Let’s face it, never before has child abduction been commercialised to such an extent as it has happened with Madeleine. Many thousands of children have vanished in the past, with no hint of what could have happened to them, but never have grieving parents become international celebrities, with their own staff and, more importantly, with the full backing of the media. It’s as if the man from downstairs himself is orchestrating this whole campaign, letting the crusade to find Madeleine run on and on, with money coming in as if out of nowhere.
The last portion of the tearful parents plugging their cause came in a video made to mark the fifth anniversary of Madeleine’s disappearance, with Kate and Gerry reporting to the world that their younger twins – who were only two when their sister vanished – had told them that when they grew up they would help in the search for her. It’s a great line if you think about it but there’s only one problem with it: just as many times before the couple avoids mentioning the fact that they left their small children alone. Not a word of regret or remorse. Just weepy words about the pain of losing their child.
And it might have been acceptable, to be honest, if not for one sinister side of it; as you read these words, dozens of Scotland Yard detectives are involved in trying to establish whether the Portuguese police missed something during that initial investigation five years ago at the public’s expense. Supposedly around 200 ‘leads’ have been uncovered – missed by the clumsy local cops – that might help find Madeleine. But even with such an impressive tally of leads the Portuguese authorities refused to re-open investigations citing lack of any new facts. And that obviously takes the gloss off the Scotland Yard investigation.
Unfortunately for the McCanns, the public mood is not on their side. In fact, if it had not been for the PC brigade’s efforts to turn them into ‘martyrs’ they would be struggling now to raise a single penny. Most people are obviously irritated by their stubborn persistence to turn their own misdemeanour into some sort of heroic devotion to their daughter. Any reasonable person would be asking him or herself: how come the couple got away so lightly for abandoning their small children that night? And why is it that social services have not taken the twins into care, considering that their parents have broken the law, both in Portugal and in Britain?
To sceptics I would like to say this: there is no conspiracy to hide some horrible crime committed by the McCanns. It’s very hard to imagine them pulling off a ‘perfect crime’, considering that they are not that intelligent. It’s just that some people are arrogant and vain enough to play the sympathy card beyond any reasonable limit and these two are doing just that. They have become celebrities and they are ready to do anything to stay in the limelight and benefit from it as much as they can.
Is it offensive to parents of other children who have disappeared without trace? Of course it is. But do the McCanns care? Nope, they don’t. I would even say they have no clue that what they are doing is a slap on the face to those people who grieve and search for their children quietly. They’re just too ignorant for that. Therefore, don’t be surprised if they continue for some years to come and Madeleine becomes a worldwide franchise.