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Do You Mind? The Blacksmith Bureau

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Do You Mind? The Blacksmith Bureau

Post  Panda on Sun 25 May - 9:59

Do You Mind? The Blacksmith Bureau

Saturday, 24 May 2014 at 19:57

Trouble & Strife

The desire for harmony among groups with possibly similar aims is an admirable one – but in this case, as in so much of life, it can't always be attained. We're not exactly arguing about cake recipes, are we? And the McCann Affair is very much not kid's stuff, except in one nauseating instance where a  group of panicking cowards (there are no other words) desecrated a child's memory by ripping up and scrawling on her sticker book.

Nope, the Affair is a high-stakes one of sudden death, greed, deception, pursuit and, ultimately, we hope, condign retribution. Strong meat! It is played out largely in the shadows, the courts and, as the Lisbon evidence amply demonstrates, here on the net. The MSP, no longer a serious player at this big table, adds its brand of Kier Simmons resentment from the sidelines, sharpened by the bitter knowledge that the industry and their own jobs have been in irrevocable decline since 2007, something forcefully demonstrated by  England's greatest prose-writer, Mr Tony Parsons, first by writing of the press's "cruel fate" and then by being turfed out of his Mirror job because that rag can no longer afford to pay him.

Against such a background disagreement is almost bound to be passionate, among allies as well as the opposition, and even a moderate and restrained journal that seeks to see the good in everybody, like the Bureau itself, has occasionally been known to make vicars, as well as Parsons, blanche. C'est la vie, c'est la guerre. One thing we rarely do, however, although we're sometimes accused of it, is attack people's opinions about the case. Not at all. Instead we demolish in the strongest possible terms opinions masquerading as fact-based conclusions, particularly about living people. And we do it largely by challenging them to produce the non-existent evidence.

Oh Please Come Back!

A wholly unexpected by-product of the ferocity of such factual onslaughts has been the collective decision by the remnants of Baldie Wright's Useful Idiots in three locations – STM, JATYK2 and Twitter – to counter the Bureau's arguments by refusing to acknowledge that they, and the Bureau itself, even exist, a decision taken behind closed doors (seriously) but which two of the poor suckers couldn't resist publicly admitting! Don't tell him, Pike!

Well that's one way of demonstrating your confidence in the truth of your own case, isn't it? Certainly we are hurt and hope they'll collectively reconsider our exclusion but, in an affair which can be described as an intellectual battle for the ear of the literate internet reader (the others are on OFM/Facebook and don't matter), a withdrawal into silence is an unwise public acceptance that the argument is lost. So we're getting there: some down, more to go.


So much for Baldie and his Wright Stuff, which is all in ruins. What about argument among the sceptics though? Here the Bureau has a problem: we're rather isolated because there is a profound and intractable underlying disagreement between us and other sceptics.

It's nothing to do with theories about what happened to the child. As we've said over and over we don't have any theory about the disappearance because the facts to support one are not available yet and we don't really do guesswork. It is not, as wild Don Rumsfeld has described them, the "known unknowns" and the "unknown unknowns" of the holiday that attract us, though we admire and defer to those who are much better sleuths than ourselves, like Dr Roberts and Johanna and many others; it's the "known knowns" of 10PM onwards that we concentrate on, in particular the lies.

Sir Brian Leveson displaying Kate McCann's autograph

Sir Brian Leveson displaying Kate McCann's autograph

Along with all the other sceptics we've been bewildered by the treatment of this dishonest pair by public figures and the media, their immunity not to prosecution, because as the AG correctly said, there is no evidence to bring one, but to scrutiny and a sense of proportion, a weird, still inexplicable, overkill in their favour. Take one example and let it stand for all in UK public life: Sir Brian Leveson. All of us who've been in courtrooms know that criminal judges keep control of their body language. They have to, since failure to do so will eventually bring an end to their careers. There is no doubt it is used, either against or in favour of the defendant, but very sparingly. So why did Leveson move from the normal graceful courtesy of a trial or tribunal to an extraordinary demonstration of puppy-like support for the pair?

When he questioned them it was in the syrupy tones of an undertaker discussing the choice of a child's coffin with the shattered parents; when he listened to them his expression was that of a consoling priest; when he thanked them for their attendance it was if he were addressing the queen. Of course they deserve the sympathy of non-sceptics but why this hyperbolic, theatrical performance? Which, as we remember, he followed with an equally un-judicial piece of ham mimicry when Pilditch described the Portuguese investigation. Then he leant back and sighed, he curled that cod-like lip in contempt, he wriggled as though he had bad piles, he raised his eyes to the roof and, finally, he mocked all the Portuguese works as "tittle-tattle". Jesus Christ!

It was by far the most extraordinary performance by a judge we've ever witnessed – and for what? What purpose did it serve? He was judge in a tribunal, for God's sake, not some Rumpole trying to make the jury sob.

Trying to explain this surreal and representative performance is the heart of the affair. The overkill is so great that many believe it has to be somehow managed from above, just like the century long claim that a cultured, powerful nobleman, not provincial, faceless Will Shakespeare must have written the greatest plays ever staged, so this unimpressive couple cannot possibly have mastered this affair on their own. There have to be powerful figures working in the background for the charade to work.

We can't share it. We see the need for explanation but we can't see any sign of hidden hands and have come to the conclusion that they don't exist. If they don't exist then the reason for the overkill must lie elsewhere and that's why we started calling the affair a psychological one, with the McCanns skilfully surfing the wave of celebrity-hood, otherwise known as extremely powerful, unexplored mass hysteria, that had been granted them.
Richard Nixon and Elvis Presley

Stoned celebrity and spellbound politician

You What?

Not the most accessible explanation, is it? Not one that the Mirror will be putting before its reader and her partner. We'll be perfectly happy to see it refuted by emerging evidence, particularly since its view of human credulity is by no means a cheerful one. Until then we seem stuck with it: it's the best we can do. And, fortunately, it doesn't imply that the progress we're seeing the police making is illusory.

Perhaps it's the subjective baggage that we, like everyone else, bring to the case that makes us see it this way. AS, whose dad was a minor showbiz celebrity, recalls the strange magic power it conferred at school, where kids who had no time for you suddenly did a creepy 180 and let you into their gang once they knew the name. What else might they do for you? And then there was JB's work years ago when, after agreeing to help a couple suing Scientology (on the grounds that they'd been successfully brainwashed), he undertook a lengthy and bizarre voyage into cult waters and group belief. Now that was weird, much weirder than any masonic garbage. But any weirder, at root, than the performance of Sir Brian Leveson? We don't think so.

And As A Footnote

For those who may actually be interested in what is essentially a pointless study of the irrational, or perhaps the truth, let's point to some recent news. The MSM has followed up on the "why was Jimmy Savile immune for so long" question (it will run for ever) with some updates involving the rather shocking lead singer of  Babyshambles under the general heading of "does celebrity protect criminals?" The interesting thing about them is that it is celebrity itself being suggested as a possible causation, not paedo rings, not celebrity's police bribery power – for almost nobody has suggested that even Savile was bribing the police, let alone the Babyshambles man.

What did the journalists actually mean? In other words, dear reader, how do you think celebrity – not ordinary fame but celebrity, which affects policemen, politicians and judges as much as anybody else – actually works to protect someone? What exactly does it do to whom? The journalists, having unintentionally posed this peculiar question, sensibly left without attempting to answer it. Nor can we.
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