The Strange Case of Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and the McCanns 371

I have a confession to make. Back in 2014 I posted that I was going to write something further on the subject of the McCanns. In the end I did not, because I was surprised by the strong emotional reaction I received, from a number of decent people, who were enraged that I might be prepared to write something not to the McCanns’ advantage. But I regret being so pusillanimous, particularly as so much discussion has been suppressed by the extremely aggressive stance taken on threats of libel action on this story.

So in the full knowledge that some decent people will be outraged, here it is.

This week there have been two more developments. The Home Office has announced that it will fund still further the police investigation into Madeleine’s disappearance, on which £10 million has already been spent. Plus the appeals court in Lisbon has overturned the libel verdict against the Portuguese detective Goncalo Amaral, who led the case and formed his own firm convictions at to what happened. The 500,000 euro libel award to the McCanns is now cancelled.

None of these sums of money would matter in the least, and practically nobody would grudge any expense, to have Madeleine McCann alive, safe and happy. There can be nothing worse for a parent than the loss of a child, whatever the circumstances. If the McCanns genuinely do not know what happened, that must be agonising beyond belief. My grandparents had a nineteen year old son, an uncle I never knew, missing in action in World War 2 and the pain never left them, even when his fate was resolved.

And yet, and yet… It is because our children are so precious to us that we treat them as such. I recall an incident on Jamie’s first birthday, which we spent in a hotel in Italy. I was in the room with Jamie. My then wife had gone out to the car. The birthday cake was delivered to reception and had to be paid for. Jamie was fast asleep. I dashed out of the hotel room, down two flights of steps to reception, literally threw the money at them and ran back up the stairs. I was away under two minutes but have never experienced such adrenalin, nor would wish to again. An overwhelming instinct had kicked in telling me I had done wrong in leaving the baby unattended, even so briefly.

I find the McCanns’ behaviour indefensible. There appears to be a disconnect in the public mind in the UK which prevents people from realising just how far the McCanns were from their children. This is a useful graphic just to see the layout, (do not worry about the other info on it).


The McCanns could not actually see their apartment from the tapas bar due to the wall around the pool. To get back there, they had to use the gate and walk around that wall, which made it a 75 yard hike. And the apartment had double doors onto the street on the opposite side of the block from that facing the pool.

I do not see how anybody understanding this geography can consider that it was normal parenting for the McCanns to leave two one year olds and a three year old, alone in the apartment in these circumstances – for hours, and repeatedly several days running. It is something I would absolutely never dream of doing with my own children. If nothing else, had any of the children been crying and in distress – and the chances of that with three tiny children are pretty high – there was no way they could hear them.

The claimed abduction is not the only thing that could have happened. Cholic. Vomiting. Sore nappies. Coughing. Choking. Bad dreams. Overheating. All kinds of thing can distress children. So far as I can judge, it is not that I am weird in my own views, rather it is absolutely accepted in British society that you do not leave 1 year olds without care of an adult. Why are the McCanns an exception?

Which leads me on to the question of why they received such exceptional treatment from British authorities, directed straight from No. 10, to the extent that Blair and Brown eventually gave them a PR representative? I used at one stage to be Resident Clerk in the FCO, a now abolished post effectively of night duty officer. I can tell you from horrible personal experience that the FCO deals with gut-wrenching cases of lost or dead children abroad frequently. I spent one of the most terrible three hours of my life, through to a cold dawn, on the phone with a hysterical bereaved mother desperate to explore any avenue that might give a possibility that the boy who had just drowned in Brazil was misidentified as her son. On average, I am afraid such tragedies get substantially less than 1% of the public resources that were devoted to the McCanns.

I am going to come straight out with this. British diplomatic staff were under direct instruction to support the McCanns far beyond the usual and to put pressure on the Portuguese authorities over the case. I have direct information that more than one of those diplomatic staff found the McCanns less than convincing and their stories inconsistent. Embassy staff were perturbed to be ordered that British authorities were to be present at every contact between the McCanns and Portuguese police.

This again is absolutely not the norm. On a daily basis more British citizens have contact with foreign authorities than the total staff of the FCO. It would be simply impossible to give that level of support to everybody. Plus, against jingoistic presumption, a great many Brits who have contact with foreign police are actually criminals.

The British Ambassador in Portugal, John Buck, had been my direct boss in the FCO. he was Deputy Head of Southern European Department when I was Head of Cyprus Section. He and his staff were concerned by contradictions in the McCann’s story. The Embassy warned, in writing, that being perceived as too close to the McCanns might not prove wise. They demanded the instruction from London be reconfirmed. It was.

I know of people’s misgivings because I was told directly. But material was also leaked to a Belgian newspaper confirming what I have said. It was published by the Express, but like so much other material which is not supportive of the McCanns, it got taken down. Fortunately that last link preserved it. It also shows that the FCO continues to refuse Freedom of Information requests for the material on the interesting grounds that it might damage relations with Portugal.

For the avoidance of doubt, I do not believe there was a high level paedophile ring involved. I make no such argument. Nor do I claim to know what happened to Madeleine McCann. But I do believe that the McCanns were less than exemplary parents. I believe that New Labour’s No.10 saw, in typical Blair fashion, a highly photogenic tragedy which there might be popularity in appearing to work on.

And I believe there is a genuine danger that the high profile support from the top of the British government might have put some psychological pressure on the Portuguese investigators and prosecuting officers in their determinations.

Liked this article? Please consider sharing (links below). Then View All Latest Posts

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

371 thoughts on “The Strange Case of Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and the McCanns

1 2 3 4 5 6
  • Nelly van de Kimmenade

    I could not agree more with you!
    From the very beginning I have been upset that those parents left there very young children unattended and that should have been given A LOT MORE ATTENTION

  • Johnstone

    Were children, livelihoods, reputations and freedom at stake coercive control may well override and subdue all other instincts of the controlled. I would not liken it to the MH and IB. Coercive control is not uncommon many people don’t know its happening to them ’til they are jolted into awareness.

    • John Spencer-Davis

      I don’t think it’s profitable for me to speculate any more without a thorough examination of the case, so I won’t. What I would say is that I am exceedingly reluctant to believe that two people – not one, but two – could be so extraordinarily and unrepentantly wicked as the McCanns are being delineated as here. I would want to be driven to that conclusion as a last resort, rather than to find it congenial to the mind.

  • Stewart Hemmings

    I cannot understand for the life of me, how the parents managed to avoid public outrage that these children had been left on their own. . Full stop.
    I think wilfull neglect is a crime. .
    I believe that if it was just a man in the street instead of a well to do doctor and his wife then the press coverage would have been totally different.
    To sum in all up, something smells.

    • Sandra

      Not only all of the above – but the resort was actually heaving with holidaymakers – not such a short walk when having to negotiate people – also reducing visibility of the apartment. This was not actually accounted for in the police reconstruction.

  • Andrew Johnson

    Lots of “beliefs” at the end of this article. I wonder how it is that this article completely avoids reference to 12 hours of video – a comprehensive investigation into the McCann case – posted free here:

    I suspect it’s just another example of “limited hangout”. Some people are happy to criticise the McCann’s parenting, but won’t talk (in detail) about the high level support they have received from the higher ups. Perhaps those not writing about this are helping the blindingly obvious cover up. Same has happened with 911. (See my website for more information)

    Other comments indicate people don’t know what actually happened – as documented in the films linked above, hence even their speculation is all but useless.

    • Spiral

      I have watched all those documentaries, they are an extremely meticulous & thorough patchwork of all known information put together in such a manner as to follow a logical pattern that is a mind blowing exposé of the circus that followed the disappearance of that poor little girl.

      However for anyone with the attention span to watch them the “meta data” shows that something far darker & very secret was going on in the background, and I don’t mean child abuse.

      That’s why the gov did what it did.

    • J Galt

      Well said Andrew, the last film in particular is impressive a meticulous examination of the timeline and the photographic evidence.

      If you have not viewed these films (preferably twice) your knowledge of this matter is incomplete.

      That these films are being ignored rather than being discussed ad infinitum is to me suspicious

      • J Galt

        That said however I still think Craig deserves praise for going even this far.

        It’s not a totally taboo subject like Dunblane for instance but it’s not far off.

  • Harry

    Can’t agree more. From the word go Kate looked as if she was hiding something. Her confidence grew with the more support she received.

    Cannot understand why they have not been charged with child cruelty/ neglect.
    If this had been a normal situation with people who don’t have the support these two do, social work would be all over them like a rash.
    The whole thing stinks.

  • Jim

    Pathetic little coward and bully at heart aren’t we Davis? You remind me of nothing so much as that brilliant sketch by Stewart Lee about Richard Hammond. With Craig as your Clarkson. Now get back in that library, you still haven’t finished your research, you lazy bugger.

    • John Spencer-Davis

      I suppose “Over and out, for good” was as much a load of rubbish as everything else you have written on here.

        • John Spencer-Davis

          Oh, of course. I’m terrified of you, that has been amply demonstrated.

          When you thought you had me on the run, you couldn’t wait to gloat, could you? You posted spiteful, sneering comments challenging me to answer you. Now I have answered you, you have nothing to say, except more nasty, childish little insults.

          Go and waste somebody else’s time, you spiteful, jeering little nutcase.

        • Jim

          I didn’t ‘think’ I had you on the run Davis, I did. And gave you a full day to respond before getting back to you. And have not been in your case since. So don’t pull the ‘poor bullied little me’ shit, you pathetic specimen.

        • Jim

          And you haven’t answered me you lying little ****. I’m still waiting for your magisterial well researched rebuke to my ‘straw men’. And you’ve suddenly lost interest in tap-dancing for some mysterious reason.

  • Johnstone

    ‘congenial to the mind’ its NOT.
    I think such notions might be a manifestation of naive reality, which I believe Fred posted a link should look it up

    • John Spencer-Davis

      I think you might be mistaken there. I think there’s a natural human tendency to be suspicious of others and believe the worst, and I try my best to be consciously resistant to it.

  • Eric Smith

    The government connection was to Gordon Brown, not Tony Blair. How did a pair of working class medics wield such incredible influence ?

    ‘Gordon Brown has personally intervened in the search for missing four-year-old Madeleine McCann after her parents became frustrated by the lack of progress in the police investigation.

    After a series of telephone conversations with Madeleine’s father, Gerry McCann in recent days, the Chancellor requested assistance from the Foreign Office and the Home Office. He asked that pressure be brought to bear on the Portuguese authorities to allow more information about the inquiry to be made public’.

    • Eric Smith

      I have some suspicion the answer is that Gerry McCann knew something about the COMARE report which found that nuclear power stations were safe. His friend, Professor Elliott. was the chairman.

      Gordon Brown’s brother was head of publicity for EDF who had plans to build nuclear stations in the UK.

      “Keep It In The Family, Gordon

      What makes this decision politically sensitive, is that Gordon Brown has close family connections to the nuclear industry. His younger brother Andrew Brown works for EDF Energy, the UK subsidiary of EDF, which operates nuclear power stations in France, and which is one of the leading companies pushing for a nuclear rebuild programme in the UK. Andrew Brown was appointed as EDF Energy’s Head of Press on 13 September 2004. Previously, he worked for the lobbying company Weber Shandwick.

      One of Brown’s key advisors is Ed Balls, whose father-in-law Tony Cooper is a long-standing nuclear lobbyist”

    • Nico

      In marked contest to the reported attempts of Gordon Brown to mute coverage of the results of forensic tests:

      “It also coincided with the meeting between English prime minister, Gordon Brown, and Jose Socrates [PT prime minister], during which the former solicited the Portuguese government’s commitment to contain the publicity of facts of the inquiry”

    • M Allen

      I have read that Gordon Brown and his wife is best friends with one of the Tapas couples, who are also friends of the McCann’s. It’s all a total cover-up, it seems.

  • clara

    I Agree with you. A loving parent,when looses a child,doesn`t go around, living the lives they have. They DO NOT leave their children alone in a public place(this is a public place full of strangers) For this alone they should have been in jail . The reason why they say there isn`t prove of the child being dead,because they know what they did with her body when they transferred her in the Car to a place of no return,like throwing her in the ocean. I don`t understand how they have gotten abd still getting away with it….

  • Johnstone

    Eric Smith
    Yes, something of this sort seems to be a very likely motive for the Labour party and the UK establishment to interfere with the Portuguese investigation and invest huge resources into a massive and ongoing cover up

  • Tony Cook

    Doctors & Medical professionals view death differently to mere mortals. And you can’t find what was never lost..or “abducted”.
    The fact they have changed their stories so many times over the years, refusing to answer some basic questions and whenever things get a little too hot, storming out of interviews only adds to the view by many and increasingly so, that these people are not telling the entire truth.
    Now, if any normal human parent lost a child in such circumstances you would never behave like they have. Many believe they are being protected by the “system”. Thankfully, the general public opinion towards these two and the other strangely silent 7 has swayed towards the fact that they now have questions to answer. And they should be made to answer them. Public donations were made to find this child and they were used totally inappropriately. Anybody who is protected by the system will not be blamed for anything….and these two “parents” are no different. A very good article Craig. Enjoyed it.

    • John Goss

      Glenn, thanks for that link. It is long but, as you say, disturbing. As I have already donated to this fund myself I am now feeling somewhat cheated. In fairness to myself I was at that time prepared to believe much of what MSM told us.

      The writer of that piece has a rare sense of humour, for example, “A sauce said . . . ” but the content is believable research. It finishes:

      “Or is it the acknowledgement that cashing in the reward money makes it look like you know your daughter isn’t coming back?”

      Right at the very beginning The News of the World repeatedly said in its appeal for donations to the Maddy fund words to the effect: “if she is found alive” when the fund should have been about “if she was found”. Strange wording to line somebody’s pocket.

  • lysias

    Disgusting paragraphs in a new article in New Europe: Saudi Arabia’s Military Weaknesses Exposed in Yemen:

    According to Reuters, some of the largest beneficiaries of the alliance have been US defence contractors. Vinnell Arabia, now a Northrop Grumman subsidiary, has received multimillion-dollar contracts to train Saudi Arabia’s National Guard since 1975, for instance, including a five-year contract worth up to $550m in 2010.

    European defence contractors have also profited. For instance, Eurofighter, a European consortium, delivered $5.6bn in arms to Saudi Arabia and UK-based BAE Systems delivered $2.9bn during the same period, according to Reuters.

  • Jill Carter

    Thank you for speaking out about this abomination regarding poor Madelaine McCann. There are just too many grey areas and things that don’t add up in this case.

  • Kevin Armstrong

    A very interesting piece Craig but most of this has been known from the outset of the cover-up.

    You seem to be well connected so what is the possibility that you can get something on record from the likes of Sheree Dodd? I know the answer, zero chance. Therein lies the problem with this case. We don’t know why the government decided to get involved with this particular case at the time and that money continues to be wasted on the charade by the Conservative govt. One can only assume that there was something at the heart of all of this that was absolutely critical. Perhaps links between the parents and Labour ministers, who knows what? But, why is Cameron still prepared to allow the Police to waste millions of pounds on the search for one child? Can nobody explain why this girl, among hundreds of kids who go missing abroad, was/is chosen for such special treatment.It really requires someone to launch a legal challenge against the parents who so far have been able to use public money to repel any suggestion of wrongdoing. Of course now that Sr Amaral has won his case, the tide may at last have started to turn on what can only be described as a bigger mystery than the strange death of David Kelly.

  • Mary

    This story has never sat well with me, added to that the lady who died following tweeting the McCanns with questions.

    and of course the salacious behaviour of Dr Payne

    Rich Hall has done a couple of documentaries about this case well worth a look.

    Smells to high heaven,

  • Peter Cain

    Also, here in Portugal, where I have lived now for 16 years, it is normal for the Portuguese to take their children with them to a bar or restaurant at any time of day or night, and it is accepted by the owners of the bars and restaurants. The Portuguese are horrified that the children (McCanns) were left alone in the apartment.

  • Max DeFrost

    This is a great piece Craig and candidly refreshing to state this view compared to the sycophantic ‘celebrities’ who seem to be vying for kudos teampoints in their support for the McCanns at the expense of increasing evidence supporting the view that all is not right with this story.
    I’ve followed this situation right from the beginning and was initially surprised at the couple’s seeming lack of genuine distress for losing a daughter full stop, let alone in a foreign country where communication was challenging. Press conferences showed two emotionally smashed people on cue yet a day or two later, Gerry McCann was photographed laughing heartily out of camera view and Kate, admittedly the more haunted looking of the couple, in similar care free and happy state. Alarm bells rang at Jane Tanner’s inexplicable ability to give a statement, witnessing a man carrying ‘something’ but too far away to be specific on the night of the event, to six months later, giving a positive ident of Robert Murat carrying Madeleine.
    Deleted phone records, instant Governmental support and allegedly MI6 involvement, incongruous behaviors of the McCanns, inconsistent timeline statements of the other Tapas 9 friends, extremely dodgy companies hired by the McCanns as private detectives, their apartment being described as ‘surgically clean’ following no examples of Madeleine’s DNA being found on anything, Kate washing Madeleine’s toy thus destroying any DNA or smell of her missing child, the sniffer dogs positively indicating the smell of cadaver odour and blood in their apartment and car, the McCanns supressing photofit evidence given by the Smith family of a suspect for five years only to release the detail on Crimewatch which looks, laughably, the spitting image of Gerry himself …… the list goes on and on whilst, all the while, the UK MSM continually force the official line of the McCann couple being victims and suffering at the disregard of this alternative mounting information against the abduction theory.
    As other comments have said, the official line stinks. There is, without doubt, a sinister undercurrent to this story and one almight coverup in progress.

  • Chris Jones

    I missed the original reports when Madeleine went missing and it was several years later that I thought I’d like to know more about the case and who the Tapas 7 (?) were. It was immediately obvious that people involved in the holiday in Praia had closed ranks and weren’t acting as you’d expect when a child goes missing. A read through the accounts of that night showed glaring inconsistenties and abnormal behavior, differing from the Hotel staff who all did what you’d expect. They actually ran from the restaurant to look for the child. The Tapas 7 behaved oddly and furtively.

  • jemand

    So the McCanns are guilty of being bad parents and receiving inordinate support from the government. Well fuckadoodle-doo. Do you have any HARD FACTS of criminality, Craig? Or is it just more churlish gossip? I would have thought someone like you with your experiences, including those involving your wife, might have appreciated the discretion in keeping unproven suspicions to oneself.

    • carol

      Clearly you would make an awful physicist jemand, hard facts can never surface without theories being posited first, since when did speculation and curiosity become churlish gossip? and in this particular case overwhelming anomalies. Interestingly my son in law only today mentioned his father who is a headmaster attended a headmasters conference recently were one of the visiting speakers was an ex scotland yard detective who worked on the madeleine mcann investigation, this detective said the only reason the mccanns hadnt been charged with causing her death either accidentally/deliberately/neglect and then hiding her cadaver was not having the body and not having enough DNA samples to bring about a conviction. Very interesting that the DNA samples were “lost” at the british forensic science institute which closed down I believe, further interesting that the markers present in the samples were enough to secure a conviction in other countries, of interest that Gerry McCann provided the hair samples from madeleines hairbrush, which could have come from one of the twins hair instead. Interesting that Gerry claimed to not own a credit card but conveniently lost his wallet. Interesting that the local priest in portugual felt betrayed and that the mccanns had the keys to the church, murat had keys to many properties, gerry disposed of a fridge during his holiday which later vanished from his blogs, and just what is in that urn on gerrys mantelpiece which looks suspiciously like a shrine

      • jemand

        Carol, you’re an idiot. Craig is not a police inspector and has posited no theory. No doubt, you’d make a poor scientist yourself, and even poorer detective, for failing to understand that theories are based on observable and falsifiable facts and are not mere inventions of the imagination. I notice that you refer to hearsay and unsubstantiated speculation – both inadmissable in court due to their unreliability in presenting the truth.

      • craig Post author


        Thanks for the headmasters conference story, which is useful. I have my own friends in the Met who tell me the investigating team were convinced about what happened. Unfortunately I could not include that in my blog as my brother is in the Met and it would be presumed he told me (which he didn’t).

        But members of the Met investigating team put their own money into Amaral’s appeal against his libel verdict. I think that tells you all you need to know.

      • Manda

        “Clearly you would make an awful physicist jemand, hard facts can never surface without theories being posited first,”

        I beg to differ. Working from a theory leads to cherry picking and not the truth or correct track. Hard evidence has to be the basis of any theory.

    • carol

      Furthermore that comment of yours almost sounds like a threat “someone like you” “including your wife” please elaborate on this cryptic comment

    • Njegos

      Jemand –

      Craig is drawing attention to the unusual level of UK government support shown to the McCanns. What is wrong with that?

      • jemand

        No complaints from me about questioning extraordinary govt support for the McCanns. Craig however already stated that the case was a media circus in which the govt wants to grandstand for popular support. But that is not the point of this post – which is that the McCanns are guilty. Yet no evidence is offered other than the same circumstantial artefacts that follow all of us like shadows, waiting for an unfortunate event that leaves us in the hot seat to explain why and how. “How is it that you were walking past the entry to an alley, at 3am, where a woman was murdered at the time?”

  • John Spencer-Davis

    ” It was in vain I looked about me; in vain I saw the decent furniture and tall proportions of my room in the square; in vain that I recognised the pattern of the bed-curtains and the design of the mahogany frame; something still kept insisting that I was not where I was, that I had not wakened where I seemed to be, but in the little room in Soho where I was accustomed to sleep in the body of Edward Hyde. I smiled to myself, and, in my psychological way began lazily to inquire into the elements of this illusion, occasionally, even as I did so, dropping back into a comfortable morning doze. I was still so engaged when, in one of my more wakeful moments, my eyes fell upon my hand. Now the hand of Henry Jekyll (as you have often remarked) was professional in shape and size: it was large, firm, white, and comely. But the hand which I now saw, clearly enough, in the yellow light of a mid-London morning, lying half shut on the bed-clothes, was lean, corded, knuckly, of a dusky pallor and thickly shaded with a swart growth of hair. It was the hand of Edward Hyde. 13

    I must have stared upon it for near half a minute, sunk as I was in the mere stupidity of wonder, before terror woke up in my breast as sudden and startling as the crash of cymbals; and bounding from my bed, I rushed to the mirror. At the sight that met my eyes, my blood was changed into something exquisitely thin and icy. Yes, I had gone to bed Henry Jekyll, I had awakened Edward Hyde.”

    Robert Louis Stevenson, The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886)

  • Paul Barbara

    Here is a Scottish case; it links with the Maddie case insofar as a solicitor (now retired) got prosecuted for harassing the McCann’s, whereas in this case he goes after the victim:
    ‘The Hollie Greig Story – Why Are Alarm Bells Ringing in Scotland?’:
    The Scottish blog is one of the few places Hollie Grieg and her mother seem to be getting a fair press.
    One of, if not the, principal alleged abuser was a Scottish Sheriff, and Elish Angiolini is alleged to have help cover up the hopelessly inadequate ‘investigation’; she now has a position as Principal of St. Hugh’s College, Oxford.
    Hollie and her daughter fled Scotland to try to get away from the harassment, but Brit police and ‘SS’ continued it here.
    A similar case of police lack of investigation, and persecution of campaigners, is the Hampstead SRA case; see ‘In the Best Interest of the ‘Whistleblower Kids’?’.
    Despite very precise descriptions of body birth in intimate areas, tattoos in same, and piercings in same made by the two children, NONE of the alleged abusers were asked by police to submit to a medical examination!
    Some of the campaigners are still being dragged through the court system, with no consideration of blatant flaws on the part of Judges, police and others.

    • Moo

      Holly also named people and locations that didn’t exist!

      One only has to watch her in interview to realise she is severely mentally challenged and takes all cars from her clearly deluded mother.

      I have to ask, how and why the mother of a severely disabled child, allegedly repeatedly raped from the age of six did not notice any physical indicators? Are we to believe Holly bathed, dressed and used a toilet completely independently from such a young age?

      This case is nothing more than the deluded rantings of a clearly sick woman and her hanger on.

  • Jake Maverick

    Yes, yes all very strange….and even more so in the UK when you consider what happens to parents and their children in the UK when they are ‘alleged’ to have left a child alone for a few minutes…in not so disimilar cases as the author describes like nipping out to grab the birthday cake. Secret courts, prosecutions, children taken into ‘care’…..

    • Ba\'al Zevul

      Of course he bloody is. He was on the committee. Entirely legitimately. Whether he topped his daughter or not. Wholly irrelevant. Or are you suggesting that Madeleine had secret details on Hinckley Point and had to be eliminated by the CIA/MI5/ The Rothschilds/Masons/Joos/aliens? Get a grip.

  • CanSpeccy

    I believe that New Labour’s No.10 saw, in typical Blair fashion, a highly photogenic tragedy which there might be popularity in appearing to work on.

    It may have been simpler than that.

    the McCanns were in deep trouble. They’d lost a child and the police were not buying their account of the disaster. If the police theory proved out, the McCanns would be ruined professionally and liable to criminal prosecution. But they were quick thinking and well connected, so, to speculate, they had a word directly or indirectly with someone (Gordon Brown, perhaps, since there is said to be a connection between Gerry McCann’s professional work and Gordon Brown’s family interests). Whoever received the request for aid, had the authority to order the desired assistance, and did so order it, which is natural enough. What, after all, is the point in climbing the greasy pole if one cannot use the power attained to help a friend in need. Thereafter, as CM points out, the system would have remained in assist mode unless ordered to desist.

  • Kate

    I don’t know the reason for the cover-up and support by the British Government for the McCann’s, but I personally think it was more than just some good publicity for the past Labor Government. This investigation by Scotland Yard is a farce, IMO. Labor are no longer in power, so if it was merely a case of good publicity for them, why isn’t the Cameron government exposing the McCann’s now that they are in power? The cover-up continues. What ever it is, it is something BIG and involves those at the top.

    • craig Post author


      I really do think it is less likely to be dramatic than that. Brown’s PR team got the corporate media into full-on McCann support mode, so that even the absolutely obvious facts about terrible parenting never got into the public consciousness. If Cameron pulls the plug, the media story will be “heartless Cameron abandons the search for poor Madeleine. Parents devastated.” That is enough to stop him doing it.

      • Ba\'al Zevul

        I can support the last part of that, Craig. But I think the first might stand further scrutiny. The media shitstorm kicked off on the 4th May. By the 16th, it was apparent that it was being (professionally) sustained.. But the UK media were almost unanimously supportive of the McCanns, and were not reporting the inadequate checking of the apartment while the McCanns were eating – very probably because the Port police weren’t telling the Leicester police or the media anything – the information wasn’t available.

        In which, incidentally:

        If anything, local media gave Madeleine and the investigation into her disappearance even more prominence than did the British in the week of Tony Blair’s announcement that he was stepping down.
        (The site has extensively archived English-language press reports of the time, and is worth a look .)

        Which would have been a very sensitive moment for Tony and Gordon.

        However, up to the 14th, the McCanns and Bell Pottinger owned the UK PR exercise:

        The McCanns’ early success with the press can be put down, in part, to the media experts they found working alongside them. The Mark Warner company, whose holiday apartments they had been staying in, already had a deal with PR company Bell Pottinger. That meant that Alex Woolfall, the company’s crisis management head, was in Praia da Luz the day after Madeleine disappeared. When Woolfall left 10 days later, the Foreign Office stepped in. Media handlers arrived from London. They included former Daily Mirror journalist Sheree Dodd and, later, former BBC man Clarence Mitchell. Both Woolfall and Mitchell are remembered by reporters as key and immensely helpful sources as the McCann phenomenon took off.

        The “full-on media support mode”was established at the beginning, then. Maintaining it (as opposed to letting the McCann’s exhaust their resources, when the story would have died a natural death) was the intention. And it wasn’t Brown, who inherited it, but Blair who is in the frame for instigating direct government action. At the very least he must have approved it.

        Also on May 14th:

        On May 14th, Kate Healy is indignant about the attitude of the liaison officer, who asks her where her daughter is. Neither she nor her husband accepts anyone doubting their word. The officer will be sent packing – and his colleague too – a week after his arrival. That attitude is, to say the least, shocking on the part of parents confronted by such a situation, that, what is more, is in a foreign country. Those two police officers, who distinguished themselves through long experience in the management of situations of kidnap and abduction, were, all the same, entirely at their disposal; they provided daily logistical and legal support, and afforded them all the help they could have needed.

        Curiously, the English do not consider it expedient to disclose the incident and the PJ are not informed. Myself, I only learn of it indirectly. Finally, a solution is found quickly: the two men are replaced by a Portuguese man who speaks fluent English….

        It’s probably at this point that the farce begins.

      • Andrea

        It was said at the time that Cameron was pressured/threatened to order the review (turned into an investigation exceeding £12m) by News Corp. see ”Maddie’ police review ‘was example of political interference’, “Rebekah Brooks set out to ‘persuade’ government over review” and “News International ‘lobbied David Cameron over police review” What are your thoughts on this Mr. Murray?

  • ponpon

    So, this article is, ultimately and with great ‘authority’, to dispel the notion of ‘a high level paedophile ring’ and enforce the notion of neglect? That’s the impression I get anyway.

    • Paul Barbara

      I don’t see it that way at all. Craig is perfectly justified in not seeing any evidence of a high-level paedophile ring from the known information.

  • Observer

    I agree with Mr Murray’s comment about the Government being a juggernaut that’s find it difficult to turn around once a certain course has been established. Since the early days, so many of the so-called great and the good have attached themselves to the McCann cause, affirming their innocence and denouncing all ‘haters’ who harbour doubts about them, that to turn this world view around now would be to embarrass hundreds of influential people whose livelihood depends on their credibility and good judgement.
    The list is long and I’m sure many others could add to it, but we have millionaire businessman Brian Kennedy (who spent a fortune on helping the McCanns), Richard Branson, Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, David Cameron (and numerous other politicians), plus dozens of journalists from TV and both high and low-brow papers, including Carole Malone who penned a vicious attack on Brenda Leyland shortly before her suicide and Martin (SKY) Brunt whose appearance on Leyland’s doorstep with a camera crew was the first chapter in her speedy demise. How awkward it would be for Sky, the Daily Mirror, Brian Kennedy and dozens more if the McCanns turned out to be guilty and Brenda Leyland’s opinions (based on Amaral’s book) turned out to be right? For that reason I think, whatever the truth about what happened to Madeleine, the McCanns will remain forever officially ‘innocent’ in the UK.

1 2 3 4 5 6