Just what is it about Gerry and
Kate McCann that always makes me feel vaguely uncomfortable? Whenever the lugubrious pair pop back into
the media spotlight, as they have this week, I can’t seem to shrug off a
nagging, inexplicable, and no doubt unfair, feeling of unease that I’m being
manipulated. If I am, it means that it’s
being done by someone with something to hide, or something to sell, and the
only people I can think of with something to hide or sell are the McCanns.
I realise that any parents who
lose a child the way the McCanns did – their then four-year-old daughter
Madeleine was allegedly abducted from a hotel room in Portugal while her
parents dined with friends at a nearby restaurant – must be pitied, not least
for being condemned to a lifetime of sorrow and guilt. But whenever the McCanns show up on
television or in the newspapers, usually to ask for money, or to urge the
authorities to greater efforts in searching for their child, I remain curiously
unmoved. With mournful expressions deployed
to convince us of their relentless pursuit of the truth, which to date has cost
tens of millions of pounds from taxpayers as well as donors, the McCanns just
don’t come across as the kind of people easily warmed to. I for one feel less warmth than chill.
That is hardly their fault, of
course, but I can’t seem to shake off the idea that their appearances are a
mite contrived, as if those doleful, ravaged, yearning faces have actually just
been rehearsed for the cameras by a team of public relations experts.
I’m certain I’m not alone in
thinking that someone connected with the case who has already been interviewed
has withheld something, but I’ve no idea who that might be, and has something
new to report about that fateful evening, though I’ve no idea what that could
Obviously the British authorities
think there’s more work to be done on the case. London’s chief
crown prosecutor left this week for Portugal, apparently to explore
“new leads”. Scotland Yard is said to be
considering reopening its investigation – which suggests that it had been
closed. They must know something that
the rest of us don’t. What the
Portuguese police, who gave up the chase long ago, think about all this activity
can only be a matter for speculation.
Good luck to all of them I say –
especially if all these new investigations are going to result in the safe
return of Madeleine.
If nothing comes of these new
initiatives, though, some of us will continue to fret about whatever it is that
we can’t put our fingers on. But by then
I hope that the McCanns will finally have decided to call it quits, and found
some peace even in the lack of a definitive result.
Even for them enough must at some
point become enough.