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Is Matthew Parris right?

Eddie Mair | 17:22 UK time, Wednesday, 16 May 2007

Thursday update: here is Matthew's interview.

Comments

  1. At 05:20 PM on 16 May 2007, James wrote:

    I do agree, the politicians are jumping on the emotional bandwagon, sniffing a promotional opportunity. This does the search for the child no good and distracts from the real objective.

  2. At 05:20 PM on 16 May 2007, Adrian Rayson wrote:

    Yes, Matthew Parris IS right...

    Adrian Rayson

  3. At 05:21 PM on 16 May 2007, ben lyle wrote:

    I totally agree with Matthew Parris' comments about the reaction to Madeleine McCann's disappearance.
    The one taget he misses is the broadcasters, including the BBC. Why does the disappearance of one girl merit round the clock coverage (including an outside broadcast from news at ten)?
    How many people disappear in this country each day? Does it make a difference that Madeleine is a little blond girl?

  4. At 05:22 PM on 16 May 2007, Paul Whitfield wrote:

    Thank heavens for Matthew Parris!

  5. At 05:22 PM on 16 May 2007, Jocelyn Chatterton wrote:

    I most definitely agree with Matthew Parris - this family's tragedy is being turned into a Westminster circus.

  6. At 05:23 PM on 16 May 2007, D.Joy Knight wrote:

    Thank God for Matthew Paris and his common sense remarks. This sycophantic age we live in is repulsive. Bring back dignity and decency!

  7. At 05:23 PM on 16 May 2007, Jon Edwards wrote:

    Well said Matthew Parris. What a nauseating spectacle of sentimental emotion. It's a matter for the constituency MP to support the family.

  8. At 05:24 PM on 16 May 2007, Lamorna Taylor wrote:

    I wholeheartedly agree with Matthew Parris. What a relief that someone is prepared to say this.

  9. At 05:24 PM on 16 May 2007, Sandy Cullen wrote:

    Matthew Parris is, as ever, spot on. This has become a disagreeable media-fest at which tabloids, broadsheets and broadcast news are feeding and has the smack of Diana about it. Why MP's wearing yellow ribbons should be thought of as a positive move in the search for Madeleine is beyond me.

  10. At 05:25 PM on 16 May 2007, John Sharp wrote:

    Thank goodness I am not afflicted by the extreme cynicism which Matthew Parris and some others of his ilk are burdened with.

  11. At 05:26 PM on 16 May 2007, linda pennell wrote:

    Absolutley
    I cannot see what possible purpose is served by politicians taking this line,any more than Huw Edwards and every other news broadcaster setting up camp in Portugal.
    I am,like evryonen else, deeply distressed by this dreadful event, but the sound of bandwagons rolling on is deafening. and of course at some point,someone will have to decide whan to bring Huw Edwards home...and does that mark the end of all hope?

  12. At 05:26 PM on 16 May 2007, anne peters wrote:

    Yes I think Matthew Parris is right. It just seems to me to be getting on a band wagon and vote catching.
    What about Alan Johnson - I haven't heard an outpouring from any politician about his plight!

  13. At 05:26 PM on 16 May 2007, Elizabeth McLoughlin wrote:

    Yes I agree absolutely with Matthew Parris. Of course we sympathise with the family - I myself had sleepless nights in the first days after Madeleine's disappearance - but Matthew's point was a wider one. I actually despise politicians now and I think Blair is to blame for this. He does what Matthew accused MP's of doing and he does it par excellence.

    While on the blog I want to say I think Harry should have gone to Iraq. I don't want any of our soldiers to be there - nor in Afghanistan - but if they have to go so should he. He should resign his Commission immediately - more time to spend in nightclubs!

  14. At 05:27 PM on 16 May 2007, Hazel wrote:

    Yes I agree with Matthew Parris and I admire him for having the courage to say what he did, because it will probably make him unpopular.

  15. At 05:28 PM on 16 May 2007, Simon Lee wrote:

    Thank God that Matthew Parris has been able to voice the views, I'm sure that so many of us hold, about the politicians jumping on the emotional bandwagon relating to the sad case of little Madeleine.

  16. At 05:28 PM on 16 May 2007, John Richardson wrote:

    I might not go as far as to say the phenomenon Matthew Parris disparages is "disgusting" - but I do find the politicisation of grief - its nationalisation one might say - deeply disturbing.

    I'm glad Matthew Parris had the courage to make those remarks; there will undoubtedly be a backlash. I think it's more or less the point Boris Johnson was trying to make over the reaction of Liverpool to the Ken Bigley tragedy - but Johnson made it in too knock about a way.

    Parris has a reputation as a more considered and serious commentator, and made his point more eloquently. I'm glad he did. And that doesn't mean that I (and presumably Parris) have not tried to imagine what the McCann family are going through, nor fervently hope for their daughter's safe return.

    John Richardson, Cambridge

  17. At 05:28 PM on 16 May 2007, Michael Needleman wrote:

    Mathew Parris is spot on. It's about time someone told the uncomfortable truth about the post-Diana grief/horror/outrage tourism bandwagon that "public figures" feel obliged to leap on. It's another awful Blair legacy - "the people's ... "

  18. At 05:28 PM on 16 May 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    Probably. But then he was one of them himself, wasn't he?

    Perhaps he should recognise that there will be those amongst his ex colleagues who will be 'genuine' in their concerns, and those who aren't, it isn't a cut and dried situation. And - hey! - what's wrong with MPs wanting to be like ordinary people, to connect with ordinary people? Surely that's what they need to do?

  19. At 05:29 PM on 16 May 2007, greg waggett wrote:

    of course he is right. everybody trying to be a goodie-goodie. sentimental hogwash.

  20. At 05:29 PM on 16 May 2007, D.Joy Knight wrote:

    Thank God for Matthew Paris and his common sense remarks. This sycophantic age we live in is repulsive. Bring back dignity and decency!

  21. At 05:29 PM on 16 May 2007, Ceredig wrote:

    The voice of sanity, at last the voice of sanity. Please repeat on every possible occasion.

  22. At 05:29 PM on 16 May 2007, Bill Swanson wrote:

    Yes, Matthew Parris is absolutely right. I would use the word 'repellent'. It is quite nauseating the way politicians jump in on tragic events which do not concern them.

    What on earth does the ridiculous Gordon Brown think he can do about Madeleine McCann anyway?

  23. At 05:29 PM on 16 May 2007, Mark Beachill wrote:

    He is right but too cynical. What sort of emptyness of feeling and purpose do we have when we have to crowd around other people's misery to be able to feel and belong to something ourselves? Princess Di is still with us in the shape of this little girl.

  24. At 05:30 PM on 16 May 2007, Jane Barnett wrote:

    I totally agree with and endorse what Matthew Parris said. Lip service, weasel words, etc come to mind. No one can doubt the horrendous anguish the McCann family are going through but are the "statements" of sympathy/support as voiced today in the Houses of Parliament really any help? Or am I just an old cynic??

  25. At 05:30 PM on 16 May 2007, Sandra Mackness wrote:

    Matthew Parris can always be relied upon to cut through the gloop and extract the truth. Many people are devastated and worried about Maddie's disappearance. We do not need MP's to parade their views. The media has created enough of a circus as it is. Thank goodness for BBC Radio 4.

  26. At 05:30 PM on 16 May 2007, Peter Cogley wrote:

    Parris has a point, but he was wrong to use Madeleine's situation to make his point.

  27. At 05:31 PM on 16 May 2007, Pam Tuthill wrote:

    Yes, yes, yes!!!

    The other thing he did not mention is the other parents who have lost children - Remember the little boy in Greece 16/17 years ago - There was not all this fuss made then, yet his mother still lives in te hope of seeing her child again

    It is reassuring for the McCanns now - but it must be SO hurtful for all those other parents whose missing children are/were just as precious, but for whom no-one bothered to make all this fuss.

    BUT - if (God forbid) this child never turns up - are we going to have this level of false emotion for the rest of our lives?

    One final thought if this little girl is found, as so many have been, to be no longer alive, will it make it any easier for the parents to have to cope with this same level of high eotion?

    I agree totally with every word Matthew Parris uttered

  28. At 05:31 PM on 16 May 2007, S Rhodes wrote:

    I agree. I think he has proved himself completely untrustworthy.

  29. At 05:31 PM on 16 May 2007, Andrew Seward wrote:

    Of course Matthew Paris is right, and he is right to express his views in the way he did.
    If only more politicians and media folk were this honest

  30. At 05:32 PM on 16 May 2007, jim Shaw wrote:

    Yes Mathew Parris is right. This is just facist 'Dianaism', where everyone has to be 'seen' to follow what the media says.
    My brother was killed on 7 July 2005 by a drunken car thief. That didn't 'count'. The London bombing was an an attack against society according to Tessa Jowell so we had to have a two-minute silence on the anniversary. What about drunken car thieves? Oh yes, she extended drinking hours so they could get drunker!

  31. At 05:32 PM on 16 May 2007, Bill wrote:

    Yes I agree with M Paris I feel deeply sorry for the family and esp. the little girl and the dreadful experience she may be going through or has gone through. There are hundreds of children sold and abused throughout the world not to mention the many killed in Iraq. People now have collective media driven grief grow up and be adult about it all use these moments to focus on trying to put things right thoughout the world.

  32. At 05:32 PM on 16 May 2007, peter cleall wrote:

    How refreshing to hear Matthew Parriss speaking so clearly and frankly about the motives and attitudes of our esteemed MPs. I've often admired his forthrightness in the past and his lucidity on the matter of poor Madeleine McCann was eye-opening. The slavering media pack stationed en masse in The Algarve dragging the reputation of an as-yet uncharged man through the mud has been sickening to witness.

  33. At 05:32 PM on 16 May 2007, Dawn Mason wrote:

    I totally agree with Matthew Parris, and what he said echoes a discussion at my place of work earlier today. The whole parading of public sympathy is somehow repellant. Think of the generation who lived through the second world war, and the dignity and fortitude they displayed. Not liking mawkishishness does not mean the parents do not have my deepest sympathy, as do all those parents who have lost children in tragic circumstances, be it accident, illness or war.
    Since the whole point of this comment is that I do not wish to publicise my sympathy, please do not use my name if you quote from this.

  34. At 05:32 PM on 16 May 2007, Maureen Hallahan wrote:

    Matthew Parris is absolutely spot on with his comments. The agony of the parents is not in question but it has nothing whatsoever to do with the day to day life of politicians.

    Thanks for Matthew Paris's sane and honest response.

  35. At 05:33 PM on 16 May 2007, David Bartholomew wrote:

    I am delighted that Mr Parris has had the courage to talk in the manner that he has. The McCann's tragedy should not be front page news. Neither should this tragedy be used by politicians to put themselves in the limelight, or to silence others. I have no idea how many children are missing in the UK at the moment - this unseemly press scrum does neither the McCanns nor other who are suffering in a similar manner any honour.

  36. At 05:33 PM on 16 May 2007, Minotaur wrote:

    I think Matthew Parris was absolutely right.

    This was a corny PR exercise by MP.s and the chance to jump on the bandwagon that is this dreadful saga of this missing child.

    What possible difference can MPs make to the resolution of this matter, or Gordon Brown trying to be "friendly"

    Thank goodness someone had the nerve to say what everyone else is feeling about MPs and their dreadful attempts to get media coverage out of this sad affair.

  37. At 05:33 PM on 16 May 2007, Bill Swanson wrote:

    Yes, Matthew Parris is absolutely right. I would use the word 'repellent'. It is quite nauseating the way politicians jump in on tragic events which do not concern them.

    What on earth does the ridiculous Gordon Brown think he can do about Madeleine McCann anyway?

  38. At 05:33 PM on 16 May 2007, L Scott wrote:

    At last a voice of reason. It's a relief to hear opinions I heartily agree with.

  39. At 05:33 PM on 16 May 2007, Andrew Tracey wrote:

    He is right up to a point. The "bleeding heart" mentality is excessive - no one needs this sort of public and premature (one hopes) grieving. The other issue is the excessive publicity - of course one feels for the parents and the child, but if she had been killed in a road accident no one would have ever heard about it. We are utterly hypocritical in the way we value lives and events.

  40. At 05:33 PM on 16 May 2007, A Byck wrote:

    Thank goodness for Matthew Paris!

    At last someone is talking sense amid the media's hysterical treatment of this story. The voyeuristic and obsessive nature of the coverage to date has been really disturbing.

    And how can politicians wearing yellow ribbons and grabbing photo ops with her understandably desperate family possibly help the hunt for this poor girl? I rather suspect the politicians do these things for their own gain; they recognise a band wagon when they see one.

  41. At 05:33 PM on 16 May 2007, Ian Wilson wrote:

    Matthew Paris is right - there is something tawdry about the MP's response but it is not just them - it's the whole circus that has built up around the Madeleine investigation. What about the media's role in all this? Are any news channels or newspapers throwing money around buying up exclusives? Are reporters seeking to outdo each other for that all important credit? Everybody of course ready to move on when the 'public interest' is lost. It's all another side, an extension, of the celebrity culture we have.

  42. At 05:34 PM on 16 May 2007, Maureen Hallahan wrote:

    Matthew Parris is absolutely spot on with his comments. The agony of the parents is not in question but it has nothing whatsoever to do with the day to day life of politicians.

    Thanks for Matthew Paris's sane and honest response.

  43. At 05:34 PM on 16 May 2007, michael snee wrote:

    Of course Matthew Paris right. It is essentially indecent to somehow feel we can join in this tragedy...and tragic it is for this family...but the truth is we can do very little to help. There a lots of other tragedies affecting children throughout the world where we can make a small but significant difference from the orphans in Iraq and Sudan to the thousands of children who die every year from lack of the most basic of ameneties to the children in our own country suffering from the effects of poverty.
    and yes I have 4 children and if one of them went missing it would be the worst thing for me but not for the rest of society

  44. At 05:34 PM on 16 May 2007, D R Lewis wrote:

    Thank you Matthew Parris for saying what many of us have been feeling for some time but have not had the courage to say. There is too much hypocracy in what happens here. Why can't they do these things quietly, not jump on a bandwagon.

  45. At 05:35 PM on 16 May 2007, trevor cooper wrote:

    Finally, someone speaks with a sense of proportion and common sense. Of course the events in Portugal are tragic, but the whole thing has become a circus. Is it really necessary for this item to be on the news every day and evry bulletin?
    What about fundamental questions relationg to responsibility. Should the parents be reported to social services
    Epping Essex

  46. At 05:35 PM on 16 May 2007, David Westwood wrote:

    Well said Matthew Parry. As a father of three I readily appreciate it must be a terrible situation for the family and their daughter. It is a crime. But what about the foul deeds meated out to thousands of children elsewhere in the world who have no recourse to justice at all. How much support and coverage do they receive? Perspective please when dealing with such cases. Such a case does of course, make for easy and sensational media coverage.

  47. At 05:36 PM on 16 May 2007, James Bristol wrote:

    At last, how refreshing! someone with a genuine, forthright and honest opinion about this very tragic, but not uncommon case. Matthew hit the nail on the head. This is a personal tragedy for the family concerned, but is not of national consequence. I nearly puked when I heard the new "cuddly" Brown come out with this utter guff. Nowadays, the only currency which all politicians utilise (except for a few such as tony Benn, Frank Fields, Tony Banks and Dennis Skinner who still hold their ideals and morals intact - and I say this as a confrimed right wing conservative) is popularist Sycophantism designed to gain power for themselves at any cost. I also think the media have blown this out of all proportion and must hold some of the blame. Matthew Paris should think of re-entering politics is he can find a strong stomach to cope!

  48. At 05:36 PM on 16 May 2007, Fiona Johnstone wrote:

    I only caught the end of the piece by Mr Parris but was surprised by his comments. I thought that the McCann family had pursued meetings with various members of the Government and not the other way round. To accuse Ministers of exploiting their situation for their own good seems to me absurd.

  49. At 05:36 PM on 16 May 2007, Gossipmistress wrote:

    I have great sympathy for Madeleine's parents & family, and admire the way in which they are keeping her profile high in the news worldwide to leave no stone unturned to try and find their daughter.

    However, I have some sympathy with Matthew Parris' view in worrying that the politicians are getting involved for some of the wrong reasons.

  50. At 05:36 PM on 16 May 2007, Ian McKeand wrote:

    Good for Matthew Parris pointing out the cynical jumping on the band wagon by many MPs.

    And what a disgusting homophobic comment from one of your bloggers!

  51. At 05:36 PM on 16 May 2007, Bedd Gelert wrote:

    Paul, you are talking nonsense. Mr Parris is bang on the money here. The MPs are not doing anything to help, but think they look in tune with public opinion by wearing a bloody yellow ribbon.

    This is facile nonsense. Carolyn Quinn [i think] read out on email on the Today programme this week which summed it up. I can't recall it verbatim, but the gist was..

    'Nobody wishes any child to come to harm, but the thought that this is 'uniting the nation' is nonsense'.

    Absolutely right - and it is about time that a sense of perspective was brought back to this issue. The reporting from Portugal has clearly shown us that we have learned nothing from the Ipswich murders, where an innocent man had his reputation trashed, for no good reason.

    And watching the 'news conference' about the launching of the 'save madeleine' fund clearly showed that they have no plans for how to find her and no idea what the money will be spent on.

  52. At 05:36 PM on 16 May 2007, S Rhodes wrote:

    I agree. I think he has proved himself completely untrustworthy.

  53. At 05:37 PM on 16 May 2007, Jane Barnett wrote:

    I totally agree with Matthew Parris. Lip service, weasel words come to mind, No one can possibly doubt the horrendous anguish the McCann family are going through so do these "statements" of support from theMembers of Parliament really help? I don't think so - but perhaps I'm just an old cynic.
    Jane Barnett

  54. At 05:38 PM on 16 May 2007, Lizzie wrote:

    Matthew Parris is not cynical he's right, and it has nothing to do with his ilk (whatever that may be).

    I'm not a homosexual and I agree with him. Do you have to be a parent to feel compassion?


  55. At 05:38 PM on 16 May 2007, Pam Wilkinson wrote:

    Yes, I agree. As the grandmother of a 3 year old I feel terribly for this family but I also feel terribly for other families whose children have gone missing, or who have have lost children to drunken drivers, cancer, vicious dogs, or anything else. The time given to this case on national news media in the last few days is absurd, and an insult to other children whose death or disappearance did not have the same media appeal.

  56. At 05:38 PM on 16 May 2007, Ian Wilson wrote:

    Matthew Parris is right there is something tawdry about the MP's response but it's not just them. What about the media's role in cultivating and feeding the emotional outpouring? Are news channels throwing money around buying up exclusives? Are journalists seeking to outdo each other for their all important credit? All ready to move on when the 'public interest' is lost? You bet!

  57. At 05:38 PM on 16 May 2007, Edward T Green wrote:

    I absolutely agree with Mathew Parris and could not express my unease at this American style public expression of smaltz at the disappearance of the little girl in Portugal. I also agree the naming our dead soldiers each week in the Commons is total hyprocrasy - do they relly think we believe the politicians could give a damn?

  58. At 05:39 PM on 16 May 2007, Lester May wrote:

    Matthew Parris is right on the button with this. It sounds horrible to say but where does one draw the line? Would it have been appropriate, exactly 25 years ago, for the Prime Minister to read out the names of twenty sailors killed in action in one fell swoop? In 1941, the loss of the battleship HMS Barham took the lives of 841 men - should those names all have been read out at PMQ? No, of course not. The same would be true were, God forbid, a large number of children killed in an accident - read out all their names? For every one who dies, however terrible, there are others the same day who die and of whom we never hear. The same with the missing. Politicians are just jumping on a bandwagon, led my media headlines, and it does no good in the long run. They should get on with the business of running the country and dealing with the problems, where they can, that led to the various situations.

  59. At 05:39 PM on 16 May 2007, Ginnie Clotworthy wrote:

    At last someone is prepared to say what so many of us are thinking - hoorah for Matthew Parris.

  60. At 05:39 PM on 16 May 2007, Clive Layton wrote:

    Brilliant, Matthew! Congratulations for sticking your head above the parapet. No doubt half the country will try to blow it off! It seems to me that this country has been in a decline into 'Trivial Pursuits Land' throughout the last 10 years, since the excessive hysterical public outpouring of grief following the death of Princess Diana - a trend which our revered Prime Minister (not) has encouraged and nurtured. William Hague should have known better than to climb onboard the latest emotional tear-jerker, sad though that event undoubtedly is.

  61. At 05:39 PM on 16 May 2007, michael Murphy wrote:

    Three cheers for Mathew Parris.

    Michael Murphy

  62. At 05:40 PM on 16 May 2007, Jane Barnett wrote:

    I totally agree with Matthew Parris. Lip service, weasel words come to mind. No one can doubt the horrendous anguish that the McCann family are going through but do statements of sympathy and support from Members of Parliament really help? I can understand their MP speaking but the others? Or I I just an ols cynic......
    Jane Barnett

  63. At 05:40 PM on 16 May 2007, Jason wrote:

    Matthew Parris touches on an important subject - why dismiss it as mere cynicism or, more childlike as the rants of a 'homosexual' (I nearly giggled)? The case of this missing girl is typical of our voyeristic tendencies - we want every single detail, we want to talk in public of our grief and worry (as if we know the person). How much information coming out of the media has actually aided our understanding of this tragic case?

    Perhaps worst of all, we prioritise certain missing children over others: Off the top of their heads, can any contributor to this blog name 10 missing children from this year alone? I bet not. Neither can I, but I just cannot understand how being a parent, not being a parent, or being an MP gives anyone a greater entitlement to this 'public grief'.

  64. At 05:40 PM on 16 May 2007, Richard Sloan wrote:

    I agree with Mathew Parriss. I feel guity that I think the media and MPs have gone completely over the top with this tragic situation. I have started receiving chain emails about this now which I immediately delete, feeling guilty as i do so.

  65. At 05:40 PM on 16 May 2007, Adam Samuel wrote:

    Does Paul Milligan's assertion that Matthew Paris has no idea about how parents feel about lost children should also apply to married but childless couples, single and childless men and women and other children? Why is it so often assumed that one has to have experienced parenthood to understand the grief of losing a child? "Only a homosexual" is in no way an exclusive description of those without children and it is also wrong to asume one has to have children to understand those that do!

  66. At 05:41 PM on 16 May 2007, mervyn scamell wrote:

    I agree 100% with every word that Matthew Paris has just uttered. I find the media's infatuation with this story from Portugal quite nauseating and self serving. The BBC seems literally to have taken leave of its senses in devoting a quite disproportionate amount of time to this story, not to mention expense. I cannot help recalling Billy Wilder's film The Ace In The Hole, albeit that the story is running on a different trajectory, but the morbid interest being perpetuated by the media amounts to the same thing in the end.

  67. At 05:42 PM on 16 May 2007, Alison Hover wrote:

    Matthew Parris is exactly right. Everyone can empathise with this and similar situations but the overwhelming trend for such overt mawkish sentimentimentality is totally unwarranted. It's a bandwaggon that needs to be halted in its tracks. Congratulations to Matthew Parris for having the courage to say publicly what many of us think privately.

  68. At 05:42 PM on 16 May 2007, Guy Reynolds wrote:

    As the father of child of a similar age to Madeline, I find my self agreeing with Matthew Parriss mainly because I find it very difficult to express support for her parents. This come from my view that they are culpable in her abduction as the abductors, due to the way they left her locked alone with her siblings in an apartment. Something I as a parent would and could never do.

  69. At 05:42 PM on 16 May 2007, Tony Collins wrote:

    I don't often agree with Matthew Parris, but today he has delivered the most accurate piece of broadcast media in recent memory.

    If this child had been left unattended by a council-estate single parent whilst they enjoyed a night out on holiday, the tabloids would be feasting on their selfishness and lack of responsibility whilst New Labour would doubtless seek to impose a parenting order or even take the other kids into care.

    Sickening and a shocking indictment of the way our opinion-formers treat us.

  70. At 05:43 PM on 16 May 2007, Markham wrote:

    Good for Mr Parris. From the comments of most of the other posters we appear to be in agreement that politicians are so out of touch they think climbing on the latest media bandwagon makes them look "good". Would that the PM and the leaders of the other Opposition parties would stop their "regrets" at the deaths of British armed forces or other disaters at PMQ's. Much better if they visited the injured from time to time.

  71. At 05:43 PM on 16 May 2007, Maureen Hallahan wrote:

    Matthew Parris is absolutely spot on with his comments. The agony of the parents is not in question but it has nothing whatsoever to do with the day to day life of politicians.

    Thanks for Matthew Parris's sane and honest response.

  72. At 05:43 PM on 16 May 2007, jonnie wrote:

    Yes - absolutely spot on

  73. At 05:43 PM on 16 May 2007, Fearless Fred wrote:

    I do thing Matthew Parris is basically right about this. This case has been picked up by most of the media and made into more than it deserves. The Portugese police aren't doing things the way certain parts of the press wish (not telling them everything that happens as it happens) so they are attacked. The man declared as a Formal Suspect is being set up as a villain in the popular press, even though the police do not have enough evidence to charge him for anything. It's time that British media took a step back...

  74. At 05:43 PM on 16 May 2007, Bess wrote:

    Finally someone has said words of wisdom in this media manipulation of the whole British society. All this attention will not help to bring the poor child back and at the end their parents will be disappointed while the owners of the TV channels and papers will rub their hands and count their money. And now politicians are trying to do the same thing hoping to catch some more votes.
    What a hypocrisy when many of them are responsible for the present moral and ethic decay of the British society.

  75. At 05:44 PM on 16 May 2007, barrie singleton wrote:

    Matthew Parris is touching the edge of the awfulness of PARTY politics.
    We, the voters, do not choose these terrible, truncated individuals; they are pre-selected for that very truncatedness by the party machines – then and only then may WE choose one to vote for. I stood for election in Newbury 2005 under the banner “Spoil Party Games”. Have you noticed when these ciphers go walk-about, their entourage habitually carries balloons? QED Those who will sign up to this undemocratic charade will never practice democracy (government ULTIMATELY by the people) and will always wear whatever crass display item is current.

  76. At 05:44 PM on 16 May 2007, Rosemary Brown wrote:

    Matthew Parris' rather startling generalisation could be viewed as more than a little bit offensive by those MPs (of whom I feel sure Gordon Brown is one) who genuinely wish to show support for the family of Madeleine McCann. Healthy cynicism has its place, but that place is not here.

  77. At 05:44 PM on 16 May 2007, Martyn Johnson wrote:

    Matthew Parris is absolutely right. Those of your corespondents who accuse him of cynicism either didn't listen to what he said or don't know the meaning of the word. You don't have to publicly "emote" about events with which you have no connection, other than a general and heartfelt sympathy. The rot started with Diana's funeral and the Blair/Campbell orchestrated circus. The infantilisation of publicly expressed emotion is not a pretty sight. Sentiment should not be confused with sentimentality.

  78. At 05:45 PM on 16 May 2007, Julia Scott wrote:

    Though I do agree with Matthew Parris you cannot blame the family for wanting any support possible; they are in an impossible and agonising situation and the only way to any kind of resolution is for publicity. The awful reality is that the events are happening far from home and there is little to be gained by politicians wearing ribbons which I think is pretty crass and is playing to popular tabloid sentiments. If politicians were so troubled there are plenty of things they could do to improve the lives of children that suffer in this country every day.

  79. At 05:45 PM on 16 May 2007, Bob Harris wrote:

    Mathew Parris is right in raising the sickening issue of our MPs once again jumping on a bandwagon of family tragedy. Tony Blair started this vote-grovelling trend with "the people's princess". What is perhaps most surprising and disappointing is Gordon Brown taking the first opportunity to join the herd. So much for Gordon's ideals of less spin etc. Plus ca change!

  80. At 05:45 PM on 16 May 2007, Stella Thomas wrote:

    Yes Matthew was right in his comments. This business of sharing everyone elses grief has gone too far. It started with the gruesome response to the death of The Princess of Wales |& has deteriorated from there. I have immense sympathy for the McCanns in their grief but cannot share it as I do not know them or their daughter.
    Perhaps our politicians can also stop the ridiculous congratulating of football teams etc. as well and get on with their jobs!!

  81. At 05:45 PM on 16 May 2007, Grant Shipcott wrote:

    Matthew Parris has a point but how insensitive to use this story to make it. 'Vile', 'disgusting' - surely these words describe the crime, rather than anyone protesting against it? His holier-than-thou attitude is itself offensive. I don't think MPs have much choice in these news/soundbite-driven times.

  82. At 05:45 PM on 16 May 2007, Sandra Bettell wrote:

    Heartfelt thanks to Matthew Parris for his sane comments on PM on the "Madeleine" affair.
    We all feel devastated and abhor this terrible happening, but remote sentimentality deminishes us all.

  83. At 05:47 PM on 16 May 2007, Joe Soap wrote:

    I look forward to a clutch of MPs oozing sympathy when a Millwall supporter and his tattooed wife leave three kids under 4 alone while they have a night out in a nearby pub, and one of the kids goes missing. I expect Richard Branson would want to be involved as well.

  84. At 05:47 PM on 16 May 2007, Ray Wallis wrote:

    Matthew Paris is correct, we should be questioning what the hysteria is about. The questions that should be asked is, as a mother of twins asked me.

    1. What were the parents of these children doing, taking these children overseas on holiday, it was not for the children? Children of the age of these children would not know whether they were in Padstow or Portugal.

    2. What were the parents of these children doing, leaving them on their own while they went out to enjoy themselves?

    I feel sorry for these irresponsible parents and the child in particular, but the parents only have themselves to blame for their selfish approach to their family and they will have the rest of their lives to think about it.

  85. At 05:48 PM on 16 May 2007, Graeme wrote:

    Congratulations to Matthew Paris for concisely summing up what is absolutely and fundamentally wrong with the crass, bandwagon-jumping views of both the majority of politicians and the press.

  86. At 05:48 PM on 16 May 2007, Sue Gerrard wrote:

    Absolutely right. I can't bear to think about what this little girl and her family have been through but the encampment in the Algarve of the news media has turned a human crisis into entertainment. In fact with a few notable exceptions, news has largely become entertainment. Instead of being provided with well-balanced information, we are treated to 'our top story', and instead of our politicians addressing the issues of the day with informed integrity, they hijack private agony for soundbite opportunity. My 12-year-old asked; don't Portuguese children disappear? Quite.

  87. At 05:48 PM on 16 May 2007, Brian hartley wrote:

    Matthew Parris, well done and well said. Common sense at last! Of course, we are all deeply, deeply upset/distressed by the abduction. As a parent of three, I go hot and cold at the thought. But this is not the issue. The issue is the 'soap opera', 'wear it on your sleeve' attitude along with politicians who have to pander to low-media taste. How right he was. The constituency MP is the person to publicly deal with it; other politicians to deal with it effectively behind the scenes. It is good that the Prime Minister elect is taking a close interest but that work should be done at the highest levels behind closed doors not as a part of a scrum for media benefit (and political expediency?).

  88. At 05:50 PM on 16 May 2007, Ron Iden wrote:

    I agree with the sentiment of Matthew Parris' comments if not the 'tone of voice' he used. There is no doubt that MPs are being driven on this issue by the media. I have great sympathy for the McCann family but I am aware that today there are a great many similar tragedies being played out around this country and the world. It seems to be the media who decide which of these we are informed about and which of them we will hear so little.

  89. At 05:50 PM on 16 May 2007, Mark wrote:

    Have to laugh at the earlier comment, "Only a homosexual, with absolutely no idea of how parents across this land feel about this child, or any child for that matter who vanishes in this way could make such crass comments such as this..."

    Paul Milligan would be so much more convincing if he kept himself to the subject, and did not introduce unrelated predjudices. Naturally homosexuals have no experience with family, children or any other such "normal" topics. Heaven forfend that they could even have their own kids Mr Milligan.

  90. At 05:50 PM on 16 May 2007, jonnie wrote:

    Re; Paul Milligan

    At 05:23 PM on 16 May 2007, Paul Milligan wrote:

    Only a homosexual, with absolutely no idea of how parents across this land feel about this child, or any child for that matter who vanishes in this way could make such crass comments such as this.

    -------------------------------------------------------

    Oh Paul - get in touch with modern society. It sounds so 1960's and middle class but at least you made me laugh.

  91. At 05:51 PM on 16 May 2007, susie jones wrote:

    Yes of course Matthew Parris right.

  92. At 05:52 PM on 16 May 2007, Richard Young wrote:

    Regardless of the politicians' reactions, I've been "disgusted" by the media reaction to the case, particularly the incessant coverage when there is nothing new to report and the on-the-spot broadcasts when there is absolutely no purpose whatsoever in having more than the local BBC correspondent making reports if there is some development. Much as I approve of Matthew Parris's comments, however, he was a little too vociferous in his tone. He could have criticised the the bandwagon-jumping without necessarily being that spiteful.

  93. At 05:52 PM on 16 May 2007, Jennifer gardner wrote:

    I have always respected the work of Matthew Parris but on this occasion I found his comments deeply offensive and insensitive. I listened with growing horror and disbelief as this piece progressed. I am sorry the BBC chose to air this interview as so many people have been deeply affected by what has happened to Madeleine and the remarks were upsetting and unecessary.

  94. At 05:52 PM on 16 May 2007, Bloomdido Bad-de-Grasse wrote:

    IVE ALWAYS WONDERED WHY CERTAIN CASES GRAB THE MEDIA/PUBLIC ATTENTION (THEREFORE POLITICIANS ALSO). I KNEW A YOUNG BOY IN MY STREET WHO WAS TAKEN AND THE WORST TURNED OUT TO HAVE HAPPENED TO HIM. IT DIDN'T MAKE A SQUEAK ON NATIONAL NEWS. ALL PARENTS, WITH OR WITHOUT A SECOND HOME ON THE ALGARVE, FEEL PAIN.

  95. At 05:52 PM on 16 May 2007, Mark Eltringham wrote:

    Well said Mathew. Politicians becoming so publicly involved in this in the way they are is inappropraite and undignified.

    Also, I worry that our press may jeopardise a future prosecution, blundering about trying to teach 'Johny Foreigner' how to catch somebody

  96. At 05:53 PM on 16 May 2007, Tony Collins wrote:

    Eddie, why was my earlier post deleted?

  97. At 05:53 PM on 16 May 2007, Jon Press wrote:

    Paris is, of course, quite right. Where, however, is the media commentator making the same point about the TV & radio circus - at least Gordon Brown might conceivably be able to offer some practical assistance: Huw Edwards oozing ersatz unction can not.

  98. At 05:53 PM on 16 May 2007, Richard Cox wrote:

    Fully agree with Mathew Parris. What a cheap comment about homosexuality from Paul Milligan, what relevance is his sexuality to this issue

  99. At 05:53 PM on 16 May 2007, Stuart Burn wrote:

    Matthew Parris is absolutely spot on with his comments

  100. At 05:53 PM on 16 May 2007, Gennie Stone wrote:

    Yes, Matthew Parris is right.
    I have no problem with politicians caring about a subject that is in the news.
    They should show support in private.
    They are in parliament as our, voted in, representatives and should not use it as a platform to drum up additionl 'brownie points' for themselves.
    It is like watching them lining up in public and flashing their money just before they put it into a charity collecting box.
    I have enormous sympathy with the family and friends involved in this tracic situation.
    I will demonstrate it in private and anonymously.
    I don't want to see my MP parading his feeling in public. HE is not the family's MP. As my area MP, that is not what he is there for.

  101. At 05:54 PM on 16 May 2007, William John Ballantine wrote:

    Dear Eddie,regarding the comments of Matthew Parris,I think he makes some good points about the whole Madeline McCann affair.It does seem to have swept all other stories in the media before it,caught the public`s attention,and now politicians are spotting an opportunity to win some popularity points.Matthew Parris was right to speak out as the whole business has got slighty out of hand.Sad as this case is,there are bigger stories around the world going on.For example,how many children have been orphaned in Baghdad in the same period?How many children have died of HIV/AIDS/complications in one sub-Saharan African country in the same period?

  102. At 05:55 PM on 16 May 2007, RM Evans wrote:

    He was right, but gave the wrong reasons. The media at large is to blame too. There is, sadly literally no news, and all we call all do is to try to imagine the anguish of the child's family - everything else is filler, not headlines. We are sentimental about this child while other less newsworthy things about the horrendous lives many children lead in this country. There was something barely brushed on a few days ago about two children found dead in Streatham - where, in the media, or in the House are our sentiments fed about them? Toe-curling is right.

  103. At 05:55 PM on 16 May 2007, david jones wrote:

    Mathew Parris is entirely right - why is'n't he in the cabinet? It's the same mentality as putting flowers wrapped in cellophane in conspicuous places. What difference does it make to anything?
    But why am I not surprised?

  104. At 05:56 PM on 16 May 2007, roger perrin wrote:

    Parris is absolutely right. This is a massive but private trauma for the immediate family, to be resolved by appropriate police action. All else is irrelevant.
    And why not a website
    www.findlittleMaddybutignorethethousandsof Africankidswhodieeverydayfromstarvationandnobodygivesatoss.com

  105. At 05:56 PM on 16 May 2007, Jim. wrote:

    Mr Paris's comments were rather restrained in the circumstances.

    When emotion comes up against intellect in the media, it tends to stifle logic. The BBC appears to be acting more and more like a tabloid newspaper confusing news with editorial and comment.

    I have every sympathy for a child whose parents chose not to take advantage of the childrens' services offered in the complex.

  106. At 05:56 PM on 16 May 2007, Otter wrote:

    Matthew Parris is correct in his views. The nauseating spectacle of politicians hopping on an over-emotional, media driven, sentimentality is degrading.
    It is beyond doubt that most people sympathise for a family that have lost their daughter, we just do not need it constantly shoved down our throats.
    As Mr Parris suggested; it's time we regained our reserve and self control.

  107. At 05:56 PM on 16 May 2007, alison wrote:

    Matthew Parris is rightly voicing the feeling of all intelligent persons - today was a political circus with politicians jumping on a 'popular' bandwagon.

  108. At 05:56 PM on 16 May 2007, angela peyton wrote:

    Thank goodness for Matthew Paris. Sympathetic as I am towards the terrible situation the McCann family are in, the almost hysterical public reaction, including that of the politicians, seems to me somehow very distasteful. Children have disappeared before and somehow it seems quite arbitrary which of them creates this sort of national hysteria. One can only hope and pray that Madeleine will be found safe and well - ultimately that is the only thing that will help her desperate family.

  109. At 05:56 PM on 16 May 2007, CLIVE McWILLIAM wrote:

    Matthew Parris is spot on as usual.
    The loss of this little girl is tragic but let us please get a grip.

  110. At 05:57 PM on 16 May 2007, Paul Bridle wrote:

    I agree with Matthew Parris. The outpourings that we get in society these days for people that others know not are unhealthy and questionable. Of course one is concerned about the child and her parents. Of course as a parent one can be anxious about ones own children but the mass outpouring of 'sympathy' is absurd. It smacks of a society where the expression of 'feeling' is required to be and okay person. Criticise it and you are regarded as calous or sick.
    Where is the outpouring of concern for children elsewhere in the world who are used and abused everyday?

  111. At 05:57 PM on 16 May 2007, Nigel wrote:

    Am I not right in thinking that John Prescott met the relatives "at their request" because they (understandably) wanted to keep up the publicity?

    If so, it's unfair to give politicians a kicking for this - what would you be saying if Gordon Brown or John Prescott had refused to meet them?

  112. At 05:58 PM on 16 May 2007, clotguy wrote:

    M Paris is as insightful as ever. Exactly what is this fund to be spent on?

  113. At 05:58 PM on 16 May 2007, Tom Yorkshire wrote:

    Matthew Paris's comments are very welcome. There is a totalitarianism about which seeks to mobilise everyone for all kinds of causes. You must wear a red poppy, a red nose, a red ribbon, or yellow, or pink (if female), you must weep for Diana, you must say how bad the Soham murderer was. The BBC, alas, is one of the agents that propagates this totalitarianism. Politicians should have the moral courage to say no. The foreign secretary (and only the foreign secretary) should meet Madeleine's family in private and tell them what steps the government is taking, and that should be that.

  114. At 05:59 PM on 16 May 2007, paul canning wrote:

    Mohammed Anwar Hossain, Mohammed Jahid ul Haque, Tan Jing Chen, Thao Do, Ying Lee, Lingran and Lingshan Lin, Maya Leila Mahmoud, Minh Anh Nguyen, and Elizabeth Ogungbayibi are all currently missing British children (See National Missing Persons Bureau).

    I read there that Maya Mahmoud is a baby believed abducted to Malaga, close to where the reporters are. It would be her first birthday next week. Like all babies she's gorgeous, just not blonde or wearing a football shirt.

    Will the BBC cover that birthday? Will any of the media cover the abduction of any of these other children?

    I, for one, am sick of hearing the BBC's excuse that 'the others do it so we have to follow'.

    Madeleine is important but so are all these other kids.

  115. At 06:00 PM on 16 May 2007, Fifi wrote:

    Hear, hear Ian (27) : I was just about to say the same thing.

    I personally don't like children that much; never have, even when I was one myself. There are a few individual exceptions, naturally, but on the whole they don't interest me.

    But I DO care about what's happened to Madeleine McCann, and I AM disgusted that a bunch of politicians have used her disappearance as an excuse to make themselves look suddenly and unconvincingly caring.

    Had they all quietly gone and donated a week's salary to the new fighting-fund, and then been found out doing it, I'd have had far more respect for them.

    And I am appalled that anyone in this day and age would impute a lack of regard for the importance of the issue to a whole category of people in such a way.

    Or indeed assume that homosexuals are somehow incapable of empathising with a parent. (I have news for you, Paul Milligan: some homosexuals ARE parents!)

    Matthew Parris hit the nail on the head. It's refreshing to hear such politically incorrect frankness for a change.

    Fifi

  116. At 06:01 PM on 16 May 2007, Des Miller wrote:

    Yes Mathew is right & he is not afraid to speak his mind..The MPs are jumping ob the band wagon..The parents of Maddy are at fault ,she should not have been left alone end of story.

  117. At 06:01 PM on 16 May 2007, Peter Coomber wrote:

    Matthew Parris is absolutely right. All right thinking people are fervently hoping for the safe return of this little girl. However private thoughts and prayers are insufficient for some. They need to make an ostentatious performance of their concern in a way which is quite inimical to dignity and restraint. These ‘recreational grievers’ are to be found everywhere and their influence is almost entirely malign.

  118. At 06:02 PM on 16 May 2007, Mike in London wrote:

    A voice of calm reason. Of course he's right

  119. At 06:03 PM on 16 May 2007, Mr P Hunt wrote:

    Matthew Paris is right. In addition, help from most MPs is likely to be a hindrance. Most have never had a real job, just seek to meddle and interfere whilst showing crocodile tears to the nearest camera. Didn't take long for Chairman Brown to jump on the media bandwagon did it!

  120. At 06:03 PM on 16 May 2007, simon wrote:

    Yes, it's horrible bandwagon-jumping by Gordon Brown. And think how much more repellent still it will be when Mr Cameron and his PR-fuelled Old Etonians join the parade. Which, as a Tory, Matthew Parris will no doubt be supporting.

  121. At 06:03 PM on 16 May 2007, Jane McKeand wrote:

    I find myself in the (for me) unusual position of agreeing wholeheartedly with Matthew Parris. Hooray for his words of sanity in an increasingly mad world. Yellow ribbons? Good grief! Of course I feel for the parents of this missing child, as a mother I could not do otherwise, but the inappropriate reactions today in the House of Commons makes me despair even more than usual of our parliamentary representatives.

  122. At 06:04 PM on 16 May 2007, Ted Teoman wrote:

    I agree with Matthew P. totally.... and where are social services .. imagine a Chav single mum of 3 ..left the kids at home while she popped down to the pub... The other 2 kids would be in care and Mum would be facing neglect charges. One rule for the Professionals and other for the Chavs.
    Meanwhile I hope Madelaine and all missing children are returned to loving families as I write.

  123. At 06:04 PM on 16 May 2007, Brian Lopez wrote:

    What do Alan Johnston and Madelaine have in common - two people whose 'missing person' status have for reasons best known to the forces of the media and politicians, risen to an hysterical and all but rolling news status. God help any who defy the hysteria, so thanks then to Matthew Parris for setting the case of Madelaine sad though it is, back on the ground. Who will now do the same for Alan

  124. At 06:04 PM on 16 May 2007, D Mudford wrote:

    Surely Matthew Parris is just doing his job?

  125. At 06:05 PM on 16 May 2007, Luke Glass wrote:

    How could the politicians' focus groups have got it so wrong, and Matthew Parris got it so right?

  126. At 06:05 PM on 16 May 2007, Ladygrumpy wrote:

    None of us can begin to appreciate what the parents are going through (why should being a homosexual precude these feelings as suggested by a former correspondent?) However, blanket coverage night after night just to update us with no news apart from the number of people who are praying for the child is excessive. It's now been nearly two weeks and on a world scale this news item hardly makes the needle flutter on the dial. Is it too cynical to suggest that this has something to do with the articulate and photogenic parents? Sadly, I believe that if they lived in a council flat in Wigan the coverage would long since have ceased. Here's hoping that the outcome is a happy one.

  127. At 06:07 PM on 16 May 2007, Mark Churchward wrote:

    I think Gordon Brown has conned this country for so long that I cannot take anything he says seriously. As for the other politicians, I am sure some are genuine in their concern over the horror that this poor child and her parents are going through, but in this governments climate of ‘spin’ and political manoeuvrings created largely by Brown, Blair and their respective henchmen, I am afraid that even the decent politicians will be misunderstood.

  128. At 06:07 PM on 16 May 2007, Peaco wrote:

    I'm a father of two but I am total agreement with MP, does that make me homosexual? It's nothing to do with it of course and the listener who berates MP is suffering from the same Diana type hysteria as our politicians and media. I feel their pain and I can only imagine what they are going through but how many other children have gone missing, or been diagnosed with a terminal illness, or been killed since poor Madelaine was taken – don’t they deserve just the same outpouring? What happens when the next girls is taken from a family somewhere?
    The media have gone completely barking mad, if this chap Murat is the guilty man (which looks unlikely) then they have probably ruined any chance of a fair trial, if he is innocent then the media coverage has been nothing short of shameful - Sky’s ‘virtual path to his home’ left me open mouthed in disbelief at its crassness.
    Like so many other facets of this country at the moment our politicians and media lack dignity and quality.

  129. At 06:07 PM on 16 May 2007, Nigel wrote:

    Am I not right in thinking that John Prescott met the relatives "at their request" because they (understandably) wanted to keep up the publicity?

    If so, it's unfair to give politicians a kicking for this - what would you be saying if Gordon Brown or John Prescott had refused to meet them?

  130. At 06:07 PM on 16 May 2007, Nigel Wilson wrote:

    Thought I'd better come on and defend Matthew Parris's commonsense and welcome comments against what I expected would be a barrage of criticism and _ guess what _ (almost) everyone shares my opinion! I thought I was part of a silent minority, it turns out I'm probably part of a silent majority. Well said again, Matthew.

  131. At 06:08 PM on 16 May 2007, Alan Lindsey wrote:

    How startling to see the practically unanimous support for Matthew Parris' wonderful acrid blast. Do you think any of the political slimeballs will read and learn?

  132. At 06:09 PM on 16 May 2007, David Leighton wrote:

    All hail Matthew Parris!!

    I totally agree with everything this wise man says. This whole thing is becoming a media circus and obscuring the pain and loss of the family in question.

    In the past week we have even had the Parish priest fly out for support!! Who next the local butcher? Just look for Maddie, don't jump on the bandwagon!

    As for the Paul Milligan's comments on Matthew's homosexuality...I am a homosexual and trust me we have more feeling about such things than you "hetties".

  133. At 06:10 PM on 16 May 2007, julian lloyd-hitt wrote:

    Reasoned and eloquent comments full of common sense and decency from Matthew Parris. Wish he was still an M.P.

  134. At 06:10 PM on 16 May 2007, Tom Woodhams wrote:

    Of course the abduction of Maddy is horrendous, and the family are entitled to our deepest sympathy. However, the feeding frenzy that the media have engaged in since she disappeared is not about the family but about sensationalising an event to sell more papers and generate more viewers. What was Hugh Edwards doing in Portugal last night? I'll tell you - wasting license payers' money. None of this helps to reunite the girl with her family.

  135. At 06:11 PM on 16 May 2007, George wrote:

    If Matthew Parris is right to be cynical about politicians' behaviour in this case , he might also be cynical of the media. Of necessity politicians try to make themselves popular and to appear in tune, selling themselves to us. Politicians may also feel deep sympathy in this case and so all objectives coincide.

    Is the media profiting from selling this story, and why this story and not some other? The naming by the media of a man who is a suspect only and cannot be charged becuase of a lack of evidence seems cynical in itself. On the other hand, the media is keeping the case at the front of everyone's mind, probably improving chances for a good result.

    Perhaps, therefore, it isn't a question of being cynical, but recognising the way politicians, media and audiences operate.

  136. At 06:12 PM on 16 May 2007, Gavin wrote:

    When will we hear Matthew Parris, or Eddie Mair, or PM, or any other journalist, putting the same spotlight on the horrible way the media, and specifically the tabloid press, are expoiting this story for profit? why not? Solidarity amongst journalists, or are you scared of the Mail/Murdoch/express empires?

    Incidentally, all a bit Tory today, PM, wasn't it? We had to go though ex-Tory MP Parris on this topic blaming Tony Blair, followed by ex-tory MP Portillo extolling the latest cheesy Cameron giimmick.

  137. At 06:12 PM on 16 May 2007, Charlie Keene wrote:

    Matthew Parris is a sensible voice in a sea of gobledegook. Politicians are either too stupid to take a longer, more rational view of this, or are so detached from reality that they will do whatever it takes to ensure they are 'down there on the street', and therefore earning votes.

    While I feel desperately sorry for the family - goodness knows what they are going through - Madeline would not be in this place if her parents had not neglected her and her siblings. Parenting is a responsibility and requires sacrifice... even on holiday.

  138. At 06:12 PM on 16 May 2007, Geoff Mellor wrote:

    Ref Matthew Parris - How refreshing to hear from somebody, very much involved in politics, to sound genuine and realistic. Having read some of the rants on this blog I think this may be my last contribution.

  139. At 06:12 PM on 16 May 2007, Mrs. A.Duncan wrote:

    I agree with Matthew Parris's comments and am heartened to see so many others feel the same. I am a parent and in common with practically everyone in the country I would think have been very much aware of the agonies the parents must be going through, but I think wearing of yellow ribbons in Parliament etc. is rather tacky . The unsavoury comments implying that Mr. Parris would not understand the parents' grief because he is not a parent is of course quite untrue.

  140. At 06:14 PM on 16 May 2007, peter langlois wrote:

    Matthew Parris is correct, the spectale of MP's parading their views on a very sensitive subect is a nauseating spectacle. As for Gordon Brown, well! we must jump on the band wagon just another policital opportunity.

    Peter Langlois

  141. At 06:16 PM on 16 May 2007, Pat Bruce wrote:

    Well done, Matthew Parris. The sickening response by MPs is a symptom of 10 years of New Labour spin. Any opportunity is seized upon to make the Government look sympathetic. Such a reaction would not have happened before 1997. We have reached a new low.

    And as for Mr Brown - what exactly is he going to do to help the McCann family? Just another example of empty rhetoric spewed out by the contemptible spin machine.

  142. At 06:17 PM on 16 May 2007, Peter Hood wrote:

    Well spoken Matthew Parris. Quite apart from the distasteful nature of this emotion porn, the clinical evidence on the 'let it all out' culture is not very supportive at all.

    So, meanwhile, we've moved from having a stiff upper lip to having a quivering bottom lip... ...because? Perhaps because perhaps of some wild US extrapolation from Freud's bogus 'talking cure' we all wear the grief of unfortunate indviduals, but to neither practical nor therapeutic effect, unless the gratitude of the parents is a viable measure of outcome.

    I turn my radio off for this and other modern 'zeitgeist' phenomena, so rightly pilloried by Karl Kraus and his like.

  143. At 06:18 PM on 16 May 2007, peter langlois wrote:

    Matthew Parris is correct, the spectale of MP's parading their views on a very sensitive subect is a nauseating spectacle. As for Gordon Brown, well! we must jump on the band wagon just another policital opportunity.

    Peter Langlois

  144. At 06:19 PM on 16 May 2007, Pam Harding wrote:

    Dear Sir

    Oh, how I agree with Matthew Pariss about the politicians (and celebrities) 'expressing their sympathies' with relatives and friends of people who are suffering the effects of crimes or accidents. The country went slightly mad at the time of Diana's death for quite understandable reasons, then suffered a relapse when Holly and Jessica went missing and were then sadly found murdered. Since then the hysteria has been ramped up for every hostage and every victim of crime. A little dignified silence would be appreciated and would speak volumes, we all feel for these unfortunate parents, we do not need to be reminded and preached to when we can do nothing to help.

  145. At 06:19 PM on 16 May 2007, John Tomkins wrote:

    It is my understanding, that under English law it is illegal for a parent to leave a child, under 13, unattended by another adult.

    If this is the case, am I assume that there will now be cross party support to suspend this legislation...?

    It goes without saying that all reasonable people want this tragic situation quickly resolved, with the safe return of this child to her parents.

    For my part, I am concerned for the safety of Maddaline but have little sympathy for her parents.

  146. At 06:20 PM on 16 May 2007, Dr Hackenbush wrote:

    I don’t know - what did he say?

  147. At 06:21 PM on 16 May 2007, peter langlois wrote:

    Matthew Parris is so right. The spectacle of MP's on this tragic situation is nauseating

    Peter Langlois

  148. At 06:21 PM on 16 May 2007, Tony Franks wrote:

    Yes he's right, yet he overstates his case, without pointing out the anomalies of over-reporting one story and under-reporting others.

    The number of missing, injured and dead in the middle east, due in part to the UK's preventable misadventures in that region, is an equal source of intense heartache to far more families, as is the horror in Darfur, but the "human" story in those places is rarely told.

  149. At 06:21 PM on 16 May 2007, David Foster wrote:

    Well said Matthew Parris.

    I have a granddaughter the same age as the missing Maddy and I can easily imagine the pain and guilt being felt by her parents but I cannot begin to understand what on earth all the chain e-mails, yellow ribbons and fighting funds can achieve except to make everyone involved feel better.

    I think it was Stalin who said something like - "one instance is a tragedy, many instances make a statistic": hence it is easy to ignore the numerous annual disappearances of young and not so young children.

  150. At 06:23 PM on 16 May 2007, Gossipmistress wrote:

    Is this the record for the most number of posts in the first 30mins? I hope Matthew P reads all this!

    To add to my earlier comment I also agree that the whole thing has got out of hand, that a possibly innocent man is being hounded, and that there are so many other families, both here and abroad, who have lost children in terrible circumstances. The media circus is appalling.

    Paul Milligan - I think you missed Matthew's point entirely and you will be able to see from a selection of the comments above that it is perfectly possible for homosexual, heterosexual, married and single people to all share a similar view on this.

  151. At 06:23 PM on 16 May 2007, syd worth wrote:

    I hope Mathew reads this.
    I am sorry to read of any parent who loses a child and the parents have all my sympathy, it a tragic disaster.
    Mathew was charitable regarding MPs, though. They have lost all contact with the population. If they were earning the average wage of this country they might, just might be ready to serve the population rather than demand that we serve them. They are jumping on the band wagon in my opinion. I've no doubt they care but at the same time I can see that this is an opportunity for a photo session, a media photo fest. Many families in this country have had children disappear for all sorts of reasons. Do our dear Mps pop up at all of these occasions? No!
    It is despicable. They should leave the publicity and practical help to the police.

  152. At 06:28 PM on 16 May 2007, parent wrote:

    Thankgoodness for Matthew Paris and some commonsense.
    I feel for the parents, but I do not want any MP including me in a statement that all the country is praying for them.
    Why is there so much media attention about this particular missing child?

    I can imagine the reaction (and righteous Daily Mail condemnation) if I, as a single parent, had left my 3 children and gone across the road to neigbour's for dinner - and someone sneaked in the back way and removed the 3 years old.

    What if the child woke up and wandered round looking for her parents? She would have been terrified if they were not there in her own home, never mind a strange place.

    Do they leave them at their Leicestershire home without a babysitter?

  153. At 06:28 PM on 16 May 2007, Maureen Lamb wrote:

    I totally agree with Matthew Parris.
    Sorry to say, we've learned to expect this sort of nonsense from our MPs.
    Children are killed and maimed every day all over the world, yet the BBC has goodness knows how many "reporters" in Portugal slavering over the events of the past fortnight. It's completely nauseating and totally unnecessary.
    Goodness knows, we feel sorry for the family and devastated for the wee lass, but let's get our sense of proportion back.
    Bring these reporters and correspondents back home, BBC, and stop acting like a drama queen.
    24 hour news has done the country no good if this is what we're reduced to.

  154. At 06:29 PM on 16 May 2007, lesley mccall wrote:

    Hooray for Mathew (Great Lives) Parris. Great Words from a person of whom I was never a fan. Please can Mr Parris put himeself forward for the post of Prime Minister. I absolutely agree with every word, a signed photo would be much appreciated.

  155. At 06:30 PM on 16 May 2007, parent wrote:

    Thankgoodness for Matthew Paris and some commonsense.
    I feel for the parents, but I do not want any MP including me in a statement that all the country is praying for them.
    Why is there so much media attention about this particular missing child?

    I can imagine the reaction (and righteous Daily Mail condemnation) if I, as a single parent, had left my 3 children and gone across the road to neigbour's for dinner - and someone sneaked in the back way and removed the 3 years old.

    What if the child woke up and wandered round looking for her parents? She would have been terrified if they were not there in her own home, never mind a strange place.

    Do they leave them at their Leicestershire home without a babysitter?

  156. At 06:30 PM on 16 May 2007, Langden wrote:

    Matthew Parris is right. The news coverage has been so overblown I have begun to turn off at the mere mention of the case. But I stuck with Mr Parris's comments and he is right. It is sad and devastating for the parents of course - but why isn't someone saying the obvious? In this country parents leaving 2 / 3 year old children home alone would be and should subject to social services investigations - not lauded by politicians.

  157. At 06:30 PM on 16 May 2007, Joan Davison wrote:

    Well said Matthew Parris. You put into words exactly how I feel about the whole thing.

  158. At 06:37 PM on 16 May 2007, Glynne wrote:

    I agree with Matthew Paris-saw some yelow ribbons on my way home.Alan Johnston is a different case entirely - he has been abducted for political reasons and we might hope to influence the situation. I don't think the depraved monsters who have probably stolen little Madeleine are going to hand her back because of yellow ribbons on a gatepost in South East London.

  159. At 06:38 PM on 16 May 2007, Simon wrote:

    Thank God, at last someone talking sense! The constant coverage of this story is unneccessary and not helpful in finding the poor child. All this national hysteria about every sad story that ever appears in the news is getting ridiculous.

  160. At 06:38 PM on 16 May 2007, James Spurr wrote:

    Apparently several hundred children in Britain have gone missing during the period since the Madeleine story broke. I would like to know how many of the unfortunate parents are being deprived of support because their neighbours and friends are too busy getting emotional about this one family in Portugal, and because any benefit to be had from publicity is unavailable because the media are fully engaged with the same one story. I suspect the harm is considerable, and I believe the media are to blame. The politicians that Matthew Parris refers to are making things worse,

  161. At 06:40 PM on 16 May 2007, Charismatic wrote:

    I heartely agree with Mathew Parris.16,000 children die every day from starvation, and little is said, or, indeed done to help the disadvantaged.Madeleine is treated with over-induldgence and sycophancy.It sickens me to be continually bombarded with the outpouring of grief for one individual.Dianna had the same adulation at her funeral.The McCanns have been very brave, and I appreciate their resolve to stay on at their expensive holiday apartment.May they continue to be supported by friends and relatives.But, for heavens sake, stop this continual pleading for one child.The fund stands at £2.9 million.This is an opportunity for the thousands of wealthy people to donate generously.And please spend some thoughts for the millions of other children that deserve equal attention and help.

  162. At 06:45 PM on 16 May 2007, Martyn in Bristol wrote:

    Re #49 (James of Bristol)

    Tony Banks may well have been principled, but it's in the past tense, as he died in January of last year.

  163. At 06:49 PM on 16 May 2007, ruth leep wrote:

    I agree totally with Mathew Paris. I thought I was in the minority in thinking all the coverage in this case was nothing more than a media circus. The parents left these young children to fend for themselves and my heart breaks for what Madeleine must have gone through while her parents, family and friends were out enjoying themselves. The media do not speak for me nor do the politicians. Would they have got involved if it had of been a working class family or a single mother. Of course not.

    I feel nauseus when I think about all the young carers who are struggling to cope with desperate situations. Where do the the media and politicians stand on this issue. We'll never know. What a sick sh*t society we inhabit.

  164. At 06:52 PM on 16 May 2007, Carey wrote:

    I agree totally with Parris but a valid point he failed to make is that if the the several footballers (many of them from the Premiership) to have made pleas have not yet helped resolve this search, then what chance Brown?

  165. At 06:52 PM on 16 May 2007, E Mercer wrote:

    I agree with Ted Teoman's comments - an emotional storm has been whipped up by the articulate families of both parents. Had this been a single parent from a council estate the sympathy would have been scant.

    What a pity that none of these relatives volunteered to stay with 3 children under the age of four while their parents took a much-needed break.

    The first report of Madeleine's disappearance said that she was holidaying with 8 other children and 9 adults - could they really not organise a rota to take care of the children properly? These facts were dropped very quickly.

    The families seem much more keen on getting themselves on the media and deflecting any valid criticism from the parents. I thought it was an offence to leave any child under the age of 14 in charge of the siblings. A 3 year old left with twins of 18+ months - anything could have happened and sadly did. I hope this child returns and the social services find her a suitable home.

  166. At 06:53 PM on 16 May 2007, Mhairi Davidson wrote:

    I totally agree with Matthew Parris - thanks for having the courage to speak up.

  167. At 06:58 PM on 16 May 2007, Stewart Munro wrote:

    I think Matthew Paris is right for once.

    Is Gordon Brown going to meet the family of every child who goes missing or has something bad happen to them ? If so , government would grind to a halt.

  168. At 06:59 PM on 16 May 2007, james wrote:

    Not very original, I know, but ..
    We get the politicians we deserve ....
    We get the media we deserve ...
    All aboard the handcart ! !

  169. At 07:00 PM on 16 May 2007, Stanley Cook wrote:

    Matthew Parris is absolutely right.
    The plight of the little girl and her family cannot fail to inspire compassion in those capable of feeling it, but this mawkishness is utterly sickening.

  170. At 07:00 PM on 16 May 2007, Diana Fox wrote:

    Matthew Parris must be a mind reader as he said exactly what I was thinking.Thank heavens we still have commentators with a high degree of sanity.

  171. At 07:03 PM on 16 May 2007, Gus Donn wrote:

    Matthew Parris seeking self promotion with contrived cynicism.

  172. At 07:03 PM on 16 May 2007, Paul Walker wrote:

    I totally agree with what Matthew Pärris said on PM this evening. It is disgusting what the politicians and MP's are doing over this very tragic case of Madeline McCann. Who could not feel saddened by what has happened. Many children go missing and yet there is not this kind of media coverage let alone it going to Parliament. I live in France and already in my small local town there is a poster appealing for information and I would imagine it is the same all over Europe among the expat community. This in my view is enough along with what the Portuguese police are doing, without the British Government getting involved. Hooray for Matthew Parris for speaking out.

  173. At 07:03 PM on 16 May 2007, Andrew in London wrote:

    I agree with Matthew Parris totally. Very well put.

  174. At 07:05 PM on 16 May 2007, gerry wrote:

    Not often I agree with you old son but you're bang on tonight. They have no sense of dignity at all, the ongoing 'Dianafication' of Gt. Britain.
    Yellow ribbons! Yuk

  175. At 07:07 PM on 16 May 2007, Joy Revell wrote:

    I heartily agree with you Matthew Parris, as do most of the British public. Well done for having the courage to come out and say what most of us are feeling. The whole affair is getting completely out of hand, and,to me, rather frightening.

  176. At 07:12 PM on 16 May 2007, Jane Smith wrote:

    Well said Matthew Paris. I agree with almost all of the comments above. I am sick of the media circus digging for a story that suits the viewing figures; the pathetic public emotional incontinence; the absolute nobodies who feel they can legitimately hijack this situation - you know all those thousands of strangers who all feel they know 'Gerry and Kate'; the even more pathetic MP's jumping on the bandwagon; the bizzare spectacle of thousands of yellow ribbons tied around a railing (where did that come from?). We seem to have lost sight of the fact that not one, not two, but three very young children were left alone in an apartment with an unlocked door. The few coments I do not agree with relate to this being a tragedy affecting all of us. No it's not. It affects the mother, father and immediate family. Sad as it is, it will not affect me today, tomorrow nor for the rest of my life as some of these sad voyeurs - nay vultures - would have me believe. I'm just waiting for Sir Bob Geldof to make an appearance

  177. At 07:18 PM on 16 May 2007, Stephen E-B wrote:

    How refreshing that someone has at last said what the majority of the Country think. Of course we sympathise with any parent who loses their child in any circumstances but to see MPs pinning on the latest bleeding heart ribbon in the hopes of another photocall showing how much they care is sickening.

    Thankyou Matthew for being honest, when so many others are not.

  178. At 07:29 PM on 16 May 2007, Lynne Geldart wrote:

    I have read about 100 of these blogs and it is very interesting that the overwhelming majority - about 97 I think - are agreeing with Matthew Parris. I do too and was delighted to hear him this afternoon articulating what I have felt for some time. It is also encouraging that most of your bloggers feel the same. I wonder, though, whether there would be the same reaction from, say, Sun readers or popular talkshow listeners. I like to feel that R4 listeners think more deeply about things and are not taken in by the cynical bandwagon-jumping of politicians and much of the media!

    I am also appalled, like some of your bloggers, at the naming of the 'suspect' in Portugal. It hardly serves justice to smear his name all over the media - whether he is innocent or guilty.

  179. At 07:33 PM on 16 May 2007, simon wrote:

    re Julian Llloyd-Hitt's comment that he approves of Mr Parris's outspoken position and wishes that he was still an MP; not that I disagree with Matthew necessarily, but if he WERE still an MP, he wouldn't dare be this outspoken in the first place. Ah, politics!

  180. At 07:34 PM on 16 May 2007, Karen wrote:

    I'm reassured that other people shared the same concerns and questions that I have. Why were the children left alone? How could anyone, let alone a doctor, think that half hourly checks constituted appropriate supervision and care of three toddlers?

    Unfortunately with the storm that has been whipped up these are questions you are almost scared to ask publicly for fear of being considered unsympathetic.

    I do have some pity for the family and friends of Madeleine in the same way that I feel sorrow for the friends and family of anyone who goes missing without explanation. Many vulnerable individuals go missing every year in this country - not just children. Perhaps there's less to be gained by championing the cause of confused elderly people who go missing because of the lack of appropriate support in the community.

  181. At 07:38 PM on 16 May 2007, Gillian wrote:

    Paul Canning (113) Thank you for naming other missing British children whose disappearance has gone largely unnoticed. It is shameful that this one little girl has been used to overshadow thousands of others.
    Matthew Parris was right, and thanks to PM for broadcasting this item.
    Having said that, I hope PM takes heed of the views being expressed here and refrains from contributing anything other than real news concerning this topic.
    Tony Franks (147) I strongly recommend you to listen out for Hugh Sykes on the radio. His reports are the very thing you refer to - hard to listen to, but so revealing.

  182. At 07:44 PM on 16 May 2007, Anne Brooke wrote:

    Yes, I entirely agree with Matthew Parris. And I hate to say it, but this story is no longer news. Hundreds of children go missing every day - it's a terrible thing. But why give this particular one any more publicity? I also think that the parents have acted very stupidly in doing what they did, (and indeed doing what they're doing now) and it's horrible that some criminal took advantage of that fact. But it's time to move on - Madeleine may (or may not) be found, but the family need to grieve - in private.

    The country needs to stop over-emoting (shades of the ghastly Princess Diana pseudo-grief) and let the police do their work as best they can.

  183. At 07:45 PM on 16 May 2007, Jan Hurst wrote:

    I agree 100% with Mathew Paris. Who's going to contact the Social Services? In light of the parental neglect and horrendous consequences. Maybe Gordon Brown and all the other MP's should raise the question.

  184. At 07:49 PM on 16 May 2007, Jan Dunbar wrote:

    Once again thank God for Matthew Parris and his voice of reason and for expressing what so many of us think. I am heartily sick of the media telling me how "the whole country" is affected by whatever they want to bang on about, when I don't know anyone who is. Of course this is a terrible thing to happen to this family and one wouldn't wish it on anyone, has it had any impact on me personally, no.
    I do feel great sympathy for Ben Needhams Mother who must wonder where all this help was when her child was snatched away from her on the island of Kos. Perhaps if there are funds left over they can be put towards helping her.

  185. At 07:50 PM on 16 May 2007, Alan Lindsey wrote:

    My my count, when Eddie last mentioned the blogstorm at the end of PM, there were 97 vociferously in favour of Parris and 7 against or faintly vapouring.

    This is 93% approval. So why did you broadcast one from each side without mentioning the ratios? Could this be further evidence of Beeb Guardianista truth manipulation? Surely not!

  186. At 08:00 PM on 16 May 2007, Mike wrote:

    Thank you to Matthew Parris, at last some comment with a sense of perspective.
    Although I too am disgusted with the politicians' reaction I'm not particularly surprised.
    However the obscene amount of time and resources the BBC (and other news media) are devoting to this story defies belief.

  187. At 08:06 PM on 16 May 2007, David Holman wrote:

    Not only is Parris spot on, but the point needs making that these outpourings are THEFT of the very limited time working MPs have to question our masters. If the PM wants to make these announcements he should make them in his own time or at the very least get one of his crones or cronies to ask the question "how disastrous has your Iraq policy been this week?" instead of the usual sycophantic rubbish. This week's PMQs were even worse than usual with the speaker showing contempt for the rules matching Prescott's contempt for Parliament.

  188. At 08:07 PM on 16 May 2007, eddie mair wrote:

    Alan (185) you raise I point I responded to in the Glass Box thread. I'm not sure I can convince you since you obviously think we have an agenda (we don't, honest!), but I could and probably should have talked about the ratios, but to be honest I grabbed 2 comments at short notice to illustrate the fact there were two points of view. And as I'm doing a live radio programme at the time, I could see from a quick glance that the tide was pro-Matthew, but I had no time to do an exhaustive search and count as you did. So yes - it would have been more accurate to mention the ratios...but it was down to time rather than a giant conspiracy. But then, being part of the giant conspiracy I WOULD say that! Also - as you readily saw yourself, anyone coming to the blog can see for themselves the balance of opinion. But I'll try to do better on air!

  189. At 08:09 PM on 16 May 2007, Kirstie & Ian Oswald wrote:

    Well done Mathew Parris! We're glad to see that his sensible comments have had such a ringing endorsement from Radio 4 listeners. While we all have great sympathy with Maddie's parents, the media coverage (not least BBC News 24) has been ridiculously over-played reminiscent of the excessive coverage of Princess Diana's death. It's pretty stomach-turning how politicians have latched on to the story, even Gordon Brown seemingly copying Tony Blair's style. The politicians should divert some of their sentimental thoughts to the hundreds of children killed in Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine.

  190. At 08:16 PM on 16 May 2007, David wrote:

    I agree with Mathew Paris. I was begining to wonder if I was living in a parallel universe, in the absense of any rational comment on this case, especially, the fact that these children were left alone. Call me nuerotic but, when my son was 18 months old it never entered my head to leave him alone for all sorts of reasons. Why do politicians and the media claim to speak for the general public. More importantly why don't they speak out on family matters where vulnerable people are concerned.

  191. At 08:19 PM on 16 May 2007, Fiona Stephens wrote:

    Thank heavens for Matthew Parris' sanity. We are in the throes of nauseating, emotional mush from our MPs.

  192. At 08:24 PM on 16 May 2007, Karen wrote:

    Eddie (189)

    No quibble with the choice of quotes. It's an emotive subject and it can be hard to see the other point of view. Matthew P presented his point of view very articulately and the balance needed to come somewhere. If you'd given 2 pro-points to reflect the balance of opinion then the anti- group would feel that they hadn't been represented. I don't think you can win! ;o)

    If people were that interested then you mentioned the blog a couple of times so they could find the balance of opinion for themselves. Surely there's someone as articulate as Mr P who can justify the politicians' approach on tomorrow's PM?

  193. At 08:24 PM on 16 May 2007, andy dyson wrote:

    I was very disappointed in Mathew Parris' comments last night. I thought that I had a cynical view of politicians and their motives, but seemingly I have a rival. I strongly dislike John Precott and indeed am distrustful of Gordon Brown, but I am confident that they were being sincere in their concern for Madelaine and her family in Portugal. Perhaps if Mr Parris lived in the same borough (as I do) as Madelaine and her parents, he might hold a diffenrt view and would try and think of something constructive to say or do, instead of critcising others. I would suggest that Messrs Brown, Prescott and Haig are more in 'tune' with the general public than he is. I only wish that I could do something more positive to assist the family at this awful time and my thoughts and heart felt prayers are with them for the safe return of Madelaine as soon as possible.

  194. At 08:30 PM on 16 May 2007, Steve Gerry wrote:

    Agree with Parris - this is about news values and nobody until him challenging them. Pretty white girl missing ...

    Soon after, 140 people died in a plane crash in West Africa (and 5 of them "counted" as they were British) but it was still swamped by this Portugal story which has unfortunately so few facts as yet...

    Perhaps it's also news-worthy because other parents take similar risks on holiday - Case Notes on Radio 4 recently warned that people are much less conscious of risk on holiday and so they ride motorcycles without helmets, drink more etc. You shouldn't nip round to the local pub at home, so abroad it should be seen in same light ..

  195. At 08:30 PM on 16 May 2007, Barry Halford wrote:

    Absolutely, Matthew is right. This sort of nauseating display of bogus emotion by wearing ribbons, placing flowers and toys in the street, etc, etc, should be held up at every opportunity to the ridicule it deserves.

  196. At 08:38 PM on 16 May 2007, Alison Williams wrote:

    Matthew Parris is right as always. Also as always he is not afraid to speak his mind and not join in with the herd.
    Matthew Parris is a man who is constantly helping others but never blows his own trumpet. When I was at rock bottom some years ago he wrote me some wonderful, uplifting letters which were a great help to me.
    I also know many other people who praise his sincerity and kindness.

  197. At 08:39 PM on 16 May 2007, Heather wrote:

    I agree with Matthew Parris - when is this ludicrous, out of proportion, buttock clenching drivel going to stop??

  198. At 08:56 PM on 16 May 2007, Carole wrote:

    Sorry to have to ask, but where can I read/hear what Matthew Parris actually said? I heard Eddie Mair read out the two comments on PM, but didn't read/hear the original remarks. Thank you.

  199. At 09:07 PM on 16 May 2007, John Barnard wrote:

    Today's politicians will do any thing to a) be popular and b) win votes.
    Sadly Matthew Parris is right in his assessment of today's events - they once again show the lengths to which so many of our elected representatives will go to curry favour with what they perceive to be 'popular' - i.e. vote-catching - opinion

  200. At 09:11 PM on 16 May 2007, Ben Mids wrote:

    I totally agree with Matthew Parris. Like most of us agree this is a tragic horrible story (like many many many we witness on the news each day)

    Of course parents must dread this occurance and I hope the young girl is found safe and well. This collective mawkishness however is both repulsive and has a herd mentality about it. I also feel that there is a slightly racist undertone to the debate. (i.e. Look how those Portuguese are not doing enough for 'our' Maddy) If a single mum in Doncaster or an asian couple in Leicester had gone to a restuaurant and left their three young children at home alone, this would not be reported in the same way, and would at best manage a few minutes on the local news.

  201. At 09:12 PM on 16 May 2007, Jan wrote:

    With reference to the comment from Steve Gerry. People have the right to put themselves at risk. However, I cannot imagine that it is commonplace for parents to absolve themselves of parental responsibility in those situations.

  202. At 09:14 PM on 16 May 2007, jonnie wrote:

    Re : Eddie or Marc (NBP)

    Any chance of having Paul Milligan's post re-instated please!

    If the Reverend could broadcast his little piece on 'AA' there is absolutely no reason as to why Paul Milligans comment should have been removed. - If not I'd appreciate all the other comments in reference to Paul to be removed - just for archiving reasons, and to make sense. Thank you - and sorry if it's a pain :-(

  203. At 09:23 PM on 16 May 2007, mimi wrote:

    Yes! I agree with Matthew.
    It does not take away from that fact that people do feel great sympathy for the family, and longing that Madelaine will be found safe and well.

  204. At 09:28 PM on 16 May 2007, Jane Smith wrote:

    So Mr Dyson live in the same 'borough' as this family does he? My previous point entirely. I live in the same borough as thousands of other people but I am not at pains to show my grief/emotion/ sympathy etc. every time I read the death notices in the local paper. Neither do I rush out to buy flowers to tie to a lampost when I read of someone crashing their car into one. Why? Because I don't know these people. This is a highly personal and very distressing situation for the family - not for Leicestershire, Glasgow or the remainder of the UK

  205. At 09:32 PM on 16 May 2007, Maurice wrote:

    I couldn't agree more with Matthew Parris. If only the the politicians weren't so full of their self importance seeking to grab the limelight at every opportunity and instead concentrated on sorting the mess that they have created in so many of our services, then maybe we would treat them with the respect they ought to command!!

  206. At 09:42 PM on 16 May 2007, irene edwards wrote:

    Agree with everything Matthew Parris has said.
    Why do the media and politicians think they have the right to speak on behalf of the nation?
    Pleased to read the blogs tonight and to confirm that we share the views of so many others.

  207. At 09:43 PM on 16 May 2007, eddie mair wrote:

    Carole (197) we'll post the full interview on the Blog tomorrow for you and others.

  208. At 09:44 PM on 16 May 2007, Mark Dawson wrote:

    This is the quote I wish to comment on---
    ===============
    Re; Paul Milligan

    At 05:23 PM on 16 May 2007, Paul Milligan wrote:

    Only a homosexual, with absolutely no idea of how parents across this land feel about this child or any child for that matter who vanishes in this way could make such crass comments such as this.
    ================
    I agree with the vast majority before me on the subject of Mat P’s comments…

    However, I want to return to the spin-off discussion regarding Paul Milligan’s comments – which I personally considered to be extremely offensive {no they didn’t make me “giggle” as it did someone earlier}

    Until today, I’d never read this “blog” nor indeed any blog [not even sure what the term means!] Instead of adding a comment, as a novice, I had clicked on “complain” regarding Paul’s comments, not realising that my own comments would thereby not be posted, and instead the consequence might cause Paul’s entry to be deleted [which in the interest of honest and sincerely-believed free speech I did not want to happen, but now has been taken down… It was originally #8 for those who care about these things.]

    The reason I was so deeply offended by Paul’s comments was his implication that to be childless [and, particularly to be gay] somehow precludes us from feeling, caring, empathising and grieving for a specific missing child and her family – and indeed for all other missing and/or abused children the world over. How dare he suggest such a thing? It is as if that our sexuality and/ or childless condition somehow precludes us from the human understanding, sensitivity and feeling which Paul seems to imply is the exclusive province of regular “normal” people such as himself. The way he worded his comments did less to highlight the tragic sadness of this particular missing girl’s family than it did to give vent to his own apparent prejudices. That however is not to impute insincerity on his behalf regarding his – and mine – concern for the missing child.

    For the record, an ordinary gay, middle-aged, childless man like me [or any childless man or woman whatever their sexuality, age or circumstances] can feel and care and empathise and grieve just as deeply and sincerely as you can, Paul.

    Think please before you offend. It would be a better world if we all did that…

  209. At 09:55 PM on 16 May 2007, Mark wrote:

    This is the quote I wish to comment on---
    ===============
    Re; Paul Milligan

    At 05:23 PM on 16 May 2007, Paul Milligan wrote:

    Only a homosexual, with absolutely no idea of how parents across this land feel about this child or any child for that matter who vanishes in this way could make such crass comments such as this.
    ================
    I agree with the vast majority before me on the subject of Mat P’s comments…

    However, I want to return to the spin-off discussion regarding Paul Milligan’s comments – which I personally considered to be extremely offensive {no they didn’t make me “giggle” as it did someone earlier}

    Until today, I’d never read this “blog” nor indeed any blog [not even sure what the term means!] Instead of adding a comment, as a novice, I had clicked on “complain” regarding Paul’s comments, not realising that my own comments would thereby not be posted, and instead the consequence might cause Paul’s entry to be deleted [which in the interest of honest and sincerely-believed free speech I did not want to happen, but now has been taken down… It was originally #8 for those who care about these things.]

    The reason I was so deeply offended by Paul’s comments was his implication that to be childless [and, particularly to be gay] somehow precludes us from feeling, caring, empathising and grieving for a specific missing child and her family – and indeed for all other missing and/or abused children the world over. How dare he suggest such a thing? It is as if that our sexuality and/ or childless condition somehow precludes us from the human understanding, sensitivity and feeling which Paul seems to imply is the exclusive province of regular “normal” people such as himself. The way he worded his comments did less to highlight the tragic sadness of this particular missing girl’s family than it did to give vent to his own apparent prejudices. That however is not to impute insincerity on his behalf regarding his – and mine – concern for the missing child.

    For the record, an ordinary gay, middle-aged, childless man like me [or any childless man or woman whatever their sexuality, age or circumstances] can feel and care and empathise and grieve just as deeply and sincerely as you can, Paul.

    Think please before you offend. It would be a better world if we all did that…

  210. At 10:20 PM on 16 May 2007, James wrote:

    Thank goodness for Matthew Parris, it's just a shame he wasn't around to put a bit of sense and perspective into things when Pricess Diana died - the "public" reaction to that was truly ridiculous - and to point out just how silly Michael Howard was to make Boris Johnson apologise to the "people of Liverpool" for pointing out what most right-thinking people realised all along. It's about time society as a whole toughened up a bit and stopped being so "sensitive".

  211. At 10:21 PM on 16 May 2007, peter wrote:

    I totally agree with Matthew Parris. Well done to him for having the courage to speak out. Its about time this tabloid/media circus was stopped.

  212. At 10:21 PM on 16 May 2007, Andy Jones wrote:

    I agree totally with Mr Parris.
    I actually believe the majority of people are sick of the media feeding frenzy and the 'jumping on of bandwagons' that has been witnessed in the last fortnight.

    I work for a large organisation and this case, as these things tend to, has come up in conversation in the office a few times now.
    I've yet to hear anyone say anything good about the role of the media or the famous/politicians in it.
    Seems you can't after all fool all all of the people etc etc.

    The present suspect has been tried and sentenced by a media who seems to think they're judge and jury for everyone else's morals--when most people realise they're actually a most disreputable bunch of reptiles themselves.
    So far it seems to me, his only proven crime is to have a lady friend who's a Jehovah's Witness (a crime apparently in the minds of Daily Mail employees)
    Apart from prejudicing the case, should this ever come to court. How will anyone ever get an unbiased trial now?

    Yes and a little girl is missing--very sad.
    I wonder if the media's perception of the whole case might be different if she wasn't white and from a very obviously white middle class background.

    Like Mr Parris, I feel like vomitting.
    Andy Jones
    Bedfordshire.


  213. At 10:22 PM on 16 May 2007, Andy Jones wrote:

    I agree totally with Mr Parris.
    I actually believe the majority of people are sick of the media feeding frenzy and the 'jumping on of bandwagons' that has been witnessed in the last fortnight.

    I work for a large organisation and this case, as these things tend to, has come up in conversation in the office a few times now.
    I've yet to hear anyone say anything good about the role of the media or the famous/politicians in it.
    Seems you can't after all fool all all of the people etc etc.

    The present suspect has been tried and sentenced by a media who seems to think they're judge and jury for everyone else's morals--when most people realise they're actually a most disreputable bunch of reptiles themselves.
    So far it seems to me, his only proven crime is to have a lady friend who's a Jehovah's Witness (a crime apparently in the minds of Daily Mail employees)
    Apart from prejudicing the case, should this ever come to court. How will anyone ever get an unbiased trial now?

    Yes and a little girl is missing--very sad.
    I wonder if the media's perception of the whole case might be different if she wasn't white and from a very obviously white middle class background.

    Like Mr Parris, I feel like vomitting.
    Andy Jones
    Bedfordshire.


  214. At 10:30 PM on 16 May 2007, Kev wrote:

    Very late to the blog but I am delighted and reassured to find that all I felt and wanted to say as I drove home listening to pm has been covered by fellow bloggers. I am greatly reassured by this and relieved that there is a forum for some common sense and emotional honesty and integrity.

  215. At 10:34 PM on 16 May 2007, Kathy Stephen wrote:

    I agree with Matthew Paris.
    I'll make a topical social observtion here, had this been a wealthy, professional lesbian or gay couple who had left their children unattended while at a restaurant, just imagine the criticism they'd have undergone... anyone who is honest can fill in those dots, but here we are talking about glossy, medical and heterosexual professionals.
    That naughty idea aside, can we now expect that victims of all future child kidnappings will receive the same financial assistance and media attention?

  216. At 10:35 PM on 16 May 2007, Chris Stenson wrote:

    Oh the relief! I caught the tail end of Matthew's comments earlier and was cheering! So great to read the other posts offering the same sentiment (or lack of!).

    I do have to get this off my chest though while I'm here as it has been bugging me since the disappearance. What on EARTH were her parents thinking leaving not just her but two toddlers alone in the apartment aswell!? I just can't believe they thought it was a risk worth taking for a meal out. What about a fire or if they choked or just woke up really distressed (as my own toddler often does). I hope for their sakes that they were both as stupid as each other as if one pushed the other into leaving the children that doesn't bode well for their future. Other posters are right, if it was a more working class or 'chav' family we'd be seeing a different slant on things. I do have some sympathy with the parents of course as a parent of two small childern myself, but I'm afraid most of it goes to that poor little girl who has been so terribly (and hopefully not fatally) let down. If I knew a neighbour was locking the kids in at night and going down the pub I'd be ringing social services - why is it acceptable on holiday?

  217. At 10:50 PM on 16 May 2007, Michael H wrote:

    Matthew is right.

    We all have a great deal of sympathy for the situation that Maddie's parents find themselves in. Yet again we have a media driven frenzy in which the story becomes more important that the facts or indeed the harm being done to those involved.

    Will the media ever be able to report responsibly without trying to trash anyone in their sights in order to gain circulation? Will our politicians ever be strong enough to think for themselves instead of reacting to an overbearing and dominating media and making the mistake of thinking that the media is real public opinion?

  218. At 11:29 PM on 16 May 2007, tony a wrote:

    well said Matthew. Phew, at last the little boy has pointed out that the emperor has no clothes on.

  219. At 11:59 PM on 16 May 2007, Roger Sphanklub wrote:

    On this occasion Matthew is right, and I look forward to the next time he will be right when he springs to the defence of recently injured cyclists who have to suffer unjustified slurs on their abilities from presenters of award winning radio programmes, naming no names, of course.
    Roger Sawyer and Eddie Mair, and in that order.

  220. At 12:07 AM on 17 May 2007, jonnie wrote:

    Re: Mark Dawson # 206 - Now calm down - you are getting far to heated - but nice to know I'm not fighting alone from my corner :-)

    I did submit this earlier though it never made it! Always copy comments on Eddies Blog - they may just disappear when novices press the wrong button.

    ----------------------------------------------------

    Re : Eddie or Marc (NBP)

    Any chance of having Paul Milligan's post re-instated please!

    If the Reverend could broadcast his little piece on 'AA' there is absolutely no reason as to why Paul Milligans comment should have been removed. - If not I'd appreciate all the other comments in reference to Paul to be removed - just for archiving reasons, and to make sense. Thank you - and sorry if it's a pain :-(

    Now Mark (Dawson) :-

    The laugh or [giggle] was my gut instinct. Having been here since Day one on the blog - these sort of comments - when they do surface - *do* now make me laugh.

    I get a little more angry however when -as I've stated too many times - church ministers come out of their boxes on mainstream popular live radio broadcasts and get away with homophobic insults. Last weeks Any Answers was an excellent example, however the presenter was sipping coffee at the time ;-)

    Now we know who the culprit was I'm sure Marc (The Blog Prince) has the powers to re-instate Paul Milligans comment in full.

    A blog incidentally is a Web Log (I think).

    In the absence of Eddie (who occasionally welcomes new Bloggers (Froggers) it's nice to have you on board.

    Do try the beach :- I've been considering a new bar down there for the likes of Alan Duncan
    Simon Hughes, Matthew etc.... ;-)

  221. At 01:22 AM on 17 May 2007, Trevor H wrote:

    Matthew Parris speaks for me, as for more than 95% of the other respondents, on this matter. I imagine we might all have felt similarly during the Soham murder case! The event in Portugal, as in Soham, is dreadfully tragic for the families involved, but is not an international catastrophe.
    PM listeners rightly feel mightily reassured by the courageous Mr. Pariss. We now know we are not alone in wanting some common sense and balance to prevail. We do feel proportionate concern, but compassion fatigue quickly sours into cynicism when we have to turn our news programmes off to escape the onslaught of wall-to-wall pseudo-grief.
    Please, PM editors, think deeply about these responses on the blog here, and stand aside from the red-top "grief feste" for this and subsequent personal tragedies that lose touch with the listeners' reality.

  222. At 01:40 AM on 17 May 2007, jonnie wrote:

    To hear (on real audio streaming media) Matthews comments click on this link and spool through to 20 ' (20 minutes in)


    http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/aod/shows/rpms/radio4/pm.ram

    Eddie says he will post a link later. Alas, without permission, I can't provide an MP3 file :-(

    Should permission be granted I'll convert it for you - as I know many cannot hear the streaming format.

  223. At 02:18 AM on 17 May 2007, Nigel Booth wrote:

    I found the litany of improvident adjectives that Parris used to describe the behaviour of politicians could have been far more appropriately ascribed to the behaviour of homosexualists.

    For once it is heartening to see that the terrible travails of an ordinary decent family are capable of eliciting a collective empathetic response from the British people, politicians included, as opposed to the usual feckless minorities and "celebrities" who seem to be their usual preoccupation.

  224. At 06:51 AM on 17 May 2007, ken dodds wrote:

    Well done Mathew. I agree with all that was said and would add that coverage of the McCann case has highlighted the true meaning of democracy. In other words, we have a deeply conservative, elitist media and political system which takes care of it's 'own'. During coverage of this case I have scoured different sources for information to counter the emotive headlines and true facts of this case without success.

    On many issues the media claims to speak for the majority when in fact it is constantly reinforcing it's own views which are mostly conservative and elitist.

    As other people have commented I have no doubt that reporting on this case has been scewed because of the professional status of the parents. Protectionism is still an obvious benefit of the class system

  225. At 07:31 AM on 17 May 2007, M Kay wrote:

    Absolutely!

  226. At 08:06 AM on 17 May 2007, I Garrett wrote:

    As ever matthew Parris is prepared to say what many of us have been thinking but were probably afraid of being thought callous and cruel. Well done Matthew, more power to your elbow.

  227. At 08:50 AM on 17 May 2007, Christopher Snook wrote:

    Well done Mathew Paris. For the past week I have been feeling uneasy about the blanket coverage of the abduction of Madeleine. I feel desperately sorry for the family and for the horrific experience that the little girl is going through. But why do politicians and so called celebrities feel the need to comment in this particular case. Terrible things happen everyday to children and adults alike all over the world. So why does David Beckham, for example , choose this particular instance to make an appeal? I wonder if a newly arrived immigrant had a child abducted whether it would make front page news and have footballers and politicians falling over themselves to help. To finish I truly hope that little Madeleine is found safe and well soon.

  228. At 08:58 AM on 17 May 2007, S Parker wrote:

    Matthew, Blah, BLah, Blah, Bleet ,Bleet ,Bleet, but what have YOU done today to help get Madeleine back ?

  229. At 09:09 AM on 17 May 2007, Simon Worrall wrote:

    Paul Milligan (8);
    I'd have to say, given the overwhelming balance of posts on this subject, that you're in a tiny minority. 227 posts currently, less than 10 supporting your point of view.

    I'm a Dad of two young girls and this media feeding frenzy, with the concommitant political thread yesterday, leaves me cold. It hasn't engaged me in the slightest. I wish that the BBC and others would pull out their satellite lorries and leave the police to get on with the job, and the McCann's to wonder why they left their small children on their own whilst they were enjoying an evening out with their mates.

    I'm probably going to get bitten for that last comment, but I would never leave kids, especially very young ones, on their own in any situation and cannot imagine why they did. A perfectly good babysitting service was provided in their holiday village, to be used for this kind of situation. Why didn't they use it?

    Matthew Parris is absolutely correct, as he is about many things he comments on. He risked vilification if he'd have misread the general mood.

    I seem to recall that good old Boris Johnson did a similar thing passing comment on the city of Liverpool over the Ken Bigley murder. Johnson was hung out to dry over that. He was wrong in the detail, Liverpool didn't give in to maudlin sentiment about that unfortunate event, the Cathedral service was actually sparsely attended. But there was a similar media frenzy about it all, which gave that impression to the public.

    And a good percentage of the nation did the same thing when Diana died in Paris, with Kensington Palace looking like the aftermath of an explosion at a flower wholesellers. Remember the entirely unwonted (no mis-spelling) public reaction in those days. Now we're all sick to death of hearing the latest twist in the ongoing coroners court saga with Fayed.

    Si.

  230. At 09:13 AM on 17 May 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    Happy Birthday, Alan Johnston.

    May it not be long before you are able to celebrate with your family.

    Any expression of solidarity for his safe return will, I hope, be genuine and won't be regarded as another emotional bandwagon.

  231. At 09:15 AM on 17 May 2007, Prabhat wrote:

    Eddie, Thank you for bringing on Matthew Parris and his comments were, as always, spot on. As I switched PM on yesterday, the first news item was John Prescott giving his best side to a very personal grief. It was nauseating. Then, thankfully, some one plucked the courage to put the grief and political response in its perspective. It is a private and personal grief and I hope media recognises this. We can feel and understand the loss and empathise with the parents but what we have today is utter horror.

  232. At 09:24 AM on 17 May 2007, jonnie wrote:

    Re Nigel Booth # 225
    who wrote:-

    I found the litany of improvident adjectives that Parris used to describe the behaviour of politicians could have been far more appropriately ascribed to the behaviour of homosexualists.
    -------------- - - --------------- - - ----------- -
    Nigel - were you just trying to seek a reaction - or implying that 'homosexuals' were a feckless minoritiy? as you referred to later on in your post.

    Are you perhaps unsure of your own sexuality?

  233. At 09:26 AM on 17 May 2007, Gillian wrote:

    Nigel Booth (225) I am a married heterosexual woman who supports the gay ''cause''. Does this entitle me to call myself a 'homosexualist'?!
    No ''normal decent family'' I know of would have left such young children on their own for 5 minutes, let alone half an hour. That said, my heart goes out to all parents whose children are missing. I cannot imagine their terrible agony. Why is it that we have never heard of most of them? Which politician is taking up their cause?

  234. At 09:34 AM on 17 May 2007, Helen Kaye wrote:

    I don't understand. So many times does the 'child point out that the emperor has no clothes', yet the emperor is still running the country!!! WHY???? What do we have to do to motivate the ordinary people to sort this situation out? Or is everyone so busy trying to a) work the system or b) work enough to earn enough to pay the rent & put food on the table? Incidentally, oppression of the people by indirect means keeps the oppressor in power long after his time is over...

    Big Sister, you're right, there's nothing wrong with politicians wanting to live like ordinary people, but if only they were really prepared to do so - I can't see it, really, can you? Living on minimum wage? Wondering where the next meal's coming from? Looking aghast at the amount of 'ordinary people's' tax contribution being spent on the civil service and, yes, politicians' wages (and expense claims)...When will politicians realise that they will never be 'ordinary', that's why they're in politics, but should start leading instead of following and get a sense of dignity, integrity and perspective.

    And yes, what about all the other parents whose children have been lost or stolen, and who have no hope of getting the kind of financial, media or political backing that this family is getting? Will the money being poured into this one fund be used to help find all those other children too? Just because a family asks to meet a politician doesn't mean they'll actually get a meeting - Brown's communications agent obviously spotted the opportunity & selected the McCanns as worth being associated with. It's sickening and there are many more worthy issues requiring politicians' attention that don't get a look-in.

    In response to the person who asked why the parents were leaving the children unattended...I agree. However, children have always been running around in streets with their mates & without adult supervision...but now the power of instant communication makes it easier to report on a missing/kidnapped child whereas in the past no-one knew and the family suffered privately or within their own circle, not internationally.

    PS Is now the right time to set up a 'None of the Above' party (NOTA)???

  235. At 09:53 AM on 17 May 2007, DI Wyman wrote:

    Well done Mathew for voicing what probably very many people have been thinking.

    Although it must be a very traumatic for all the family the coverage is excessive and intrusive.

    I am still haunted by MT's interviews on Today last week. But because that sort of reporting does not suit the domestic market it is buried.

  236. At 09:54 AM on 17 May 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    Gillian: I have to agree with you (and another posting earlier) that I am utterly perplexed that three tiny children were left in this way as the hazards within a home are many. And that without the fear and panic which young children feel if they wake up in the night needing mummy or daddy and not finding them there .....

    I'm absolutely certain that her parents bitterly regret having gone for that meal. The clock can't be turned back now - and they are clearly suffering (as would any parent) which will be their lifelong torment for being imprudent.

    While there is doubt over the little girl's fate, this is an issue which is whispered about, or referred to cautiously. Understandable, of course. But it is certainly a matter that needs to be talked about more candidly eventually. It is not enough for parents to have guidelines on these matters, or to know that they face prosecution if they are deemed to have neglected their children. It should be set out quite clearly that children of a certain age require supervision - i.e. that there must be a responsible adult with them - at all times, not always perhaps in the same room, but certainly within the same individual unit protected by front and back door.

    Not, of course, that this is totally foolproof, as the case of the little girl abducted two Christmases ago illustrates. But to leave three toddlers unsupervised like this is, frankly, silly.

  237. At 10:19 AM on 17 May 2007, joy wrote:

    Just adding to the 'go Matthew' camp. I don't think I'm (hope I'm not) heartless but I also felt relieved to hear someone say what I felt. Sad, nightmare, but what about all the other lost children? Where does private stop and public begin? 'Dianification'- what a good word, haven't heard it before.

  238. At 10:20 AM on 17 May 2007, M.Thatcher wrote:

    Did I hear a request on your programme for a ten word comment on ten years of Tony Blair?
    Here’s mine:

    Socialism; probably the best-disguised pyramid selling scam ever devised.

  239. At 10:21 AM on 17 May 2007, Mark Whiffen wrote:

    Mr Parris is certainly correct. The whole thing is nauseating.
    And now there is a reward of 2.5 million, just for one girl. Do these people offer millions to starving and abused children from around the world? Do they offer millions to save endangered species such as tigers and great apes? Or millions to stop the destruction of forests, which affects us all through global warming? Of course they don't. Children disappear from the streets every day in countries in South America - where are the rewards for the return of these children?

  240. At 10:28 AM on 17 May 2007, Fiona wrote:

    Gosh he has certainly provoked a reaction here hasn't he! I'm afraid I have to, for the most part, go along with the masses. I think perhaps he may have been a little too strong in his condemnation - after all was it not the family themselves pushing for political intervention and attention. However I really do struggle to see what on earth politicians could actually do? The child is missing - end of story! Its a police investigation and the police alone should be dealing with it. Had she been taken hostage and the kidnappers made themselves known then perhaps politicians can play some part. However in this case the police must be left to get on with what is the absolute top priority and that is finding her safe and well. I do find the constant publicity hunting slightly strange I have to say - of course having never been in that situation myself I have no idea how I would react. Perhaps I would be the same, constantly pushing to keep the story in the media, I just dont know but it doesnt feel right somehow. Perhaps there is a need to deflect attention away from the fact that they were left? But until ALL of the real facts come to light none of us should be passing judgement. I have heard so many conflicting stories about how far the restaurant was, and variations in the timings of their checks. I have also thought long and hard about myself and if we would have done the same and I have to say I would not. We have left our children in hotel rooms while we dined downstairs, but always with baby listening. Usually we have them in a buggy asleep with us while dining out on holiday. However, it really is not our place to judge - none of us as perfect parents 100% of the time. So lets just leave the stone throwing to those without sin shall we? But yes in conclusion I do tend to go along with the vast majority. I feel desperately desperately sorry for the parents and pray for her safe return - but please let us not forget of the many other thousands of people who disappear every year, children who are abused, or who suffer unimaginable horrors in war zones etc etc... Lets focus our attention on how we can make the world a safer, kinder place..... and that is what Politicians should focus on, not single out one individual case.

  241. At 10:30 AM on 17 May 2007, Vyle Hernia wrote:

    I may not be fully qualified to comment, as I have not heard the Parris interview, but from what I've read here I think he was right.
    I would also give him credit if he didn't take the opportunity to promote the "Gay Cause", which he usually does in "Great Lives".

    As stated elsewhere, I also dislike the fact that the UK broadcasters send their normal newsreaders off to the fray as if their local people are not up to the job of reporting professionally.

    On the other hand, it was said last night that the family are trying to keep the story in the news, so it looks as if they are succeeding. And if the politicians hadn't said anything, they'd have been accused of not caring.

  242. At 10:38 AM on 17 May 2007, Sue wrote:

    Helen Kaye (235): The emperor is still running the country for precisely the reasons you describe. In the 1980s relaxation of credit restrictions, sale of council houses and insufficient housing stock led to the boom in house prices which left many people with negative equity. More recently low interest rates coupled with lax lending have led to another boom which has left key workers unable to afford to buy their own homes and record numbers of bankruptcies. In these circumstances, most parents are forced into working (in our area back-to-back shifts) which leads to poor supervision of children, poor family nutrition (no time to cook) and no chance of people getting involved in civic projects like residents' associations, local or national government, or even PTA's.

    In addition, central government appears to have lost sight of the idea of public service. A few years ago I worked for an MP and was shocked at the arrogant replies ministers gave to constituents' letters, particularly problems raised by pensioners, and people who were disabled, single parents, homeless, mentally and physically ill, or refugees (ie anyone who wasn't economically 'viable'). Have you tried complaining about anything recently? Wall of silence. No wonder people have given up.

    Sorry this is way off topic, but I didn't know where else to post it.

  243. At 10:39 AM on 17 May 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    Helen Kaye: You're absolutely right - most politicians don't face the daily hardships of many households. I don't think we can castigate them for that, however, but we can ask them to try it out sometimes.

    Michael Portillo referred yesterday on PM to his experiences when he took over the role of a single mum - a programme which I watched and hugey enjoyed at the time. Perhaps all politicians should undertake similar experiments? I think others have - but perhaps it needs to be 'required practice'? ;o)

    NOTA - Sounds good to me!

  244. At 10:42 AM on 17 May 2007, Gary Trader wrote:

    Yes, he's right.
    And what a relief for so many of us to hear it said.
    Of course we feel sympathy for the parents - though why they left their children alone, and thought it was acceptable behaviour, is still a mystery to me. But this is now bordering on the ludicrous. Politicians are jumping onto a perceived bandwagon, but I agree that the Media is mainly to blame. I wonder how the child's family will feel when the inevitable boredom kicks in and the Media Circus moves on...

  245. At 10:51 AM on 17 May 2007, Paul Davies wrote:

    Yes, he's right.

    I'm always disconcerted by the style and intensity of coverage that child abductions receive. The thirst for detail betrays paedophile tendencies in the media and their audience, masquerading as outrage and support. Of course, there is plenty of genuine and proper sympathy and concern for this little girl and her family, but you can feel that without wallowing in the reports and salivating at every development.

    And how that pretty young face is selling newspapers!

  246. At 11:10 AM on 17 May 2007, Dan Adam wrote:

    I hope PM will report the overwhelming support for MP's views, and that the BBC will reconsider its response when similar circumstances arise as they will. As many contributors have noted the sending of prominent BBC 'faces' to the Algarve is wholly disproportionate, adds nothing to the reporting but gives the impression the the BBC sees this as the most important news item on the planet. It isn't.

  247. At 11:29 AM on 17 May 2007, Helen Kaye wrote:

    Sue (243) - That's the problem - there IS nowhere to post such opposing views, without getting moderated out of the thread!!! Or if there is, it certainly isn't well publicised. (I wonder why...). Anyone know of one we could all get involved with?

  248. At 11:29 AM on 17 May 2007, Nigel N wrote:

    Fiona Johnstone (49), Nigel (112/130) (not me, by the way) and Vyle Hernia (242) are about the only froggers to mention the way that Madeleine's family appear to have been driving this circus. Lynne Geldart (180) comments on what the non-R4 listener may think, and Simon (181) acknowledges that if MParris was still an MP he would not be able to have made such outspoken comments.

    While I totally agree with MParris, one has to ask what today's headlines would have been in the tabloids and Sky if Gordon Brown et al had refused to see the family, or if Stephen Dorrel had not asked his question in Parliament. This is possibly another example of the power of the Media over our elected representatives. No doubt the media will eventually show their power over Madeleine's parents too, when they suddenly drop the story and leave them feeling totally deserted.

    Where did all these yellow ribbons come from? If they were sent to all MPs, then the issue is not one of choosing to wear the ribbon, but more a case of choosing not to wear it and refusing to give support (how would froggers react if someone knocked on their door and asked them to sign a petition in support of Madeleine?).

  249. At 11:30 AM on 17 May 2007, jonnie wrote:

    Re Vyle #242

    Matthew made no reference to the 'Gay cause' - whatever you presume that to mean?

    Why would he have done.

    The only references made were from Radio 4 bigots I'm afraid.

  250. At 11:34 AM on 17 May 2007, Bunc wrote:

    #246. Had you ever actually dealt with paedophiles like I have you would not equate the thirst for detail by the media and the public with paedophilia and suggest it betrays "paedophile tendencies". Your comment is frankly udicrous.

    It is a well known human psychological tendancy to be drawn to the detail of human tragedy - this does not make it ghoulish although for a small number this is undoubtedly the motivation.

    The modern media makes events in distant parts of the world that happen to strangers feel as though they are on our doorstep. This explains why people feel such strong emotions and react in the way they do to events such as these.

    In the past before 24 hr news we would have heard about an incident like this some time after the event and would feel much more removed from it. Hence the emotional reaction to it would be much less.

    The problem is not so much that people are reacting strongly - it is that there is a need to turn this reaction into longer term action against child abduction.

    Clearly the message to parents not to leave young children alone must be pressed home. On the back of this there should be more publicity about other children who dissapear. If the public and media reaction can be channelled in such ways then some good could come of this tragedy.

  251. At 11:34 AM on 17 May 2007, admin annie wrote:

    The sad thing about this is that the media circus doesn't really surprise me. Some years ago I read a report in the Sunday Times magazine about the Ben Needham case - it was a couple of years after Ben had been taken. The journalist who wrote the story had obviously been very concerned about what he found out about the British response to the initial abduction - as I recall the consul wouldn't give up his weekend to stir up local police whoi didn;t seem to be doing much or meet with the family. The journo asked the consul straight out ' If it had been me who had had a child abducted, middle class, articulate, a journalist, weekend or no weekend you would have been on the case straight away wouldn't you? and the consul admitted that was true.
    I found that sickening at the time and I still find it sickening, and of course as many of us have already pointed out, the media's reaction would have been very different in the current case if Maddy's parents had been of a different class or colour or, equally sadly, if Maddy hadn't been a cute blonde 4 year old.

  252. At 11:40 AM on 17 May 2007, The Stainless Steel Cat wrote:

    At the risk of seeming to jump onto *this* bandwagon - I've only just had a chance to Listen Again to the first half of the programme which I missed - I agree with Matthew Paris.

    Still, MPs are just doing what most of them do all the time: jumping on the latest trend whatever it is. I mostly blame the hysterical media reaction to this, and I agree with those who point out that Madelaine wouldn't have got so much coverage if she wasn't a photogenic wee lass from a middle-class background.

    I suppose it's mostly down to 24-hour news channels having to fill so much air-time, but when we see a BBC News 24 reporter outside a "suspect's" villa, interviewing another BBC News 24 reporter about what she saw when the police taped up the surrounding area - "They put the tape up and wouldn't tell us anything" - that's just inventing trivia and passing it off as news.

    I hope Matthew Paris gets more coverage on this and hopefully a few MPs and journalists will come to their senses.

    MP for PM! Not EM's PM, of course, I mean GB PM instead of GB MP for PM.

  253. At 11:42 AM on 17 May 2007, Helen Kaye wrote:

    Pople have always left kids on their own. What about the ones that walk to school alone? More legislation to prosecute or control parents' activities is the last thing we need - that only encourages people not to take responsibility for their own actions ('well, no-one told me not to do that' despite the fact that my common sense tells me it's daft).

    Legislation should only be brought in if someone is prepared to police it properly - witness the number of people parking on double yellow lines where no-one's checking up on them; witness the number of people abusing the social security system because no-one's prepared to police that properly. Leave people to their own devices & they soon learn what works & what doesn't - I can see lots of parents keeping their children on quite a short leash over the next few weeks, can't you?

    There's so much more going on here than just the missing child - there are issues of society, social responsibility, compassion to friends, neighbours and adversaries, ethics, moral standpoints, 'do unto others as you would have done unto you' (which is not a religious viewpoint but, let's face it, actually quite a nice way of living)...both within this country and worldwide.

    And without proper leadership from the top, there is not much chance of the whole population buying into the kindness thing. Why bother, when the role models are media-hyped entertainment superstars and grubby politicians trying to look good while feathering their own nest in the background so they get a good payoff when they get kicked out???

  254. At 11:48 AM on 17 May 2007, Anne P. wrote:

    I seem to recall that Matthew Parris was (possibly the first?) MP to attempt to live for a week on the dole some 20 years or so ago.

  255. At 11:51 AM on 17 May 2007, andrew mashkov wrote:

    Actually, please leave Paul Milligan's post on the blog [a few minutes ago I sent a complaint about it for its homophobic tone]. Other posters have ridiculed his comments or responded to his offensiveness - and that's fine by me. It's actually quite good for all to see the unsophisticated and truly bizarre mentality of some of the madder members of the R4/PM audience. Oh, and yes, Parris WAS right...

  256. At 12:07 PM on 17 May 2007, Simon Beattie wrote:

    Totally agree with Matthew Parris. This whole situation has spiralled ever downwards into a media frenzy with no real result.

    Although I can see the anguish that the parents must be suffering, I cannot help but think that the setting up of a webpage and the meeting with Politicians smacks of "15 Mins of Fame"

    I wish more people were honest in this world and had the guts to speak their minds rather than follow like sheep.

  257. At 12:08 PM on 17 May 2007, Eddie Mair wrote:

    Dan (248) yours is one of a number of comments suggesting that PM should report things on the blog. As far as we are concerned, this public forum is part of PM. Sometimes, parts of it will get on the radio, other times not. We don't see the Blog as a second class outlet, and I'm constantly (about five times last night I think) referring our three and a half million listeners to it.

  258. At 12:11 PM on 17 May 2007, jonnie wrote:

    For those of you who are having problems with the Real audio stream - I've MP3's it below.

    It's 3 MB so wait a few seconds for the download.

    http://cransley.bulldoghome.com/pages/cransley_bulldoghome_com/pm/Matthew.MP3

  259. At 12:13 PM on 17 May 2007, Eddie Mair wrote:

    Dan (248) yours is one of a number of comments suggesting that PM should report things on the blog. As far as we are concerned, this public forum is part of PM. Sometimes, parts of it will get on the radio, other times not. We don't see the Blog as a second class outlet, and I'm constantly (about five times last night I think) referring our three and a half million listeners to it.

  260. At 12:16 PM on 17 May 2007, Chris Burrell wrote:

    In my experience, for every one person who takes the time to stop and write, complain, join in, contribute; there are about ten thousand others who feel the same way, are saying the same things to each other but just don't take (or have) the time. In which case most of the country has posted here and the message is..

    --THEY DON'T LIKE IT--

    We live in fragile times, with fragile systems to cope with things. Politics is no longer applicable, all these postings from people about the comments from Matthew show that.

    -- NONE OF THE ABOVE --
    (NOTA) from Helen Kaye.

    At least if NOTA existed it would keep them all on their toes.

    How can people engage politics if they don't agree with it? That's right, vote for the one you dislike the least, try explaining that to someone who is knocking their peg out trying to keep their head above water.

  261. At 12:20 PM on 17 May 2007, Chris Burrell wrote:

    In my experience, for every one person who takes the time to stop and write, complain, join in, contribute; there are about ten thousand others who feel the same way, are saying the same things to each other but just don't take (or have) the time. In which case most of the country has posted here and the message is..

    --THEY DON'T LIKE IT--

    We live in fragile times, with fragile systems to cope with things. Politics is no longer applicable, all these postings from people about the comments from Matthew show that.

    -- NONE OF THE ABOVE --
    (NOTA) from Helen Kaye.

    At least if NOTA existed it would keep them all on their toes.

    How can people engage politics if they don't agree with it? That's right, vote for the one you dislike the least, try explaining that to someone who is knocking their peg out trying to keep their head above water.

  262. At 12:31 PM on 17 May 2007, DI Wyman wrote:

    Eddie, hear..hear..point well made.

    The PM Blog is a forum for both serious and the not so serious discussion and not another news channel.

  263. At 12:47 PM on 17 May 2007, ken wrote:

    I have already agreed with Mathew Parris. I am heartened to see common sense prevail on this medium. I read the Telegraph this morning with absolute disgust regarding the ongoing reporting of this case. IF THE MEDIA CANNOT ALLOW ITSELF ANY DIGNITY IT SHOULD ALLOW MADELEINE McCann DIGNITY WHATEVER HER CURRENT SITUATION.

  264. At 12:53 PM on 17 May 2007, Fifi wrote:

    I find it interesting that :

    * there is a small but articulate minority on this blog who are still prepared to give politicians the benefit of the doubt

    * the early comment, suggesting that homosexuals and childless people can't or don't care about little Maddy's plight, has apparently offended heteros far more than homosexual froggers

    * there are two opposing but (I find) equally persuasive points of view regarding the rights/wrongs of leaving small children unattended

    Matthew Parris's outburst was a breath of fresh air at the time. However it should be remembered that he's a columnist, paid to express opinions strongly; rather than a reporter, paid to report facts accurately.

    I hope that those still reading this thread as we scamper merrily towards 300 postings won't be put off either the blog or PM because of this story and the strong feelings expressed here.

    This is wonderful debate and we should be proud to be participating in it - whether we're in the majority camp or not.

    Fifi

  265. At 12:54 PM on 17 May 2007, jonnie wrote:

    Re Helen Kaye (249)

    Unless I'm very much mistaken the 'moderation for opposing views' is pretty much minimal. I think a loyt of posts disappear as spam (or so we have been told)

    If you do have problems you can always post on the froggers site (link above) which is instant and unmoderated - unless someone objected to your comment and requested it to be removed.

  266. At 12:56 PM on 17 May 2007, Simon Worrall wrote:

    Sue (244);
    Use the 'Furrowed Brow' thread for matters which perplex you but don't seem to have a proper home thread.

    Helen Kaye (249);
    It is known that the mods operate entirely independently of the BBC. Marc - the New Blog Prince (Bloggers contact at PM responsible for the Blog) has previously given some indications as to why things are moderated out. Too long, profanity, use of web links and others. This comment has also generated pretty much a record response for the Blog, and in less than a day. The Blog does have a moderators delay before posts appear, which would be exacerbated by high volumes.

    And it's worth noting than Sue didn't have *opposing views* to this topic, she was on a different theme completely and didn't know where else to put her comment.

    Jonnie (251);
    Vyle was referring to Parris' 'Great Lives' series on R4, which I listen to whenever I can. At the risk of trying to read his mind he seems to be of the opinion that it features gay people more than they warrant. (Correct Vyle?). And that he is using his work to advance some kind of gay agenda. Personally I don't buy into it, but this weeks subject was an early C20th black poet from Jamaica who was gay. I haven't noticed an outrageously 'Gay Agenda' in the many programmes he listens to though.

    Bunc (252);
    Quite right. Paul Davies is way out of order on that one.

    Fifi (266 currently);
    Hear, hear!

    Oh no. The Ed-meister himself suffers from the double-post!

    Si.

  267. At 01:11 PM on 17 May 2007, Sibyl Ruth wrote:

    I would kiss Matthew Parris if that was not lacking in dignity and distance...

  268. At 01:30 PM on 17 May 2007, Chris Flack wrote:

    I completely agree with Mathew Parris about the falseness of this "conspicuous compassion" that inevitably ensues from these media led hysterias. The voyeurism of such tragic events is quite depression and the BBC's role in the Madelaine media circus has been quite disgraceful. Why was Huw Edwards flown out to Portugal to stand under a tree telling us nothing? This counter culture view is rarely aired but in my view much supported by the British public.

  269. At 01:37 PM on 17 May 2007, Paul Davies wrote:

    Way out of order or not, I still maintain that the nature of the coverage, in some quarters at least, panders to paedophile tendencies in the population at large. To me, this is an obvious conclusion to draw from the fact that there always seems to be, abhorrently in my opinion, a direct correlation between the physical attractiveness of the child or children in question and the degree of media interest.

    For the record (Bunc 252), I have worked quite extensively with sex offenders on probation.

  270. At 01:39 PM on 17 May 2007, jonnie wrote:

    Re Si Worrall (#268)

    Simon wrote:

    Jonnie (251);
    Vyle was referring to Parris' 'Great Lives' series on R4, which I listen to whenever I can. At the risk of trying to read his mind he seems to be of the opinion that it features gay people more than they warrant. (Correct Vyle?). And that he is using his work to advance some kind of gay agenda. Personally I don't buy into it, but this weeks subject was an early C20th black poet from Jamaica who was gay. I haven't noticed an outrageously 'Gay Agenda' in the many programmes he listens to though.

    -------------------------------------------------------

    The fact is Si - and Vyle. The current topic of the thread is 'Are politicians muscleing in on the grief of a family who have had their daughter stolen' -- or words to that effect.

    Matthew Parris's sexuality has absolutely *nothing* to do with his viewpoint. In fact there is / was - no reason for anyone to even mention that Matthew is a gay man.

    The initial comment that sparked this was from Paul Milligan - it's currently back on the blog at number 8 (pop pickers)

  271. At 01:40 PM on 17 May 2007, Jo Christie-Smith wrote:

    Agree with Ben (3), Fearless Fred (73), Bess (75) and many more.

    This is media hype and does not help in finding the child.

    Any politician who goes out looking to make publicity for themselves out of this should be rightly censored; however, my feeling is that this is a media driven hype not a politician's one.

    If, after all, a politican is asked for their views what else are they supposed to answer - that they don't care?

    We all care whether this little girl is found and all, even those of us without children, feel deeply for the distress her parents and family must be feeling.

    A few days ago we were all hearing the harrowing tales of the young lady in the congo and how she had lost her family and her children. Why are the british media not sending out their anchormen and setting up their outside broad cast units there?

  272. At 01:52 PM on 17 May 2007, John H. wrote:

    Well said Fifi (about 266).

  273. At 01:52 PM on 17 May 2007, Jo Christie-Smith wrote:

    If we have a 'none of the above' option and the majority vote for it then who would run the country/council/assembly?

    The fact is that NOTA cannot run the country; we have to choose from actual people.

    Now, if we don't like the group of people who put themselves up to be elected then surely the only response is to go and do something about it ourselves, instead of just wrinkling up our noses because we don't like the smell?

    In my experience there is a full range of abiilties and characters putting themselves up for election..some of them are worth every penny of their salary and more but some are not..it depends on the individual.

  274. At 01:57 PM on 17 May 2007, Vyle Hernia wrote:

    Jonnie,

    Thank you for bringing us back to earth. I mentioned the "Gay cause" because of Gillian at
    235.

    WRT Great Lives, I don't think Mr Parris deals with too many "Gay" folk, but recently he was suggesting that one of the subjects may have been (and received a negative reply from the expert witness).

    I reiterate that I agree with his sentiments about the politicians jumping on a bandwagon - and I agree with you on many things too.

    Now I'm off North so won't be frogging before Monday.

  275. At 02:08 PM on 17 May 2007, Robert Grover wrote:

    As ever Matthew Parris is correct and to be praised for saying so in public. The media circus coverage is way out of proportion for the story. As a parent of two girls of course I feel for the situation the McCanns are in but if this was the child of a single parent from a sink estate in Liverpool we all know the tabloid coverage would be of a different tone. And multi billionaires and celebrities would not be jumping on the bandwagon in the same way.

    Matthew Parris should be given more time and to sahre his insights with us - always a pleasure to listen to him

  276. At 02:08 PM on 17 May 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Matthew Parris is right, and it has nothing to do with his orientation. I can't be bothered to follow up this thread which seems to have set felines amongst avia of all sorts. The media circus is but a diversion, and will do nothing to help the poor wee girl, whether she's still alive or not.

    Silent prayers and thoughts for her kin folk are appropriate. And may the authorities be successful in identifying the culprit(s)

    xx
    ed

  277. At 02:14 PM on 17 May 2007, Hick wrote:

    i am relieved by many of the comments above, the mawkish delight the population seem to be indulging in repulses me, and has little to do with genuine grief for the situation.

  278. At 02:51 PM on 17 May 2007, Simon Worrall wrote:

    Paul D.;
    By your argument, the fact that anyone watches the news coverage highlights a national paedophile tendency? Get real! Is a substantial proportion of the nation that way inclined, complicit because they watch the 6 o'clock news? I think not. You assume too much without demonstrating any support for your assertion. These things are easy to say, but where is your proof?

    Vyle;
    The bit I would take issue with in that post of yours (243) is the second sentence, where you state "I would also give him credit if he didn't take the opportunity to promote the "Gay Cause", which he usually does in "Great Lives"."

    That seems to point towards mild homophobia, that you withhold credit from Parris because you think that he is advancing his own personal agenda through his R4 programme?

    I may have misunderstood you on this point, but it seems fairly clear to me. It seems that Jonnie may well have interpreted it this way also and taken umbrage?

    My comment at (268) was to try and point out that, if I DID understand you, then I think that you are mistaken, I detect no significant bias in that programme.

    Jonnie (272);
    I agree with you, it's an irrelevance. And in (231) I made my comments about Mr. Milligan's idiotic post. Some people will go off on one like that, sadly. I'm just trying to point out that IMHO anyone who conflates Parris' comments with his orientation and then extends that argument to some bizarre theory concerning paedophilia being generic in the population (as Paul Davies does) is barking up the wrong tree.

    Not only is his sexuality irrelevant in this argument, so is his gender, lack of children and the whole 'Were all paedophiles for watching it' argument propounded above.

    He is a person with a strong opinion. He is not afriad to express that opinion and risk personal vilification. Indeed he may be paid to do so. He is seen here to be supported by about 97% of those who have bothered to express an opinion. that's conclusive enough for me.

    For the record; I'm a fan of Parris. I liked his Parliamentary Sketch in the Times when he was writing that column. I like much of his ongoing writing for that paper. I have much sympathy with his point of view on most topics, though not all.

    Si.

  279. At 03:37 PM on 17 May 2007, RJD wrote:

    Si (currently 280) - As the chances of it happening again, given past disagreement, are pretty small, can I say that I agree with everything you say in your post.

    I didn't hear that part of PM last night but got a good report from Mrs RJD and I'm glad to see that the overwhelming majority of postings are very supportive of what Parris said.

    I too am a fan of Matthew Parris – I’ve always thought he is too good a guy to be a Tory! ;o)


  280. At 03:48 PM on 17 May 2007, julie wrote:

    I agree with Mathew. Well done. What can I say about the media. I do agree with the notion of a national paedophile tendency. Where is the proof. All around. The sexualisation of young children relating to how many of them are allowed to dress. The constant showing of this little girls picture along with the constant reference to paedephilia makes me feel very uneasy.

    The very fact that the News of the World and tabloids splash her picture alongside pictures of females who are themselves sexualised. I'm not being prude here but, there are associations.

    Yesterday I thought all this coverage must be a paedaphiles dream come true. I'm pleased someone has had the guts to make the link.

  281. At 04:04 PM on 17 May 2007, Paul Davies wrote:

    SW; I think you're missing the point of my last post, which certainly didn't imply that anyone who follows the story is a paedophile. But since you ask, I do actually think paedophile tendencies are quite widespread in the population at large, although mostly latent. (I'm not sure what you mean by "generic in the population".) I haven't done a survey myself - it's quite a difficult question to phrase - but I'd be very surprised if I'm the first person to make this claim. It isn't a bizarre theory, but it may be one you do not agree with.

    And I certainly didn't reach this opinion as an extension of Matthew Parris' sexual orientation, about which I couldn't care less.

    Not that this was really the original topic of the blog, you're right.

  282. At 04:09 PM on 17 May 2007, witchiwoman wrote:

    I missed this part of the programme last night but I think I have the gist of it. It sounds as if Matthew has voiced something than many of us have thought - not only political bandwagon jumping but the over sentimentalisation of media coverage and the public in general.

    Maddy's disappearance is a tragedy but tragedies happen in this country to younger children in their own homes daily.

    A bit of balance please.

  283. At 04:40 PM on 17 May 2007, Paul Gledhill wrote:

    I'm wondering if the large number of postings has somehow disrupted the system - no email and no new topics started by his nibs.

  284. At 05:08 PM on 17 May 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    The team love a big response, I'll bet

    xx
    ed

  285. At 05:25 PM on 17 May 2007, vince Russell wrote:

    Most politicians are morally bankrupt. They are not in politics for the people as there is no democracy. Political correctness isn/t so called without reason.

  286. At 05:33 PM on 17 May 2007, Martin Morey wrote:

    Matthew has a good point, but it would be a brave MP who chose not to beat his breast and wail. He was right when he said it needs a little more reserve. This is a private and awful incident. We, the public, need to know, so that we can all be the millions of eyes and ears necessary to find her, but enough is enough.

  287. At 05:35 PM on 17 May 2007, Graham wrote:

    I totally agree, and have thought the same since Blair's repellant display of crocodile tears when Princess Diana was killed. What sickens me is Gordon Brown making out he will be able in some way to help the situation. He won't: he's as powerless as the rest of us, and to pretend otherwise will not help the family one iota.

  288. At 06:08 PM on 17 May 2007, John Evans wrote:

    Just heard Matthew Parris' interview and I'm so glad someone of his notoriety can express what we all feel at this moment. It must be extremely worrying and anxious for the parents and relatives, being a parent myself now with children grown up, what I would feel if I had been in this situation. I wouldn't want this circus from politicians, they need to come down to Earth and understand us as people, what our needs are. They are becoming as bad as the press, must get in on the act. Matthew, you summed it up very well indeed! As you always have done

  289. At 07:51 PM on 17 May 2007, Lynne wrote:

    I'm with Matthew. what a disgusting spectacle! I personally don't want to hear any more about this circus until/unless the child is found, one way or the other.
    I'm pleased and surprised that the views we had been expressing at home are so widely shared by fellow bloggers. I just wish we could turn it off.

  290. At 09:10 PM on 17 May 2007, sacrebleu wrote:

    Of course he is right. The media are just as bad. I find it incredible that broadcasters (Sky News are the worst) spend 15 minutes on it each hour with a series of reporters talking to camera about virtually nothing happening or no further statement from the Portuguese Police. Let them all de-camp and get back to reporting real news.

  291. At 01:25 AM on 18 May 2007, Sally wrote:

    Matthew Parris is, as ever, totally on the ball. Anyone supporting his views should also read his column in The Spectator magazine. As a British expat living in the USA I have seen how politcians here "suck up" to public opinion. It is shameful that British policticians now follow the same route as sycophantic US politicians do. Question is.....do they really think we buy it? Answer has to be no! We are not fools.

  292. At 09:06 AM on 18 May 2007, Robert Allan wrote:

    Yes i totally agree with Matthew Parris. A further point i would like to add is that i am rather tired of elements of the media telling me 'we are a nation in mourning' every time a tragedy happens. Although i feel sympathy for the people involved when something like this happens i find it is insincere to grieve for someone i have never known.
    The parents of Maddy do not deserve this awful thing to happen but should they have left the children unsupervised in the first place? No matter that the parents were 'just around the corner' the children were left alone.

  293. At 12:21 PM on 18 May 2007, Peter Foy wrote:

    On a personal level I agree with Mathew's comments about the parading of essentially private emotions in public. Also, the TV & newspaper stance seems to have moved on from publicising Madeleine's picture & disappearance, to aimless speculation on the basis of little, or no, real evidence.

    However, I think we, the general public, try to have it both ways. If politicians & the media DO concentrate on issues like this, they are criticised for self-interested mawkishness. If on the other hand, they DON'T and are percieved to be not interested enough, then a campaign is whipped up to show how out of touch with 'ordinary people' they are.

    We, the general public, are in the fortunate position of not having to sometimes defend our private emotional responses, to events such as these, in public.

    In private we can, and do, have it both ways: finding other people's interest mawkish, and yet tuning in our TV or radio to follow the case.

  294. At 12:50 PM on 18 May 2007, Peter Williams wrote:

    Matthew Parris was correct, but I wish he had gone on to say that, despite our deep sympathy for Madeleine McCann & her family, the young girl would not have disappeared had her parents not left her and her younger siblings alone.

    Who in their right minds would leave young children unattended, especially at night in a strange place?

    It does beg the question as to how many other occasions these children had been left alone. I'm sure the Social Services will be asking some questions of Mr.&Mrs. McCann on their return home.

  295. At 06:31 PM on 18 May 2007, Christine Hainsworth wrote:

    I so agree with Matthew Paris. What is going on here? It's as though the dreadful plight of this poor little girl is being packaged as a reality TV episode with the parents starring, celebrities playing cameo roles and hundreds of people volunteering to be extras...

  296. At 07:44 PM on 18 May 2007, Bill Irvine wrote:

    Thank you Matthew. Spot on.
    All we need now are the little teddy bears( with yellow ribbon) and complaints that the flag at Buck Palace is not at half mast, closely followed by lawyers arguing over the fund.
    Nuff said.

  297. At 08:27 PM on 18 May 2007, Kamal Singh wrote:

    Thanks Matthew.. at long last some sense. Whats worse is the media .. I never thought the BBC would pursue this story as much as they have done. They have a correspondant reporting from the McCanns Leistershire home which is complete waste of time and brings nothing new to this tragic story. I really feel let down .

  298. At 09:05 PM on 18 May 2007, ian pyke wrote:

    Mr Parris believes that politicians are jumping on a bandwagon for their own ends. By making these comments which are bound to cause controversy he too is jumping on the bandwagon to gain his own little bit of publicity.
    Whether the coverage is over the top or not is irrelevent. If the parents of this poor little girl gain strength from the media coverage, excessive or not, then bring it on. Let us hope that neither Mr Parris or any of the people posting on this site have to go through this horrific ordeal. As for Andy Jones' post (213) "I wonder if the media's perception of the whole case might be different if she wasn't white and from a very obviously white middle class background" What a load of racist twaddle. Look at the media coverage the Damilola Taylor case has received (quite rightly) and tell me that heavy media coverage is only available to the white, middle class!

  299. At 11:50 AM on 19 May 2007, J. K. Bromilow wrote:

    The question to ask is this: would the same coverage have been given to an unnattractive child of a obese single mother on drugs who had left the child unattended in her council flat while she drank in a pub 100 yards away?

  300. At 12:31 PM on 19 May 2007, Gillian wrote:

    Ian Pyke (299) ''Racist twaddle''? Please read Paul Canning's observation, comment number 114, where you will find some very useful information.

  301. At 05:08 PM on 13 Aug 2007, xjyqtowpz dfxctvnkz wrote:

    xurzgmp jqal obsaymnup fpmthqayi afpstom apgjqse pcuiwy

  302. At 01:52 PM on 21 Sep 2007, Tom Peckham wrote:

    I feel it is rediculous that the Govenor of the Bank of England, who has obviously great experience and qualifications in financial matters can be humilliated by being interviewed and cross examined by a bunch of politicians who's only qualification is generally "the gift of the gab" over the Northern Rock actions taken by the Bank of England!
    The Govenor of the Bank of England was put into his post to do a very specialised task. He should be allowed to get on with it without this political intervention.
    Once again it seems to be a case of politicians trying to make out that they are more important than they actually are.

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