Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Because They Can't

Team McCann Breaks its Silence

Clarence holding himself in. Is that a tummy tuck scar?

Clarence Mitchell made nonsense of all those rumours that he’s terminally depressed, sleeps in that awful Hendon suit and is terrified to answer Gerry on his mobile -  by fighting back on behalf of the tragic couple in the Sun. Well that's the idea, anyway.
As readers know, the Bureau has recently been prodding away with a pointed verbal stick to nudge that hopeless, shapeless, bundle of an ex-PR man out of the foetal position and into action. After all, as he told his, ahem,  spellbound,  Australian  audience earlier this year, he’s employed to counter “wild stories” about the McCanns  - and the stories don’t get much wilder than now.
Surely a couple  exonerated by the Portuguese authorities and who just want to get on with their lives have a right to something better than a months-long press campaign that has revived a shamed cop’s "outrageous" theories about the child’s death and, worse, has hinted that their  relationship with the Praia da Luz-based  paedophile Freud needs closer investigation.
To make their situation much worse Scotland Yard, meanwhile, refuses to  offer a crumb of public comfort to the couple or support them against the rumours. Not  a single statement to the effect that “our investigation has revealed there is nothing untoward or suspicious about Kate and Gerry’s relationship with Clement Freud.”
Instead  a Yard spokesperson repeated the “we are not commenting on the Grange investigation” mantra. Asked about the Freud allegations she added:  That would be an ecumenical matter. That would be a matter for Operation Hydrant.”  Boy, those Yard people really do "work closely" with Kate and Gerry, don't they?
So if ever there was a time for some revived reputation management it would be now.  Granted, ageing Team McCann are not exactly innovators in the spin game anymore  and there's a certain shortage of young PR guns running to their support, but the old ways might still work. A few letters from Carter Ruck. A few visits to national editors from Angus McBride. A Gerry McCann “retrieved memory” or two for Mitchell to pass on to the Mail, 2007-style  – along the lines, perhaps, of  “Gerry now remembers ‘feeling uncomfortable’ when he was in Clement Freud’s toilet. There were all those mirrors for a start and he now thinks he heard a heavily breathing Freud listening at the door. From then on he and Kate tried to cut off all communication.”
Or wheel out a Healy: “Kate couldn’t stand Clement Freud,” a relative said yesterday, “she told me his breath stinks and he kept offering Mudalin strawberry vodkas. She wondered whether to tell the police about him but those stupid Portuguese secrecy rules stopped her.”
But no. No, no, no.  Given space in the Sun to re-establish confidence in the pair he and Tracy certainly ransacked the cobwebbed  2007/8 toolbox: untrue headline, misleading sub-head, the ghostly revival of “a source”, the deployment of “Maddie’s gran” Healy -  only it’s an old quote from another story! – an even older chunk of mournful Scouse whine from KM, fill-in comments from the archives and, finally, YES! “the McCann source” himself appears to wheeze out a quote. But in all this time-trip baggage there is something  missing: any trace of  denial or refutation or simple dismissal  of what is being said and implied about them  in the media.
All the stale tricks are there but the agitated and continuing press coverage of the last few months is ignored as though it never  happened. Yet the whole reason why Kate McCann "had to" sue Goncalo Amaral, according to her, was that silence and inaction in the face of his claims would  harm the Holy Search because people would stop believing in their truthfulness(!). So why doesn't that apply  to the equally poisonous stuff in the tabloids now? Isn't silence tacit acceptance, as they say? What we got instead was evasion and a cloying and embarrassing attempt to hitch the pair to Theresa May's skirt bottoms: she's giving them hope, you know.   
Faced with this pitiable exhibition – Theresa May? The one senior politician apart from Boris who simply can’t stand the pair? –  mockery is pointless.  

But then the more you consider it the more obvious the answer becomes to the question, why isn’t he addressing the real stuff?

Because he Can’t.

Yes, he’s a rumple-suited depressive locked into the past, bewildered by the present and dreading the future. But that’s a symptom, not a cause, the result of having made a Faustian pact – as we warned him six years ago – from which he will never be freed. People of Mitchell’s age don’t recover from life blows like that. Ever.
That gathering exhaustion isn’t the prime reason for this pathetic performance, though. Nor is it just that the three of them are trapped together in a netted bag of lies, like one of those slings used to transfer  animals, although that does indeed inhibit their responses.  No, if the McCanns felt able to say anything about the Freud stuff safely we can be quite sure they would have done so, either through the hapless Clarence or his replacement. They cannot. At the moment it’s too dangerous for them to say anything about the case and they know it.