Wednesday, May 23, 2007

I have to say this, I'm afraid...

I have held off writing this post for nearly three weeks in the hope that I would not have to write it at all, but write it I now feel I must.

Before warming to my theme, I acknowledge that what follows will not make comfortable reading - Lord knows it doesn't make for easy writing - and will probably provoke emotions ranging from disgust, to disbelief to sheer anger in those who read it.

My topic is the 'disappearance' of Madeleine McCann, the now four-year-old daughter of a cardiologist and his GP wife, who was - presumaby - abducted from her bed in the family's holiday apartment in Portugal, whilst her parents ate a meal with friends at a nearby restaurant.

Any parent, indeed any human being, possessed of even a scrap of decency will sympathise with the agony the McCanns are now undergoing, whilst their daughter's fate is unknown. It must be truly awful for them, to say nothing of what is, or what has, happened to Madeleine herself.

But having said that, am I alone in thinking that if her parents hadn't left her alone - with their two year old twin siblings - in that room, then this entire, tragic episode would never have happened?

I have seen the distance between the apartment and the restaurant the McCanns were eating at described variously as being fifty, a hundred, or a couple of hundred yards. However far it was, it was clearly far enough to prevent either of them, or the people they were with, from seeing or hearing an intruder break into the premises and abduct their daughter, irrespective of their half-hourly checks.

In other words, they were too far away and in the middle of their agonising sleepless nights, I suspect they know it.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Poor Harry...

I've just seen on the news that the Chief of the General Staff, General Sir Richard Dannatt has announced that Prince Harry will not, after all, be deployed to Iraq.

Oh dear.

I'm sure there are sound operational reasons for his decision, not the least of which is the understandable concern over the increased risk to those he would have served with and the possibility of his being kidnapped.

I'm equally sure that the decision was not made because of who his grandmother, father and brother are.

At least I hope it wasn't; what a gift that would be to the republican cause.

Harry joined the army to be a soldier, not to be a desk-jockey; he joined to lead his troops wherever they were sent, including, if necessary, the possibility of his being put in harm's way.

General Dannatt's decision, which takes that risk away, may well prove to be the correct one for all concerned, time will tell.

Sadly, though, on a personal level, I suspect Harry will feel humiliated and even foolish every time he puts his uniform on; as if he is in some way unworthy of wearing it. I also think that he will find it very difficult to look his combat-hardened colleagues in the eye when they return to England.

I for one won't blame him if he resorts to falling out of nightclubs three sheets to the wind again.