“We want a big event to raise awareness that she is still missing (...) It wouldn’t be a one-year anniversary, it will be sooner than that” (Gerry McCann on June 3, 2007, one month after Madeleine's disappearance.)
It is two years since Madeleine McCann went missing. From the very first interview with her parents, something struck me as peculiar about the official story. Generally I avoid news stories of missing and abused children. It's too painful. I don't want to know.
This time however, my antennae went up. Kate McCann did not act...sincerely... Some of her early comments regarding her 'missing' daughter were inappropriate "Whoever's got her, Madeleine will be giving them a piece of her mind". Asked to talk to Madeleine, after all, if abducted, she and the kidnapper could be watching TV, Kate looked down and said "she knows we love her". Not the behaviour of a mother seeking her child, more like the behaviour of a grieving frightened mother.
I have lots of theories about why the press have not properly reported on this 'abduction', why the McCanns have been treated with kid gloves. Several female TV presenters supported the McCanns. I believe this is down to working mother guilt; they saw themselves in Kate McCann, a professional woman who found it hard to cope with the loss of status entailed with becoming a stay-at-home mother. They wouldn't want to criticize another middle-class mother who relies heavily on nannies and paid help to bring up children. These exhausted mothers may also have had occasion to play fast and loose with the rules of wise parenting in the interests of having a break. It is little known but the McCanns left their children alone not just that fateful night, but every single night of their holiday. This is unheard of.
Two years ago I travelled around Mexico and Guatemala with my then 13 year old daughter. One night she had fallen asleep in the hotel room. I was hungry, I wanted to go out to find something to eat. But I didn't. There is no way that I would leave my 13 year old daughter alone in a hotel room in a foreign country. Some may call that over-protective.
I made mistakes when I was bringing up my daughter. I was alone. Unlike Kate McCann, I did not have a husband, several friends, the money to pay for creches when I went on holiday with my child. Once I fell asleep on a beach while my child, only three, played on the edge of the sea. She was wearing one of those swimming costumes stuffed with polystyrene, so she wouldn't have drowned. But I still feel guilty about that lapse to this day.
Bringing up children is a series of near-misses. Most of us get lucky.
I don't hate the McCanns. I feel sorry for them. I believe there was some kind of accident which they couldn't admit to, especially being abroad. I do wish they would put everybody out of their misery, themselves even, and especially the Portuguese, by telling the truth.
There are rumours of political pressure applied by Gordon Brown on the Portuguese government to drop the investigation into what happened to Madeleine McCann. Another black mark for Gordon.
Goncalo Amaral was the detective in charge of the case. He believes that Madeleine McCann died in the flat on the 3rd of May and her body was hidden. He was pulled off the case after he made the McCanns into 'arguidos', a Portuguese legal term which implies that they are not exactly suspects but hold sensitive information regarding the case. Here is the film he has made: he may be wrong, but it is certainly of interest:
A clearer case of child neglect, this time from the 'underclass', and this time gloves off from the press...The killer of baby P, it turns out, has also raped a two year old girl, most likely baby P's sister. Appalling though this is, I yearn to read a more nuanced report on the truth of this situation. Why did the mother, from some accounts a perfectly loving mother before she met her boyfriend, the killer, put up with his abuse of her children? What's the background of the killer? Was he abused as a child? Or is he just evil?
I came across a website in the last few days which talked about Baby P's mother in the most abusive terms. I've seen Facebook groups that want to form a lynch mob to kill Baby P's mother and the social workers. Do they think this is helpful?
I know social workers who will not work with children because of the pressure and the flak they will receive if they make a mistake. Social workers do not get enough funding. They are handling too many cases. Some of them are ham-strung by political correctness it seems. But whatever they do, they get criticized. In the Cleveland scandal of a few years back, social workers and hospital doctors were hounded for putting children into care, as suspected victims of sexual abuse. The young inexperienced social worker, Lisa Arthurworrey, from the Anna/Victoria Climbie case has been suicidal and house-bound for years since her mistake was exposed.
Now social workers are scorned for not removing children from families soon enough.
We feel frustrated and upset when we hear that young children are tortured and abused. We want to take it out on someone.
Bad things will always happen. Ultimately, if someone is determined to commit a crime, there's not much anybody can do about it.