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Monday, October 06, 2014 

Who's responsible? You fucking are.

We don't so much as know how Brenda Leyland, aka Sweepyface, aka the woman confronted on camera by Martin Brunt but first named by the Mail over alleged "trolling" of the parents of Madeleine McCann, died.  Only the police have decided her passing in a hotel room is not suspicious.  We don't therefore know how she lived her life other than how she used her time online, tweeting slightly less than 5,000 times over the space of three years, nearly always using the #McCanns hashtag.  We do know she had a total of 172 followers.  We also know, at least if we're to believe the Mail, that her village home was "immaculately kept".

What is known is that last week the Sunday Times agreed to pay £55,000 in damages to the McCanns over a front page story which alleged they had deliberately hindered the search for Madeleine.  Gerry McCann wrote a piece about the settlement and media behaviour generally for the Guardian that was posted online Thursday night, and published in the paper the following morning.  By sheer coincidence it would seem, Sky News (independent of but owned by the same proprietor as the Sunday Times) broadcast its report on Sweepyface the same day, its online write-up appearing just less than an hour before the Guardian story on McCann's article.  The Sunday Times has a circulation of 844,000, most of whom presumably don't read the actual right-wing comic of a newspaper and instead focus on the lavish supplements.

Madeleine McCann is still missing.  Despite media hype earlier in the year, the digging up of wasteland in Praia da Luz, new photofits of new suspects, new alleged breakthroughs, and much continued belittling of and sneering at the initial Portuguese investigation, the Metropolitan police seem no closer to discovering what happened to her.  Her disappearance coincided with the rise of social media, the death of MySpace and take-up of Facebook.  Almost everything that happened the night she disappeared has been disputed, was disputed and still is disputed.  No one knew anything.  Just that a little girl was missing.  In lieu of facts, every fiction going has been discussed, was discussed, is still being discussed.  Apportion blame all you want, to the media, to the McCanns, to the trolls, to the police, to the person or persons whom abducted her.  It doesn't alter the fact that, you, the individual, meant to be powerful, meant to be able to make judgements instantaneously and indeed, encouraged to do so, don't and can't know what happened.  What else can you do but carry on in spite of that?  It isn't about you.  You've just been made to feel that it is.

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