The Madeline McCann case highlights Britain's true attitudes towards the EU

Despite having a bad press recently, British police are still the best in the world and the British justice system is still the best in the world and has been copied by Britain's daughters, such as the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. That may be one reason why the British have so little faith in the Portuguese police handling the case of the disappearance of British girl Madeline McCann in the Algarve. The Portuguese police do not have the resources and the experience that the British police have to deal with the case effectively.

But the other reason for British reservations about the Portuguese police's handling of the case could also stem from another Britain VS Rest of the EU attitude....

How the McCann case highlights our true attitude towards EU membership

10th September 2007
Daily Mail


The Madeleine McCann case highlights our true attitude towards membership of the European Union.

We think: "Why can't they get on top of this investigation?" They think: "Why don't they take their problems elsewhere and not destroy our tourist industry with their paedophile claims?"

We accept reluctantly a system imposed on us by politicians who concealed the loss of sovereignty it entailed, but Europe's still a themversusus affair.

Gordon Brown knows he'd have difficulty getting the new EU 'treaty' approved in a British referendum. That's why he's reluctant to have one.

Imagine how much more difficult it would be if the Portuguese drag Gerry and Kate McCann back to Praia da Luz and charge them with manslaughter.

Everton football fan Madeleine McCann: The Portuguese have their own way of solving the case - and we'd prefer her disappearance to be investigated by British methods

For true believers in the EU, the investigation into a missing child should proceed in Praia da Luz in the same way it would in Pontypool. But it doesn't.

The Portuguese have their own way of doing things. And we appear to have no confidence in them. We'd prefer Madeleine's disappearance on May 3 to be investigated by British methods.

For instance, the crime scene - a holiday apartment - sealed and searched minutely, not given a once-over, with people tramping in and out, and afterwards re-let to holidaymakers.

Madeleine's aunt, Philomena McCann, said yesterday: "The crime scene was completely desecrated.

"Literally hundreds of people went into that apartment after Madeleine was abducted. It was at least two days before any fingerprinting was done."

The Portuguese investigation was agonisingly slow. British reporters on the scene described police activity as leisurely to non-existent. It's accepted here that the first hours in such an inquiry have to be the most intense.

The "scent of death" found in Madeleine's bedroom, on her cuddly toy, on Kate McCann's clothes and in the family's hire car - a vehicle rented weeks after Madeleine went missing - was detected by British scientists, who point out that there could be an innocent explanation.

But the McCanns say police are using it to try to force them to confess to killing their child.

Viewed from here, from day one the Portuguese investigation seemed clumsy and amateur.

Now that they've made Madeleine's parents, Gerry and Kate, official suspects - apparently on the basis of forensic evidence we helped them to gather and analyse - the British headlines reflect our doubts about the whole process.

While feeding titbits casting doubt on the McCanns to their own newspapers, Portuguese investigators were able to ban the couple from talking to the Press.

So the McCanns were unable to respond to lurid allegations other than taking legal action against one paper.

At first, police focused on a half-British man living there, Robert Murat, whom they named as an official suspect, or arguido. Their evidence?

Reporters told them he'd demonstrated an unnatural interest in the investigation. But that went nowhere, although he remains an arguido.

Not all of us think the McCanns innocent, of course. To some, their narrative has never rung true.

Others think the McCanns should be prosecuted for leaving their sleeping children unsupervised.

But not even the anti-McCann group can applaud the Portuguese response to the disappearance of a three-year-old British girl.

Portugal is an old ally of Britain's (in fact, it's Britain's OLDEST ally), but the judicial process isn't the same. Portugal's derives from the nation's history and is matched to the nature of the country and its people. The same with ours.

This is why the EU's 'onesizefits-all' philosophy is so infuriating. A case like this exposes its weaknesses.

This isn't to say we can't co-operate with each other. As seagoing nations, Britain and Portugal have done so for centuries. And without British help, the police in Praia da Luz would have nothing to go on in the Madeleine case.

But would the 'evidence' they're using to make the McCanns official suspects warrant a prosecution here?

It's not that we're necessarily cleverer than the Portuguese. We do have our share of police malfunctions and malfeasance.

It's just that on occasions like this - the appalling loss of a child from an apparently respectable Roman Catholic family, whose doctor parents were comforted by the Pope but are now under suspicion - we are reminded that Europe is a continent of distinctly different nations.

We have been forced together by politicians who dream of enormous budgets, grand coalitions and world eminence, but have little time for recognising the forces that make nations act, and think, differently.
The British may have so little faith due to simple tribalism. Often, regardless of how well another country's police force works, we want 'our own' to be protected or strung up only by 'our own.'
I love the way your article ends with such bias.

Perhaps the evidence that they have accumulated ISN'T enough for prosecution. Perhaps that is why they HAVEN'T been prosecuted. Perhaps that is why the police could only try to play hardball to see if there was a spot of guilt that oozed out. Are you telling me that your own police force wouldn't at some point- and probably far earlier have considered the parents as possible suspects and have grilled them?

Next, what difference does the fact that her parents are Roman Catholic make, or that they were comforted by the Pope ? Or that they are doctors? Are you focussing on this to suggest that they therefore could not possibly be involved or that it is even more devastating somehow for them that they have been questioned?

Thirdly, Nobody FORCED the Portuguese culture on them. If you go to a foreign country, you must accept all the standards there. Poor Portugal may not have all the training you have in England, but then perhaps it hasnt had the history of bombings and personal violence that England has. It does however have a high child abuse rate and therefore is perhaps somewhat more suspicious of incidents like this.

Strange that this criticism comes from a country with such a great and advance police force that they shoot innocent Brazilians on subways.....Perhaps they should have used a bit of Portuguese slowness in THAT decision...
Why accept sloppy police work? Is this justice? Okay for others but not yourself? This Portuguese police trial balloon is sleazy.

This sounds like the slack standards of investigation Canadians see on the news about Mexico when a Canadian is killed there. Latins often have too many ideas in their heads and do not do enough down and dirty work to find out the facts.

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