearance and warned her: “Whatever happens, your life will never be the same again.”
She also recounts the occasion in July 2007 when the late broadcaster Sir Clement Freud, who had a house in Praia da Luz, invited the McCanns around for lunch and broke the ice by offering them a strawberry vodka.
Such are the facts…
Update: Paul Waugh:
I just raised this at the morning Lobby briefing and the Prime Minister’s official spokesman tried to draw a distinction between a ‘request’ from the Home Secretary and ‘political direction’ from the Home Secretary.
“It was done, yes, at the request of the Home Secretary, but it has been agreed by the Metropolitan Police Commissioner. It’s not direction, it’s a request,” he said.
“It’s quite an exceptional case. This is a very high profile case. It’s clearly been going on for some time and there’s a huge amount of public interest in this case. The Prime Minister has been very clear that he wants to do everything we can to support the family.”
When asked if the PM was simply following a tabloid agenda in the hope of good headlines, the spokesman said: “We are responding to a request from the family in a particularly exceptional case”.
Update 2: Lord Toby Harris
David Cameron has instructed the Metropolitan Police to review the case of Madeleine McCann. This is in response to an open letter in The Sun and is entirely predictable in terms of the “pulling power” of News International on Government policy.
However, his intervention drives a coach and horses through the draft protocol issued by the Home Office designed to preserve the operational independence of the Police which says:
“The operational independence of the police service, and the decisions made by its operational leadership remain reserved to the Office of Chief Constable and that Office alone.”
Whilst no-one doubts the desirability of doing what can sensibly be done to find out what has happened to Madeleine McCann, I can imagine that the senior leadership of the Metropolitan Police are not exactly happy about this. It again embroils their officers in a high profile investigation, where the chances of success are unclear, and which will divert limited investigative resources away from other matters.
And so the backlash begins…