My visits to London give me a short, sharp dose of news in the UK – and what a dose over the last few days.

I saw part of a remarkable interview on Newsnight last night (available on the BBC website here – link top right) with Jeremy Paxman interviewing Paul Stinchcombe and Anne Campbell about the ethics of the vote on whether to go to war in Iraq, 5 years ago yesterday. Stinchcombe looked on the edge of tears and was still so wracked by the feeling of having made a wrong decision. Campbell was happy to have voted against the invasion and answered more about the personal consequences. For anyone thinking politicians lack morals, and also for anyone that thinks an issue like that is black and white, it’s well worth watching – and it shows media in a positive light.

Kate McCann gaggedThe complete opposite is the awful ongoing saga about the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. It’s terrible that a kid disappears, but let’s face it: many do. Thank goodness few parents of kids that go ‘missing’ kick up the almighty fuss that the McCanns have done. They have managed to organise a campaign to defend their own innocence in the media, and this campaign effort seems to go on and on – most recently with a £550000 libel settlement with Express newspapers, and front page apologies in those papers.

OK, the case against the papers is pretty categoric as Greenslade argues, but how can the British press manage to get so carried away with this? Why can’t everyone just face it that Madeleine is not going to be found, have done with it, and have some private grief about it? When will her parents just shut up about the whole thing? What other country’s newspapers would get so carried away with such a story? Plus is there ever going to be a chance of a fair and decent investigation if every rebuttal is aired in the press so openly? Gruesome in all regards.


  1. I don’t blame them for suing. I’m just sick of the ongoing saga! There are ways and means of behaving with a bit of decorum and decency and they do not seem to have respected those.

  2. Justin

    I concur. Whatever one thinks of the Mr & Mrs McCann (and my own view is not favourable), you can hardly blame them for suing over these grotesque libels. Whilst I don’t have any children, I’d imagine that if I did, and one went missing, I’d do anything to find them.

  3. So – a newspaper states that they can produce evidence that you were involved in an unlawful death and as a professional person you are not concerned about your character being assassinated? Well done you. We do not have laws in this country prohibiting the press from such articles. Until we do, it is right that the McCanns or anyone else uses the Courts to hold the press to account. I am pleased that a sum of money will also be going to the fund to find the child.

    You lack empathy. Many individuals who have lost children speak of the burden they endure over years. Given that the McCanns had huge public support , friends in the right places and donations, then it is right that they use every available means available to them to find out what happened to their child. I admire them for this.

    British citizens are not used to be named as suspects unless there is sufficient evidence produced. The ineptness of the Portugese police (I saw them smoking at the crime scene etc etc), the fact that they were unable to cope with articulate and intelligent parents who held them to account, the acknowledgement by one of the top police officers in the country that the police rushed to judgement in naming the parents as suspects, means that they are right to defend their character and innocence. They would not have had to do it in this country.

    Shame on you. I believe in the concept of innocent until proved guilty – you obviously do not.

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