There is one constant at the heart of the McCann affair: the pathological hate-filled personalities of Kate and Gerry McCann. Since May 3 2007 the hate has flowed outwards from the pair like the Ebola virus – almost literally so, as in the case of the spittle-flecked rage of Gerry McCann on the steps of the Lisbon court. It swells and sprays the pus of hatred on everybody within range.
It has been there in all its violence since the beginning: the very first cries from the supposedly stricken couple were not of grief, nor of appeals for help to the heavens or to fellow human beings, but of extreme violence and hatred. The woman hater smashing her arms into the hotel walls bellowing “we let her down!” – self-hatred? – the man lying on his back in paroxysms of foaming rage at his imaginary “paedophile bastards”. Hate is what they do. Hate is what they are. Hate is what they have brought us.
The First Enemies
Within hours their spleen was turned onto the police who’d come to their aid – “Tweedledum and Tweedledee” as the female hater contemptuously calls them to this day. With each phone call the targeting and abuse increased, all in full knowledge that their relatives were feeding this stuff directly to the media.
The media alerts provided by the family and their friends led to a wave, a tsunami, of goodwill and sympathy for them in the hours and days following the disappearance – justified or otherwise. That this response, like so many media-amplified public responses, had a disturbing, mass-hysterical edge to it, makes no difference – the wave was an uplifting one, of support, solidarity and a desire to help. If ever human goodness and human goodwill could support apparent victims of a tragedy it was now.
And what did the couple do with this freely offered support and sympathy? At once they perverted it and soiled it, just as they had soiled the Portuguese attempts to help them and their daughter: they took the gift and instead of accepting it with grace and humility they spat on the offering hand by using it for their own purposes, as has been so often described by Woolfall and the couple themselves. And part of that ruthless use of public goodwill was the invention of the “McCann Critics”, who didn’t exist and whom they have since used as a screen, a target and a cover.
The First Trolls
“McCann Critics” were invented by the McCann family at lunchtime on May 4 before a word of criticism had been offered. Yet that lunchtime Michael Wright was making his extraordinary statement to the London Evening Standard that "There has been some negative spin put on this, with people criticising them for leaving the kids and going on the tear.”
Wright added, “But it's nonsense, they were close by and were eating within sight of where the children were and checking on them. Other members of the group were checking on her as well. No one was rip-roaring drunk.”
With this one act the McCann family further sullied the gift they had been offered by introducing the whole realm of criticism and disagreement about their conduct. If you consult McCann Files, the accepted authority on early media reporting of the case, you will see that there is not a single report of “criticism” of the McCanns before the Wright cutting itself. None of us know the motives behind this calculated action. In this, as in so many other aspects of the McCann affair, had the family kept their silence then the course of events could have been very different, for Wright’s intervention guaranteed that media and readers would want to follow up his apparent revelations. They wouldn’t have been human if they hadn’t asked themselves what’s all this about? It’s all there, isn’t it? People criticising them; the question of drink; leaving the kids; checking; close by. All coming not from critics but from Gerry McCann. It was as if they wanted the enemies and brought them into life.
Without Hate They Are Nothing
Nothing has changed since May 3/4: the McCanns have gone on inventing enemies ever since and in doing so have guaranteed reactions in return. “Tweedledum and Tweedledee…annoying Mrs Fenn…the “dirty” Portimao police headquarters with its uncaring officers, the “f****** tossers” who dared to question them, poor Amaral himself, a policeman turned by McCann hate-magic into a persecutor who deserves to suffer… the UK journalists who must “pay” for their “wicked” 2007 reporting with their jobs in future, the entire Portuguese police force who were “mocked” by their own prosecutors and who deserved to be sued for wrongful arrest…the list of enemies grows greater with every year.
Because the pair thrive on enmity, they are in thrall to it. Watch their dozens, hundreds, of interviews and public appearances and look into their eyes: hers are now dead, like those of a flabby cod on a marble slab; his flicker like those of a stressed and watchful lizard; both are straight out of a horror film. Only one thing ever brings their eyes to a semblance of life as the rest of us know it – hatred. Gerry McCann sits at Leveson like a rusty robot until he is allowed to turn to the subject of revenge – then his eyes glow bright, full and animated, his whole body livens up as he makes his calls for condign punishment of the journalists who dared to accuse him until Leveson himself has to check him like some elderly male nurse, muttering soothingly that unfortunately English law doesn’t permit the punishments that this vengeance-filled hater wants imposed.
Everyone who has read Madeleine knows that the narrative only comes to life when the writer hates. Her supposed memories of her daughter are uneasy, perfunctory, trotted out via images, all as moving as a shopping list. Her expressions of feeling for the rest of the group – when they can be recognized at all amid the floodlit glare of her own feelings for herself – utterly fail to convince. Her thousands upon thousands of words describing her “work” for missing children are a painful drone worthy of a local councillor describing the latest plumbing installations. But whenever someone she can full-bloodedly hate enters the narrative then she is totally convincing and the prose takes flight, as in her description of the planning of the ambush on Amaral when it drips with excitement. Hate liberates her writing: it’s like a pack of dogs being unleashed.
So it is in her public appearances – watch the dead-fish eyes start to sparkle when she stands in front of the assembled media in Portugal and, once again, gives vent to the vile, unquenchable hatred she feels for Goncalo Amaral. Hatred is this supposedly Catholic couple’s fuel, the thing that, above all else, keeps them going.
Both of them talk glibly of the “responsibility” that others – everybody in the world within their reach – have to exercise when daring to discuss them in case they or other members of their clan are “hurt”. Other people, it now seems, can die as part of the effort to prevent them being “hurt”. Not once have they ever addressed their own responsibility. Those with the public eye upon them, those whom the media have made rich and powerful, whether premier league footballers, BBC deejays or politicians are expected to moderate their behaviour, not wield their potential power - footballers and deejays by not exploiting every fifteen year old who might gratify them sexually, politicians by not using the amplifier of media fame to arouse hatred or fear.
Have you ever heard the couple make an appeal for moderation? Ask people not to demonize their “enemies”? Get rags like the Mirror to soften its war on the Portuguese? No, instead they spread and encourage the hate virus in their demented followers. To this day these supposed victims organize Facebook sites with a clear agenda of hatred and retaliation, brief journalists against their latest enemies, pay lawyers to ambush them and use their repulsive “spokesman” to plant stories and call, loudly, for those who don’t like them to be “held to account”.
They remind us daily that there is “no evidence that Madeleine has come to harm”. Well good for her but others have, haven’t they? Amaral and Brenda Leyland: one ruined, one dead. Compared with those two victims of their pathological hatred the McCanns are doing pretty well, aren’t they?