But did he rely on his own judgment alone - that is his own inbuilt prejudices and bias? Or, as PM, did he make full use of all the special services available to him, experts who had perhaps been out to PDL and met with the parents? Maybe the envoy he sent himself, Clarence Mitchell? It's hard to imagine him sending a government official to assist the McCanns without a proviso that he report back to him. Clarence in his day could be very convincing, so what was he telling him?
Then of course, there were the experts, CEOP especially, who seemed to have taken an active role in the Portuguese investigation. Asking the public to send their photographs directly to them, for example. And of course, they played an active role in the events that led to the naming of Robert Murat as the first arguido. They approached the case from an internet angle - ie. seizing the computers of private individuals would lead to an arrest. Not forgetting of course the profile they compiled that matched the nearest single male adult in the vicinity
I can't recall off hand how many British police agencies were involved, but Leicester Police took a different approach to CEOP. The report of Mark Harrison was a game changer - they brought in the dogs. They were advising the PJ to consider the parents as suspects. CEOP were pro abduction, and seeking a pervert. CEOP and Leicester Police must have been offering the PM conflicting advice. Awkward. Blair could of course defend his stance with the McCann supporters' chant of only haters and the bad minded would have suspect the parents, but I am not sure childish naivety is a good look for a former world leader. That however, is all CEOP have as their own excuse, and an even worse look for experienced police officers and criminal psychologists. Awkward, times 2 and then some.
If I recollect correctly, it was around mid June 2007, that the first cracks in the establishment support began to appear. The McCanns were being asked to move out of the resort and find their own accommodation. Bizarre that Warners had been so hospitable for so long, but I suspect they feared a lawsuit. And it was around this time that Clarence seemed to be out of the loop. His 'off the record' remarks to Vanity Fair that they were unable to get a get a meeting with a Minister - 'all they were offered was mid-consular level', signalled the end of the special relationship. No more chummy calls from Blair, Brown etc.
New Labour I'm sure, really wanted the McCann case to go away. Alan Johnson, then Home Secretary, sat on the report from Jim Gamble and probably would have continued to do so, if there hadn't been a change of government, who then also sat on it, until May 2011. Of course, since then we have had Leverson, and we are now familiar with how incestuous the relationship is between our leaders and the 'free press'. We all underwent a high speed GCSE Course in Media Studies, and we all collectively, breathed, 'ah so that's how it all works', as we watched Gerry and Kate in hammy Shakespearian tragedy mode, Rebekah supressing her inner Lady McBeth, Tony Blair who is no longer a real boy, and Rupert Murdoch getting a custard pie in the face. Can you imagine the atmosphere back stage? Who cared about the McCanns, was TB really having a fling, with Rupert's feisty wife? Ooer.
It was of course, all theatre for the masses, an illusion of a free press out of control, causing pain and distress to ordinary people (Gerry and Kate), and the desperate need for privacy laws and more draconian measures to be taken against newspapers and journalists, including imprisonment. Yes, journalists were imprisoned. Take note of the date folks 21.4.18, our descendants will laughing at us like the funny little aliens in the old 'Smash' adverts. Even the divine Rebekah Brookes was threatened with jail. I'm not sure if I like or dislike the charismatic RB, but if I had a daughter I would say 'be like her honey', OK, maybe not so much, but you get you get the gist. There is something inherently wrong with a society that imprisons journalists. And Privacy Laws? Wtf, is someone doing that they need actual legislation to keep it private?
The McCanns it must be said, have been used by others who are even higher up in 'the Lie' than they are. People who have used their tragedy for political and financial gain. On the official front, the government could be said to have been off the hook from June 2007. That when signing of the Lisbon Treaty in December 2007, they were neutral on the Madeleine investigation and the case was now exclusively in the hands of the Portuguese. Does anyone believe that? Or is it more likely, the very diplomatic Gordon Brown had a quiet word in ear of Jose Socrates, maybe something along the lines of, 'listen we totally f*cked up on this, it would cause us huge political embarrassment, could you just bury it and we'll do ...................... for you'. Purely hypothetical of course. I don't think the Portuguese rolled over, completely, but they did shelve case when the time limit for arguido status ran out, 8 months I believe.
It is all hypothetical of course. Logistically, it just wasn't possible for the PJ to pursue the case vigorously. The main witnesses had left the country, and all were lawyered up. It was just another one of those cases that frustrate detectives the world over. Left to gather dust unless something significant comes along. Advances in science and technology, a witness changing their story, or new evidence. I'm going with new evidence, because the Portuguese were adamant they would not re-open their files without it.
As Operation Grange was launched, with great fanfare, the Portuguese got their own files down from the shelf. Coincidence? Unlikely, but who opened their files first? British or Portuguese? Arguably, Gerry and Kate's biggest mistake was campaigning for a Review. But it coincided with the Madeleine Fund running low. It was all about the fund raising of course, and demonstrating how determined they were never to give up. They were aiming for 100,000 signatures on their Petition, an unrealistic target, but enough to cause a news flurry. I have always thought this was one of those 'be careful what you wish for, you just might get it' moments.
I am not sure if I am being unfair about the MCanns' acting abilities, they went into full book tour mode and pretended to be happy about David Cameron's benevolent decision. They didn't seem in the least perturbed by it, but they weren't celebrating their victory, the Review they were asking for. Beyond common courtesy, there isn't anything to suggest this tory government would invest money and their reputations on an embarrassing international incident that had nothing to do with them. Why would they? When Blair, Brown, Alan Johnson et al, were all clearly in the frame for interfering in another country's criminal investigation. Sadly, it is yet another revelation as to how seedy Blair and his inner circle had become. If they could sex up a student's thesis to make a case to go to war, the disappearance of one small missing child should never have been a problem. Unfortunately for them, one of those small, niggly problems that always have the potential to explode into a major news story, without a tight lid kept on it. Of sorts. Given human nature however, my money is on them 'thinking about it tomorrow', a la Scarlett O'Hara. Tony Blair already had his sights set on bringing peace to the Middle East, what did he care. Little Madeleine, I would imagine, is way down on the list of Blair's dodgy dealings and matters that cry out for public Inquiries.
Theresa May can fund Operation Grange until it reaches a result, safe in the knowledge that her party played no part in any obstruction of justice. There is not very much that I like about old British conservatives, apart from their 'wat ho, just not cricket old chap' sense of noble justice. An innate sense of fairness that formed the basic ideology of the Empire. Something the socialists, in the form Blair, Brown, New Labour, ran roughshod over with their tacky attempts to jump on the popular Madeleine bandwagon. Cash in first, explain later, or not at all.
Madeleine was not just a missing child, she was multimillion pound baby, Her sweet angelic face brought funding to police agencies, charities, purveyors of crisis management companies and makers of cctv cameras. Not since the big bad wolf and the bogey man, had there been a greater danger to small children tucked up safely in their beds. Any explanation other than an abduction, would put an end to all the thriving new industries that sprung up out of Madeleine's disappearance. And an end to New Labour's hopes for compulsory ID cards, a national DNA database and stricter border controls.
I can't see this case ending in any other than a sea of red faces, at the very least. Imagine Cherie Blair phoning Karen Matthews and telling her to hang on in there. When you apply the special treatment of Gerry and Kate to any other case you can see how totally inappropriate it was. The Blairs and the Browns can blame their advisors and their own compassion. The compassion will probably work for all those interviewers and breakfast TV presenters who gave them such an easy time. But for the British police and the British secret services, it is beyond embarrassing. I can't help but think there may be grudges in play, a determination to bring the real culprits to justice. That is far more likely and reflective of human nature than a 7 year quest to hide the truth.