Sunday, 11 March 2018


Even after 11 years, the smoke and mirrors continue and no-one is any the wiser than we were 6 or was it 7, years ago when the British police set up a task force to investigate the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.  Their objective 'to investigate.....  as if the abduction had occurred in the UK'. The chant of all those who are firmly convinced that Operation Grange are covering up - for whoever. 
I personally don't hold that any words are carved in stone, language like life is fluid, it changes constantly.  Circumstances change, new information comes to light.  Conspiracy theorists unfortunately, have a tendency to ignore that which is directly in front of their faces.  They continue to look deranged rather than admit they might be wrong.  Realistically, what could a British police force do in Portugal, that the PJ couldn't? Particularly with all the language and cultural barriers?  The only reason for a British task force, would be if British citizens were involved.
But let's get back to the continuing Smoke and Mirrors.  Last week another McCann related story appeared in The Sun.  Using Kate's 50th birthday, it was reminder of the McCanns' plight. They are down to their last £750k, but set to continue their own search when Operation Grange closes.  A 'pal' told the Sun about Kate's sadness, and other pals volunteered that they were going to try and bolster her spirits. Clarence Mitchell said the parents are extremely grateful to the police for all they have done and are doing in the continuing Search. 
All very pedestrian, nothing new here, move along folks nothing to see.  Except.  Gerry and Kate are not the only victims of tragic events, each of whom go through sorrowful anniversaries, milestones and Mothers Days.  Why are they not asked how they feel, or how they are getting on?  And would they want to be? I suspect not.
So what was the reason for squeezing a story out the Madeleine case, yet again?  Was it planted by Team McCann?  It's looking that way, 'a pal', 'pals' finishing with CM.  It's unlikely journalists worldwide kept a note of Kate's birthday in their diaries.  I'm sure they have to scrape many barrels while scratching around for a story, but I doubt birthday lists are included.  The Sun of course, didn't have to go with the non story, and that they did suggests it is in their interests to keep Madeleine's parents in the public eye. 
The article is intended to garner sympathy for the parents who are going to give the money Kate earned on her book to the Fund. Again, it would seem, as the book carried stickers saying that's exactly where the royalties were going.  Regardless.  If they have £750k available for the Search, why not give it to Operation Grange so they can continue? 
I know Clarence says the McCanns are extremely grateful, but I don't sense any enthusiasm there.  In fact I get the distinct impression that the McCanns and Operation Grange have reached different conclusions. Gerry and Kate seem resigned to the fact that OG appear to believe Madeleine is no longer alive.  They, on the other hand, plan to continue their search.  All of which begs the question, if OG are 'covering up' on behalf of Gerry and Kate, why are they not singing in harmony?
I've always wondered, given the McCanns' complaining of media intrusion, and the nasty things being said about them online, why they continue to keep themselves in the news.  They, more than anyone, should know when they issue a press release there will be a backlash.  I don't wish to be too harsh, but the definition of stupid, is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Even rats in a laboratory learn to stop pushing the button that electrocutes them.  They still employ Clarence? Why?  11 years on, can't they speak to the media and the public directly? It's not as if CM has any great powers of persuasion, even in the early days he was described as 'lying with as many teeth as he has in his head', though sadly I can't at the moment remember who said it.  
Clarence effectively said nothing.  He's no Sarah 'not that I aware of' Sanders or Anthony 'let me give you the lowdown' Scaramucci. 'The McCanns are extremely grateful' could have been said by any of the pals who gave quotes for this story, at zero cost.  It's literally one step up from 'no comment'.  They could even have said it themselves.  CM is what remains of a crumbling protective wall.  For me, this protective wall is worrying.  Weird, but worrying.  They seem to believe everyone is out to get them, and that's an unhappy way to be.  Far more than reality suggests.  In Court they claimed they had received threats on social media, but couldn't produce any.  There are no angry mobs out there.  The angry mob leader wanna be, Tony Bennett, has little if no support outside a handful of certifiable sidekicks who are too afraid to reveal their names.
The only thing that stops the McCanns communicating is the McCanns themselves.  True, it is horrible to be ripped to shreds online, but not so much that it dictates how you live and prevents you from defending yourself.  Major and minor celebrities are torn to pieces daily.  I once had a 'pro' website spend days/months discussing whether I wore a  wig and they did in fact call me Wiggy.  Far from being traumatised by the discussion (they were hoping it was cancer) I found it hilarious.  I have a lush head full of 'paddy hair', one of my blessings.  Even when my world collapses, my hair always looks amazing!  It's one of my 'constants', and something I hope someone will carve on my tombstone.  'Always had great hair'.  'Also a writer',

Gerry at one time considered himself a man of many eloquent words, and Kate is the author of a book, it must irk enormously that they are not able to defend themselves online.  I suspect the real reason is, there are just too many awkward questions awaiting them.  Even with all the interviews they have given, they have never expanded on their original statements. They haven't veered off onto other memories from the holiday, or any anecdotes or trivial incidents.  Instead they issue statements via a spokesman or pals, the same MO they used when Madeleine first went missing and they were under Judicial Secrecy.  At that time they were putting out negative stories about the Portuguese police via their friends and family, thus getting round the JS.

At one time I would have said every press release issued by Team McCann had an objective.  TM would probably say to raise awareness, as in Madeleine is still missing.    Fair enough.  But basically they are nothing burgers (apologies, lol, presently hooked on US politics), they are not passionate enough to stir up emotions, nor strong enough to convince anyone of anything.  The parents are giving a tepid response to the ending of the official search for their daughter.  And perhaps a sign that OG haven't given them what they wanted.  And they haven't, their daughter is still missing.  Maybe the talk of using the account hopping £750k to continue their search is bravado, but it also says they are not going to accept the conclusions of OG.  

Friday, 2 March 2018


The supporters of the McCanns claim that it is mean not to believe the parents of a missing child. Actually ‘mean’ is an understatement, the words ‘hater’ and ‘pitchforker’ peppered all and any reference to critics of Madeleine’s parents.  Journalists, politicians and celebrities quickly learned that any questioning of the abduction story was career suicide. Gerry and Kate were middle class professionals, PLU (People Like Us), naturally their fellow PLUs would defend them against the non PLU Portuguese Authorities. Our government, our police, our media, chose to believe the two suspects of a serious crime, over the Portuguese police investigation.  Let that sink in for a minute.
The supporters of the McCanns set up a forum Stop the Myths, in which a small group of deranged psychopaths discussed the ‘antis’ in malicious and abusive mean girls talk, while munching cyber popcorn.  Their sister forum was ‘Exposing the Myths’, a site dedicated to tracking down and naming and shaming anyone on social media anyone who criticised the McCanns. Their objective; to do to every critic what they did with Brenda Leyland. Photographs were taken from facebook, including children of their targets and posted on Exposing the Myths. Members were urged to write to their target’s employers, friends and neighbours, informing them of their online activity. This blacklist of course, became the infamous dossier, and was swiftly deleted following the inevitable tragedy.  And it should be mentioned, such lists have a history of ending in tragedy.  
Everyone should be presumed innocent until proven guilty. Quite so.  Except perhaps when faced with the bleeding obvious. Someone caught in possession of a smoking gun, for example. It would be hard for the arresting officers not to have an opinion one way or the other.  Unfortunately for the McCanns, their story was unbelievable.  Quite literally.  And that became more and more clear as the media storm died down. They were putting the story out there, as fast as their fingers could type, but there was no innocent explanation for leaving toddlers alone in a holiday apartment, and that stark reality was never going to go away. 
Ever since then, Gerry and Kate have focussed on anything but the dangers of leaving children.  Understandably, perhaps, because they fear criticism but also because it is going to be hard to sell the one danger of a stranger abductor.  The biggest danger of course, is accident.  And that should have been the lesson learned from this tragedy.  The McCanns were unfortunate, that the 1 in a zillion predator was out and about that night, but for most people, the risk would be a toddler falling, or ingesting something. 
Instead for the last 11 years, we have had fawning British PLUs, reassuring the parents of Madeleine that they did nothing wrong.  I can't help wondering if there would have been any fawning, if the parents were unemployed and from a Council estate?  I suspect not.  In those cases investigative journalists can be quite ferocious.  This case has, amongst other things, exposed the huge class divide there is in journalism and the police.  Would Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe have been releasing balloons to raise money for Shannon Matthews?  Would Jim Gamble have appeared alongside her mum and step dad on morning TV?  Would Karen and partner have been regular guests on Lorraine?  The case of Ben Needham only came back into public attention because of the huge chasm between the way Ben and Madeleine were treated.
The amusing side to the class issue, if there is one, it that normally reasonable people have to pretend they too can see the Emperor's new clothes, rather than being thought a chavvy hater.  And this is the weird bit.  The very prolific McCann media monitoring machine, managed to convince the watching world, that those who refused to believe the abduction story, hated the McCanns on a personal level.  All the suspicion is based on jealousy of their looks, their beautiful house, all their achievements etc.   I've always wondered why owners of shiny objects think others are jealous, they are clearly not wise enough to know that others don't care.  I don't think anyone is coveting their material goods, or even their bodies for that matter.  Given their obvious suffering, I think most people feel sympathy for them.  Myself included. 
I think the question of it being mean to criticise the parents of a missing child, is again debateable, when those parents are being mean to others.  That is disparaging the work of the Portuguese police and the people of PDL, who did so much to help them.  More specifically a ten year vendetta against the detective who searched for their child.  Their continued claims that Goncalo Amaral was somehow responsible for the loss of their child has gone beyond unreasonable, and into obsession.  Their belief that a victory in the ECHR against him will somehow bring them closure, is delusional.  Do they not have any psychologists among their friends who could point that out to them?
Ultimately, Gerry and Kate chose the battlefield, social media.  They believed they could control it, that they could continue to enjoy the benefits that came from it, whilst bullying and silencing outspoken critics with threats to destroy names, careers, etc, and of course the Black list. They achieved the opposite.  Every time they struck one down, 10 fold took their place.  It was never going to be sustainable and the strong arm of the law was never going to arrest people for disagreeing with them. 
Of course, the length and ferocity of this social media battle is largely down to Team McCann.  For whatever reason, they have kept it going through the years, mostly, I suspect for any outrageous comments they could turn into tabloid front pages to get the sympathy vote.  There was always a sense of 'go on, say it, I dare you', just as there is on my blog now.  Anyone, literally anyone, can disappear from the public glare if they want to.  Gerry and Kate demand the impossible.  They want to stay in the public spotlight, but they want immunity from criticism. 
And they have largely achieved that in the mainstream media.  Possibly because all the PLUs who run the mainstream media still can't contemplate that 'nice people' are capable of committing crimes.  But, more likely I think, none of the legal departments can be bothered to get into a spat with the very litigious parents. 
On social media, the McCann media monitoring machine has all but capitulated.  Apart that is, from a couple of battle weary diehards who are still trying to tell us the dogs were wrong and we're a bunch of losers.  They are almost rejoicing at the moment, that the long, long, investigation into Madeleine's disappearance is drawing to a close.  Why, I must ask, don't they want to find the child?  They mock advances in forensics and technology, advances that might even help their case by introducing new fingerprints or DNA that will rule the parents out.  Why do they assume new advances would be detrimental to the parents?
For anyone who is interested, and with me thus far, the supporters of the McCanns foresee Operation Grange closing, with the file being put in the 'cooler' to shield culprits of greater importance than world leaders and the pope.  Ooer, I actually got as far as the Dali Lamar and Putin, before I told myself to stop. No-one is above the law, and no-one can just make little girls disappear.   We don't know what OG are doing, we don't know what the PJ are doing, but they are obviously working on something. 

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Matthew Falder - tip of the iceberg, or one off?

The crimes of Matthew Falder make pretty grim reading, and my heart goes out to his victims.  Mostly, because they lacked the confidence and self esteem to tell him to F. off.  The words of my 'mad as a box of frogs' mother, words that have served me well throughout my life.  Some people only understand those two words, she told me, much to my chagrin, as having the gift of the gab, I was certain I could talk them round.  But she was right.  If you  are watching mum, yeh, you win, lol. 
Before the complaints flood in, I know this is not a subject for joviality, but now that I have your attention, if I had my way, I would have assertiveness on the school curriculum, because we have generation after generation of working class kids being indoctrinated to obey without question.  The levels of confidence between public school kids and state school kids is profound.  Public school kids are educated to be leaders. State school kids are educated to be led. 
Forgive my little rant there, but I am using my blog to send a message to anyone vulnerable out there that, they don't have to put up with abuse or blackmail. So many people just need a nudge, a few kind words, or intensive counselling, in order to value and appreciate themselves enough to say no.  That sadly, is a symptom of our selfish, uncaring society. We are loathe to give praise or take a few moments of our time to make anyone else feel good about themselves.  It's as if we have a limited amount of sweetness and light, so we must ration it. 
But let's get back to Matthew Falder.  I'm not nearly as excited as those spamming my inbox.  Is he typical of the 750,000?  I'd say not.  For one thing, he was an academic and a computer whizz kid, so that's got to rule out at least half of them.  He was not atypical of a predator, he didn't exhibit any of the traits criminal profilers would expect, which is why he was able to operate undetected for so long.  Kudos to the police by the way, for tracking him down, it was a difficult job, but they got the creep.
It is easy to stir up fear and hysteria when a monster is uncovered, but we have to remind ourselves that he is a freak of nature and not typical of everyone around us.  Unfortunately, governments and those with agendas, use the aftermath of an horrendous crime to introduce draconian laws that affect the freedom of all of us and would have been useless to detect the latest maniac before he committed his crimes anyway.  
Realistically, what are the chances that the Paedophile Hunters or Jim Gamble's Citizens Army would have tracked him down?  Answer.  None, and they didn't.  He was caught by the police with the full resources of the Law (international) behind them. 
Just to be clear I have never said that random crimes don't happen.  They do, and they make front pages, but they are so few, most of us can name the tragic victims.  The arrest of Falder doesn't mean there are still 749,999 to go.  There are no precedents for monsters of his calibre, just as there are no precedents for the Wests and Fritzle.  Heinous crimes don't run to a formula, each is unique. That's why putting three quarters of a million into a category is ridiculous.  If there were a scale, some would be at the bottom, most would be in the middle, but only one in millions would fly off the scale as Falder has.  Which throws up another anomaly. The police are clearly willing and able to pursue these monsters, so why are headlines like these so rare? 
Turning to the 'Art' argument.  The case of Matthew Falder demolishes the previous debate, because Falder pretended to be an Artist. Well that's it then, shut every art gallery and library, until every artist and writer has been vetted.  And just for good measure, perhaps all art students should be given a CRB check before being allowed to pick up a paintbrush. The images were clearly distinguishable as illegal.  Well, deh, he was the creator of them, the director, producer and blackmailer.  He wasn't purchasing the work of others he was doing it himself, albeit vicariously through the internet. 
Those screaming for censorship grab onto any ship that passes, the more heinous and the more salacious the crime the more outrage they can stir up.  And they always attack the arts, as they see it as the root of all evil.  Every generation of concerned citizens will claim 'this time it's different'. 'these crimes are more horrendous than anything that has gone before'.  But it isn't.  Those trying to connect Falder's monstrous crimes to the art debate, are clutching at the flimsiest of straws.  Falder was highly educated and manipulative.  The cyber Hannibal Lector, he knew exactly how to prey on people's weaknesses.  He posed as an artist, because it is the logical thing to do if you want people to undress and pose. And being an academic, it is more classy than photographer or amateur movie maker.
This case has nothing to do with the Arts, or the freedom of everyone to use the internet, but it will undoubtedly kick off calls for clampdowns on our freedoms and more funding for paedophile hunters.  I practice the philosophy of 'cold light of day'.  That is, I try never to react in the heat of the moment, or reach conclusions while feeling highly emotive, those are the times that we are at our most irrational.  Sadly, some use the shock and horror to rush in new legislation, usually those with a finger in the pie.  Unfortunately, so many have cried 'Wolf' so often, we are being completely misled as to the real dangers. 
For safety's sake, please all parents, lavish your children with praise and attention, they might not want to talk to you, but they will listen if you say nice things about them.  The best gift you can give your child is confidence.  It's like a suit of armour that will protect them for life. Don't scold them for what they have done wrong, praise them for what they do right.  'Any child who is loved enough will not grow up to a be a criminal' (unknown).  To that I would add, 'any child who is loved enough will not grow up to be a victim'.  Mummy tigers teach their cubs to know when to run, hide or fight back, we should teach our 'cubs' the same from the very start.  Self confidence is their best form of protection. Even in our civilised society, predators target the weakest and most vulnerable.  We can never rid the world of predators, but we can ensure that those we love are equipped with all the self esteem, knowledge and skills they need to fend them off.   
And toughening them up, shouldn't just apply to our kids, it should apply to our friends, our neighbours, the stranger who just sat next to us on a park bench and spilled our their life story.  Falden didn't just target kids, he targeted those who were vulnerable.  And many of us are vulnerable at many times of our lives, that's why kind words mean so much.

Finally, I accept there is a dark web, lol, I put the urban legend thing in as a wind up, I felt you lot were running out of material for your proverbial kicking. I also wanted to draw out how many were familiar with it and, err why? Tbh, I'm getting a bit bored with this subject, and might move onto something less controversial, like drugs or the #MeToo campaign. 

Tuesday, 13 February 2018


Just to let friends and followers know, my AOL email account was hacked, an I can no longer access it.  Ditto my Facebook page.  If you want to contact me, please email me at

In response to a post on my last blog and the twitter spat between Jim Gamble and 95 year old Harry Leslie Smith (@Harrylaststand). I would just like to point out that I have followed the amazing Harry for a long time.  When he talks, I listen.  He has 95 years of accumulated wisdom and he is in full possession of his marbles.  The man has as much compassion for the human race as his dear friend Jeremy Corbyn, though Lord knows why after all the horrors he has lived through.  Mark his words well, he IS the Warning from History. And besides,  not everything is about GM and KM.  
Of course it is ridiculous to keep ploughing money into this seemingly bottomless pit.  Millions are being spent on, effectively, one child, while so many children desperately need help.  And bless him, he is doing a tour of the Refugee Camps and bringing awareness to their plight. I'm not as old as Harry, but I have never seen the UK in such a terrible state before.  Doesn't Theresa May feel any shame when she meets with other World leaders?  Does she smile and say 'yeh, I ran the country into the ground'.  Doesn't she cringe that she is dragging the UK back, not only to the last century, but to the one before!  How does she sleep knowing that kids are going to bed hungry?  Look around you all those jumping to the defence of ploughing more money into Operation Grange, do you not see the suffering - everywhere?
I was a child of the Sixties, looking back now, a fortunate beneficiary of all the progress made by the Attlee government in the 1940's.  I didn't know it then, but I can see now, what a huge period of growth and prosperity followed.  Even under the (seemingly) grumpy old 'Arold Wilson, England swung like a pendulum do.  Food banks were unheard of.  Now they are on every high street.  Had my father lived, the shock of what's happened to the UK would have killed him. 
As for Jim Gamble, of course he still supports Gerry and Kate, he is one of the main factors in the original investigation being taken off course.  He admits as much in his statement given to Sky TV when they were on a troll hunt where someone actually died.  He refers to the interference of the British police agencies.  CEOP of course, was one of those agencies.  As Head, I think, he wanted to turn CEOP into his own personal quango, a police agency to target pre-crime, that is rounding up all those who are 'likely' to commit a heinous crime, 750,000 of them apparently.  Blair, who was turning into a dictator and literally starting wars could have done much with a police agency like that. 
What reason did CEOP have for getting involved in the Madeleine case?  Child Exploitation and Online Protection - what part of that title relates to a small child going missing abroad?  At 3, Madeleine wasn't being exploited online and searching the vicinity was the immediate need.  JG is more of a computer guy, he has really taken to new technology, and seems to think that is the future of policing. 
I think he and Gerry wanted to replicate the US National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children, that receives billions of dollars each from the US government and even have their own TV show. The host is John Walsh, who's own small son was kidnapped and killed in 1984, and has been actively campaigning every since.  Perhaps Gerry saw himself as the UK equivalent.  Following Madeleine's disappearance, and the 'inadequate' police response, Jim Gamble iirc wanted a National/International task force who could step in every time a (British) child went missing abroad. However, that should be moot now, because there hasn't been another in 11 years.
Of course, none of that would be possible if the parents of Madeleine were involved in her disappearance.  Madeleine was the driving force behind all the new ideas and initiatives - in a nutshell an abduction was boosting everyone's coffers - the police agencies, all the politicians, journalists, celebrities et al, who jumped on the popular bandwagon, and of course the Media. Not thinking badly of the child's parents, was a sign of good character and a compassionate nature. Being suspicious of them 'revealed' the inner chav, the hidden spite. Hater was added to the lexicon to describe those without the good grace to give Gerry and Kate the benefit of the doubt.

Harry is right.  And by heaven he has guts.  No politician dare question the cost, no newspaper columnist or any even any media mogul, because you are still judged as a mean person if you don't believe Gerry and Kate.  Harry doesn't say either way, he is questioning the costs.  And the costs should be questioned.  Who can name any other missing child, or even missing person investigation being funded with £12m for 7 years, without any questions being asked?  Well questions are being asked, but only by the certifiable in the cesspit and those of us crazy enough to put principles before pay.  Not only are we pounced on with great vengeance and furious anger, but we will never get paid work.  And for all those who are regular readers and who enjoy my blog, please consider a small donation, I am typing by candlelight. 
That's why the 'big' names don't comment.  They too are pounced on immediately if they criticise the McCanns, and the backlash is too much.  They even got the usually fearless Sharon Osborne to back track.  And I don't think it's just trolls, I think quiet words are spoken directly into the ear.  Didn't John Redwood, Tory MP,  write an unfortunate blog, and then quiet on the subject thereafter.  Ditto George Galloway, though as a far superior orator, he at least came out with the far more memorable 'mother of all injustices, before he too backed off.  In this case, Jim Gamble himself stepped in, not with one of his usual ferocious attacks, but with his friendly policeman's back off voice. I do hope Harry wasn't perturbed, he didn't seem to be.


Thursday, 8 February 2018


Reading Dr. Bonn's article on Moral Panic, reminds me of that moment as a mature student when I found out Ben Hur was a gay film!  Ditto Spartacus and pretty much every sword and sandals film.  Now I have absolutely no problem with it being a gay film, and spotting the titillating lines of Truman Capote make it all the more delicious, but it was a lightbulb moment, an awakening.  And also a great big 'where the hell have I been most of my life?

I make no secret of the fact that I spent my early years as a snooty Dallas extra wannabe looking down on those who didn't work as hard as I did and saying 'ears ears' to Maggie Thatcher simply because she was a woman!  A fling with a trade unionist put me right on most issues, but Germaine's 'Female Eunich' sealed the deal.   I was then a feminist and a Marxist, but pretty enough that the tory men I dated found it cute. Now, not so much, lol. 

I didn't go into higher education until my late 30's, and of course I knew it all (a character flaw).  But I didn't, and I was for a short period of time, truly alarmed at how little I knew!  I was fortunate to have an equally mature compatriot (luv you Sue!) doing the same course by my side, and six months in,  it hit us.  There was no turning back.  Since then I keep finding doors that I have not yet opened and I have to kick myself and say doh!  My own blog, happily, has been one of those doors to enlightenment, that continues to throw up  new and alternate ways of thinking, it is as much an education for me as I hope it is for my readers.

Please forgive the anecdotal stuff, I know how much it winds some readers up, but for most I hope, the subtext gets through.  For some people they reach an age or stage, where they think they know everything, or that is the way they want to be seen by everyone around them.  They think admitting you did not know something is a character flaw.  People like Bennett, Richard Hall and Jim Gamble would never say the words 'well, I did not know that'.  Funnily enough, I like to be proved wrong, I like to be persuaded to look at issues from a different perspective, I'm in awe at the intellect of anyone who has been able to change my mind.  I can actually pinpoint the exact moment I went from tory to socialist, thank you Keith Waterhouse.

I'm trying to explain, not very well, that it is OK to acknowledge you were wrong, that the belief system you were indoctrinated with from childhood might not be the only way.  It's like that moment when Nietzsche's words 'God is dead, there is no God' suddenly hit you, and you begin to understand the meaning of life in a way that you never did before.

I hope by now, those following the last discussion have now read and digested the Dr. Scott Bonn's 'Moral Panic: Who Benefits' article, because it so skilfully and articulately outlines exactly what happened in the Madeleine MCann case. 

However, since the extraordinarily enlightening article of Professor Scott Bonn, those shrieking 'think of the children' have gone abnormally quiet.  The introduction of this article, preceded by the artistically insightful post by Bjorn, has I hope made some of the more moderate 'child defenders' have a rethink as to exactly what it is they are defending.
Unlike many professors, Dr. Bonn explains the phenomenon of Moral Panic in a way that we can all easily understand.  It is of course a concept that should be familiar to every criminologist and every journalist, but they are among the groups that benefit from it, so they play along.
'Moral panic has been defined as a situation in which public fears and state interventions greatly exceed the objective threat posed to society by a particular individual or group who is/are claimed to be responsible for creating the threat in the first place'.
Clarence Mitchell it could be said, was a grandmaster at creating a Moral Panic, 11 years on and the disappearance of Madeleine McCann is still newsworthy.  But the crown should of course go to Jim Gamble, who appears  regularly on television to frighten children, and pile more stress and paranoia on their already fear ridden parents.  There are 700,000 or is it 750,000 potential child molesters in our midst.  All triggered by the sight of naked children or children in their underwear, cartoons and potentially renaissance paintings and sculptures.  They are ordinary people apparently, teachers, police, GPs, writers, etc, all waiting in the wings to  groom a child online and meet them in a car park. 
The disappearance of Madeleine McCann brought the subject of paedophilia to the front of the news.  Parents all over the world now had the added fear that their babies could literally be stolen from their beds.  If it could happen to responsible parents like Kate and Gerry, it could happen to you.  And Madeleine was an appealing toddler, a poster child, who raised awareness for missing peoples charities and those who would seek out and destroy all these hundreds of thousands of perverts in our midst.
For me, one of the saddest aspects of the whole fiasco is the effect these 'scares' have on young parents, as if they didn't have enough to worry about.  Kids now have NO freedom.  They can't go out and make friends not chosen by their parents, and they can't do all the things my generation did, like play out from morning til night.  They will live shorter lives than we will, because their parents think they are safer in front of a PC screen with a pizza. 
It was strange to see two Doctors,  contributing so wholeheartedly to spreading the fear, by exaggerating the risks and extent of the problem by teaming up with Jim Gamble and Mark Williams-Thomas, both media consultants and experts in CSA and both benefiting from the public's belief that paedophiles are all around us. 
As Dr. Bonn explains, the Media are complicit in spreading the fear because they need sensational news to attract readers, viewers and advertisers.  Jim Gamble can be relied on to present the kind of statistics that should grab headlines, but for some reason, rarely do.  The interview he gave with 'Alex' paedophile hunter sat beside him on Good Morning TV was quite bizarre.  He was still selling his idea of a 'Citizens Army' to combat paedophiles online as if the problem were urgent and endemic.  If it is urgent and endemic, shouldn't the first port of call be the children and their parents.  Ie. Telling them what to look out for and how to stay safe?  It is the parents' job to keep their children safe, not child protection officers.  And to all those who gasp at 'Alex's' stories of paedophiles chatting to 9 year olds.  Stop and think for a moment.  Who, if anyone, lets their 9 year old chat to strangers on the net?  Unfortunately, whenever the 'P' word is mentioned, common sense leaves the building.
But let's return to Madeleine, and another way in which her disappearance has been used to create Moral Panic.  This time, trolls on the net.  The lawlessness of the worldwide web gives anyone the freedom to say pretty much anything they like.  Old legislation doesn't work in the cyber age, and secrets cannot remain secret.  Trolls became the new Folk Devils.  Especially those trolls who targeted the parents of Madeleine McCann, whose supporters helpfully, kept a record of every insult they received going back several years.  The case for the prosecution was ready. 
Except, it didn't go to plan.  The target troll was a nice middle aged lady, who was driven to suicide by the sheer horror of what was done to her.  The public were outraged.  Brenda Leyland wasn't a folk devil, she was an ordinary woman, and she could have been any one of them.  Unfortunately, that took the 'trolls are now public enemy No. 1' cause back a few years.  If the harmless Brenda was the face of 'trolls', we could all breathe a huge sigh of relief. 

Gerry and Kate have been actively involved in several situations that create moral panic.  The Algarve is full of paedophiles, child trafficking is prolific (need for harsher border controls), Hacking and calls for new legislation to control the media, internet trolls and calls for harsher laws to imprison them.  They should, by now, be completely aware of what they doing, even if they don't know there is a name for it.  Do they ever wonder about the knock on effects of the fear they stir up? 

They exaggerated the problem of paedophiles whilst campaigning to find Madeleine, how many innocent men were targeted and had their names attached to the child's disappearance?  They exaggerated the problem of internet trolls.  An innocent woman died.  Yes, they have been the subject of discussion more than most victims of crime, but hey, for good reason.  No cause has been discovered for their daughter's disappearance.  I have been a member of many groups, but even as mad as some of them are, there has never been any physical threat towards the family.  Bennett went close with his pamphlet thing and should have been locked up, but by now they  [the McCanns] should be aware that even the raving loons who stalk them online, including a few of their own followers, are cowardly inadequates who will never come near them

Of course it could be that the McCanns too were duped.  Unaware that their plight was being used to usher in new paedophile laws and initiatives to convince the public we need a specially trained branch of law enforcement to police the internet.  Amber alert of course, was all about border controls and calls for all new born babies to have their DNA stored, the beginnings of New Labour's ultimate dream to have a national database on every citizen.  And  what better way to promote that than to plant the idea that babies and young children are in constant danger of being stolen.    

Hacked Off of course was a direct attack on the media.  For a while there the UK went nuts, journalists became the folk devils and all those with lots to hide could breath a big sigh of relief.  I've never been able to figure out why Gerry and Kate went to battle against the media, but I suspect they hoped to regain public sympathy, and perhaps financial reward.  I didn't watch their entire testimonies to Leveson, but I raised an eyebrow when Gerry said they should be paid every time the tabloids used their images as they [the tabloids] were profiting from them.  It was as if you could literally see him gnawing away at the hand that was feeding him. 

In any event, I don't think the McCanns profited or won any new friends with their involvement in the Leveson Inquiry, more likely, they lost a lot of old ones.  But Hacked Off is a good example of a Moral Panic having run it's course.   When all those demonising the press thought about what they were doing, in the cold light of day, they probably (hopefully) realised the stupidity of demanding the free press be censored.  The MSM are now in turmoil, not because of privacy laws, but because they now face so much competition.  Why would followers of a topic bother with heavily censored and blatantly biased reporting, when there are blogs and websites that will tell them the truth? (such as moi :)

The Madeleine case too, has run it's course, that is, its' ability to stir up extreme emotion.  All those fears that the Algarve is filled with paedophiles and child predators have not panned out.  No other child has gone missing, no child traffickers have been uncovered and no stolen children have been rescued.   Happily most of the fears born out of Madeleine's disappearance haven't come to pass, and we can look back with hindsight and understand how most of them were based on the hysteria that existed at the time.  We were led to believe that every cherubic toddler was at risk.  Totally untrue of course, most missing kids are spotty, belligerent teens, not nearly so photogenic as Madeleine.

It could of course blow up again, because the governments of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown were compromised.    Of course Blair and Brown could simply say their orders were 'give them [the McCanns] all the help they need'  and that 'legally' was implied.  They can blame the minions for misinterpreting their instructions.  But in any event, should the full details of this case ever be revealed, they will include top ministers and police chiefs.  All of whom will have to admit they were completely taken in by the abduction story.  Oops for them, and even bigger Oops for those experts in the field, Jim Gamble and Mark Williams-Thomas.  How do these crime experts explain how they couldn't see what thousands of amateurs online have seen for years?

Monday, 29 January 2018


UPDATE  31/01/18

Older readers will remember that horrible time in the 1980's when the evil Sidney Cooke led a gang of paedophiles in the rape and murder of 7 year old Mark Tildesley, 14 year old Jason Swift and other boys who had disappeared.  The arrest of Cooke led to the uncovering the evil gang known as 'The Dirty Dozen', whose modus operandi was to lure rent boys and runaways back to their flat, where they would be drugged, raped and murdered. 

Most of their victims were missing teenagers, boys who had run away from home who were picked up at the London terminals with offers of friendship and a bed for the night.  It will probably never be known how many were killed by this gang.  I imagine this is an ongoing heart ache for families of missing loved ones.  

Their game was up when they snatched 7 year old Mark Tildesley at a funfair, his young age, setting off a massive police investigation that resulted in the trial and conviction of these evil men.  And of course, it highlighted the dangers faced by rent boys and runaways, not just in London, but worldwide.  I have no doubt those dangers still exist, and it is heart  breaking, but hopefully now there is much more awareness, and of course CCTV and phones in our pockets that can pinpoint exactly where we are. 

Cooke's gang were targeting 'lost' kids, that is kids who could disappear without trace, and without a public outcry.  They had a target demographic, and sadly, they were easy pickings.  Easily identifiable getting off the trains with their backpacks and luggage.  Today's equivalent I suppose would honing in on troubled kids via social media, a game of numbers, how many 'fuck off you perv's' do they get before  they find a victim?  I'm guessing a lot, which is probably why most paedophile hunters are trying to entrap each other. 

Cooke and his evil gang, showed us a dark murky side of life that was unknown to most of us.  We knew exactly who the evil ones were and sadly, we discovered how easy it was for this gang to prey on vulnerable teenagers.  Valuable lessons were learned and if they weren't, I advise every parent with a stroppy teenager to tell them the story of 'Hissing Sid' as the vile creature was known.  That scary time between little Mark's disappearance and the arrest of the evil gang will I am sure be ingrained in those of us who remember it, the whole of the UK knew a paedophile gang were snatching children. 

Apparently Jim Gamble, former head of CEOP has said there are 700,000 paedophiles operating in the UK.  I don't know what that means, but it sounds truly alarming.  Are they paedophiles in the Sidney Cooke mould? Does operating mean active?  As in trying to groom children online?  The figure is staggering, but more troubling in my opinion, is who are their victims?  The childrens homes and institutions no longer exist, and it is very hard now for anyone to go off radar.  As I don't know what this 700k demographic is made up of, I presume he means on social media, thus presenting the internet as the biggest danger to our kids and the need for a specially trained police force. 

An army of online paedophile hunters would effectively be a branch of law and order devoted to pre-crime activities.  A less sophisticated Minority Report system that arrests people before they go on to commit a crime.  The majority of that 750,000, actually, scrap that, 749,999 will probably Not molest a child.  Viewing even the vilest of pornography does not lead to violent crime, anymore than a video nasty or a song by Marilyn Manson sends millions of teens on a killing spree.  It just doesn't happen.  Evil isn't triggered by movies, books, music, the arts or even pornography.  It was there before the internet, see Sidney Cooke.

Just to be absolutely clear, I do not condone child pornography in any way but I do not accept that looking at images makes these 750k men dangerous criminals.  I have never seen the kind of 'sickening stuff' that is said to be available on the net, nor do I want to.  But if this kind of thing is happening, why aren't the makers and distributors of these images being rounded up?  I don't buy the argument that the audience are responsible, it's like trying to stop the drug trade by targeting the users. I would much rather hear that the children who are the subjects of these vile images are being rescued and that the bastards assaulting them are being locked up.  If the police in the 1980's were able to swoop in on Sidney Cooke and his gang, there should be no excuse now.  We live in an age of constant communication and constant surveillance, how are these 750,000 paedophiles able to operate? 

Ps.  I have just read the Times Article on Jim Gamble.  The predators apparently can be teachers, police officers....... from all parts of society etc....'.  Wow pretty much anyone can be arrested and charged for a pre-crime.   

Unfortunately, I do not have a Times subscription so cannot reply, so, Dear Bishop Blake, I am a careleaver and survivor of a Catholic childrens home and I'm happy to assure you, paedophilia is not rife.  In my 60 years on this earth, the only place I encountered it was in the Convent.  I also encountered sadism and brutality, sexual abuses's less salacious sidekicks .

I don't know what kind of crazy world you live in Bishop, but with my opposite of a sheltered life, I suspect I'm a lot closer to reality than you are, and I have never met anyone the slightest bit interested in having sex with kids.  And it's the kind of thing you would remember.  Young adults and thirtysomethings are much more interested in each other, than they are in kids.  Heck, chuck in the 50s and 60s too and few sprightly 70 year olds too. 

I sometimes wonder if these paedophile hunters have ever spent any time with actual children?  Because 99% of the time, they are a gigantic pain in the arse. The one who stays in with the kids has drawn the short straw.  They talk incessantly, and when not talking they are singing or doing somersaults on your white sofa with sticky mitts and chocolate goo coming out of their mouths.  Then there are the demands.  Every time you sit down, they think up a new one.  Your only hope of survival is to play something repetitive until one or both of you falls asleep. 

As nobody wants to go below the surface of the 'P' word, the logistics and the reality are completely overlooked.  Saying there are 750,000 paedophiles in the UK disguised as teachers, police officers, etc, (not doctors?) is truly bizarre.  How are they able to operate?  Are they taking advantage of their professions?  Are kids being molested at school and by the police?  The key word, as used by the Bishop is 'potential', 750k potential paedophiles.  That is anyone who has looked at something they shouldn't could potentially have their lives and careers destroyed because it is assumed they will abduct and kill a child.  That is an almighty leap, but it bumps up the fear factor. 

I tend not to think there are paedophile gangs in the suburbs made up of teachers, police officers etc.  Not just because the idea is disgusting, but because it is completely unheard of.  People tend not to sexually abuse their children and pass them around to the neighbours, the idea is so sick, it wouldn't even make the plot of a seriously disturbed 'B' movie.  I fear the Bishop has very little faith in human nature if he thinks it does.  Yet we must accept it as true because it comes from an online child abuse expert and a Bishop.   


I rarely visit the cesspit (CMoMM), because I simply don’t have their stomach for their deplorable fascist views.  They quite literally leave me feeling nauseous.  Today especially as they have an entire thread devoted to paedophiles and what they would like to do with them.  
I’m not quite sure what the consensus is, as they are both berating Jim Gamble, who’s name heads the title of the thread, whilst at the same time supporting his idea of an army of vigilantes trained to track down paedophiles online.  The idea of a specialist police force to track down paedophiles online is horrendous, I’m not sure it would even stand up in a communist or fascist state?  What powers would these non police be given?  The power to access the online activity of anyone they choose? The power to kick in doors at the crack of dawn and the power to seize children and computers as Operation Ore did in 2002?  Happily, I’ve never seen anyone, other than Jim Gamble promoting the idea.
The subject of paedophilia however is so emotive and yucky, that most people act with their primal instincts. Quite rightly, we are genetically programmed to protect our young. I’m not a violent person in any way, but when I see the evil faces of convicted child murderers I want to batter them to a pulp. I get the anger and the rage.  Unfortunately, rage blinds us to logic and reason, that's why discussion of this subject is almost impossible. 

So let's start with the basics.  The generic image of a paedophile is a dirty old man alone in his bedroom trying to groom young girls and boys online. Someone socially inept, isolated but somehow also hooked up to others just like him, extremely unlikely btw, because paedophiles have difficulty relating to their peers, on any level.  This group, happily is minute, and the perpetrators more likely to be sad, than bad, they are afraid to go out. 

The next group are the opportunists, the psychopaths like Ian Huntley and Mark Bridger.  These are almost impossible to legislate against, they are a freak of nature and every society has them.  Their crimes don't stem from the internet, the evil was always within them.  On the plus side, they are very, very rare.

The largest group by far, are those active paedophiles who ingratiate themselves into vulnerable families by grooming the Mother.  Or they are friends, relatives or even professionals.  Almost every abused child, was abused by someone who knew them.  And it is not just sexual abuse, it is physical and psychological cruelty.  Physical abuse, which is far more prevalent and can be fatal, rarely if ever gets a mention.  The best protection is education, so much is spent on educating children on internet safety, how about educating them on safety in their immediate world.  Especially those young na├»ve mothers who go from abusive relationship to abusive relationship.  We should be empowering children and young parents, not taking over their personal responsibility. 

We are all being taught to fear the internet in the same way our predecessors were taught to fear books.  And those planting the seeds and spreading the terror are not doing it for philanthropic reasons.  They have blown the problem of internet trolls,  completely out of proportion, most are halfwits posting infantile threats, who are, in reality, afraid of their own shadows.  I don't know how anyone takes them seriously.  As for paedophiles online, the danger does not outweigh the benefits.  That some bad people use the internet, should not be an excuse to police it for everyone.  .
But let's get back to the central theme.  The policing of the internet by untrained police who are not bound to the same high standards as the professionals is abhorrent.  It reminds me of that moment when Napoleon introduces his attack dogs to Animal Farm,  I can't think of anything scarier, than if King Jong Ung were to take the helm. 
Where does it end? Their agenda may be to track down paedophiles, but what if they stumble on other crimes along the way?  The keeping of a database of an internet's user's activity online is wide open to abuse, including corruption and blackmail.  If it is one of their own, a paedophile hunter, do they keep it quiet?  How do they select their victims, targets? Isn't a bit weird for grown men to pretend to be scantily clad teenage girls? Just curious.  Effectively, we have a situation where paedophile hunters are talking to each other while pretending to be nubile teens.
I have seen Jim Gamble pitch his 'people's army' or whatever it is he wants to call his specialist vigilantes, but I've never seen anyone take up the cause.  It is not in step with the spirit of times.  The real Masters of the Universe reside in Silicone Valley, and their aim is to get information to everyone on the planet, they are genetically opposed to the kind of restrictions Jim Gamble wants to  put in place.  JG now finds himself out of step in the real world having to compete on a level playing field, he doesn't have the police advantages he once had.  And he is competing with young internet geniuses who had laptops when he had a teddy bear.  He is a duck out of water where new apps are concerned, it's a young person's industry.  Though I fear had he put his ideas forward in the Blair era he would have got what he wanted and that's where the  Animal Farm reference came in, in case anyone is wondering :)
The whole idea of vigilantes and paedophile hunters has less to do with protecting children, than it does with wanting to be part of an angry mob taking out their rage on a deserving victim.  It's ugly.  It's uncivilised.  There is something savage and Lord of the Flies about it.   A couple of years ago, I read with horror, how a drunken British mob chased a Spanish waiter who had the audacity to chat to British kids in the swimming pool.  You small, small people, your fear is not only deranged and illogical, it could have resulted in a tragedy.  And let me take this opportunity to thank every foreign waiter I have ever met, who has kindly taken the time to chat to and amuse my kids  holiday.  They are among the happy memories we always came away with. 

Since when did kids become sexualised?  Answer: Never, because 99.9% of us don't see kids that way and never will.  It would never have entered our minds that our kids were sex symbols lusted after by at least three quarters of the adult population.  Maybe someone should come up with a new line in baby hijabs.  Cover the little blighters from head to toe! 

Yes, we have now reached the ridiculous stage.  Ancient lost tribes are laughing at us, they know the photographer isn't actually stealing their souls.  Let's look at worse case scenario.  Imagine a pervert does get hold of your child's picture.  What is he going to do with it?  Ok, apart from the yucky obvious, but so what?  There are billions of pictures of children on the internet, including children of the royal, the rich and famous.  Unless you and family go around with bags over your heads, your image can be captured by anyone, anywhere. 

But I have entwined two topics, which I am afraid was beyond my control.  I should explain.  As the subject of paedophilia is yucky and most of us know little about it, this army of paedophile hunters could accuse anyone of anything.  The key to their success is entrapment.  Something frowned upon in the official police, and open to all sorts of abuse, particularly if the target is anyone they choose.

In theory an internet army of paedophile hunters doesn't sound such a bad idea, if they are guilty they deserve to be caught and they deserve to face an angry mob in a car park.  No-one will speak for them, and no-one can speak for them, without being accused of being a paedophile, or a paedophile supporter.  Ergo, this mob justice is allowed to flourish unchallenged and if Jim Gamble has his way, it will have a government stamp of approval.

But the reality is, real lives are being affected, some destroyed, I understand there have been suicides.  They may 'catch' some guilty men, but what of the effect on the wives, children and families of these men? The deceptive nature of the job makes me question the morality of those who would apply, it is a job for professional liars and those who get a kick out of leading angry mobs.  It isn't a fight back against paedophiles - real child abuse in real time is flourishing in these hard times.  It is the targeting of a tiny pathetic minority, while ignoring ALL of the bigger issues.  If these people care so much about children, why don't they get together a lorry load of provisions for the kids in the refugee camps?  Or better still, start up an after school dinner club for all those kids who are going hungry?













Friday, 19 January 2018


In response to Bjorn's post on the last blog, I had never considered Stockholm Syndrome with regard to the group dynamics, but it perfectly describes the kind of situation where a group's fear of breaking a pact, is stronger than their fear of the consequences if the truth were told.  
Turning to Stockholm Syndrome as it relates to the Tapas group is intriguing.  All these people, who may now in fact hate each other, are bound together forever more. This little house of cards is just one puff away from tumbling down.  Though to be fair, their silence has worked thus far, 11 years on and no-one arrested or charged.  Despite Gerry taunting the police for years with 'no evidence' and 'prove it', almost safe in the knowledge that it can't be done.  How is he so confident?
A strong character, or characters are holding this pact together, based initially on the collective decision to leave the children alone in the apartments and I agree, it's Gerry.  His need to control, well everything, was apparent from the off. And that included the Portuguese police investigation - miffed at not being put in charge, he started an investigation of his own. And his own search and his own campaign and his own media monitoring unit.  Apart from wearing a massive ‘I am a control freak’ badge, his control needs could not be more obvious.  David Payne I am not so sure of, but it was he who first referred to a 'pact' and it was he who led Yvonne Martin and away and told her to sod off. 
The tapas group may well need psychological help, but they are educated adults with free will, their prison is of their own making.  Their fears, I am sure, all go back to that night in May 2007, when they made the worst decision of their lives.  However, my sympathy for them stops there. Some, if not all, were happy to frame an innocent man, Robert Murat, for something he didn't do.  That goes into the realms of evil.  They are all complicit, all standing on the steps of the Royal Courts of Justice, celebrating their victory. Each of them having it within their power to bring the Madeleine 'search' to a dignified end, but choosing not to, some might say.  
How seriously the ‘choosing not to’ is taken by the Portuguese Judiciary and Scotland Yard remains to be seen.  Do we, the UK, have an equivalent to the US Fifth Amendment?  The right to remain silent, without anything being assumed from it? Please do correct me if I wrong here, and I’m sure someone will, lol.  Is it keeping silent, or withholding evidence?  Or the far more serious, perverting the course of justice? 
What are the consequences of that silence? Well both Portugal and the UK have been put to considerable cost, financially, and this lengthy investigation has tied up the services of many detectives for many years. The newspaper barons have been forced into paying out hundreds of thousands in damages and faced the wrath of the public in Leveson.  At least two British Prime Ministers and a couple of Home Secretaries will face huge embarrassment when their poor judgement is exposed, and embarrassment is the best they can hope for.  
The McCanns and their friends have far more to fear from those higher up the social scale than those at the bottom who they perceive to be their enemies. Among that sea of red faces will be many intent on revenge.  For example, the Madeleine case has been the kiss of death for the tabloids. As recently as 2007, most of us still believed that the newspapers were not allowed, by law, to lie to us - we knew of course that they were politically biased, but we had no idea how far the rabbit hole went.
However, in 2007, news was no longer restricted by borders.  And as a human interest story, it reached a much bigger demographic, even Sun readers began to see that their daily newspaper was lying to them.  Those of us hooked by the drama straight away, were witness to the huge difference in the way the Madeleine case was reported in the UK and the way it was reported in Portugal. We ‘english’ were being stirred up to believe this was a case of National pride, two British citizens were being victimized.  And alarmingly, our government and the MSM were in on it!  They chose to believe the two British suspects over the Portuguese police. 
But returning to Stockholm Syndrome and all those closely involved.  Each, I think have secrets and fears, each will be judged on their own actions and decisions.  They have not protected themselves with their statements to the PJ, they have protected Gerry and Kate.  They too were stupid enough to leave babies and young children unattended while they went out to dinner.  It was a group decision, and each of their statements are that part of the puzzle that makes up the 'group statement'.  All agreed on Madeleine's colouring book on the night the child disappeared, and reaffirmed in a get together prior to the Rogatory interviews. 
If each of them were isolated and questioned individually without collaboration with the rest of the group, their statements would probably be quite different.   The tapas group stayed in PDL for a further 10 days after Madeleine disappeared, giving plenty of time to build a story and alibis.  They weren't out searching with the police and volunteers, they stayed close to the parents throughout.  They didn't search on the night and they didn't help with the searches in the days that followed.  For me, their failure to search for the child speaks volumes.

I very much doubt the group have grown closer over the years, the secret they share must be like having a heavy chain around your neck, a chain that gets heavier and tighter with each passing year.  As a commitment phobe, I can't imagine anything worse than being bound to other people against my will.  The tapas group were not lifelong friends, they did know each other as well as they said, which makes it all the more strange that the parents had 100% faith that their friends weren't involved. 

We all meet hundreds of friends along life's journey, but very few last long enough to become part of our intimate circle.  For me it is usually 3, 4 at a push, that's all I have time for, I like Jerry Seinfeld's practical approach on the issue of friends, each has a place and there are rarely vacancies!  For each of my close friends, I could give a zillion reasons why they could not and would not steal a child.  For friends on the periphery that I hardly know, I couldn't say the same.  Kate was witness to her friends leaving the table during the course of the dinner, how could she not suspect them?  

The foundations for this group's relationship were built on very rocky ground, each is dependent on the other not to expose them as liars.  Each has to stick to the group statement compiled on the back of Maddie's colouring book.  They cannot deviate from the script in any way, and every time they talk about it, the chances are they will.  Gerry and Kate, Kate especially, become very agitated when asked to go over the details of that night.  They recite the well practised and rehearsed set script.  There is no embellishment and nothing else has come to mind in 11 years, no detail as to how they reached that collective decision to leave the kids alone, no detail as to their own behaviour that night and the days that followed.   The nearest to a human reaction, was bizarrely, Gerry's calling from God as he prayed in the local church.  Go forth and find Maddie, and all missing children, the good Lord told him, not in those exact words, I believe it was a tunnel of light.  

I'm not sure Stockholm Syndrome applies to the tapas friends, admittedly it could be because I have little sympathy for them.  Their cavalier attitude towards the duty of care they owed their children, appals me, so too their arrogance.  In fact I think I will wind myself up by having a re-read of their rogatory interviews.  

I also think there are several alpha males within that group, who are vying to be top dog, they are all competitive but perhaps none so much as Gerry, whose tennis tournaments continued while others searched for his daughter.   Gerry takes the crown, but I doubt the others are submissive, they each hold Ace cards they can play at any time.  Gerry is as enslaved as any hostages he has taken, they all are.