I have a couple of things stacked up for the future that have made me think about what is the essence of Luz v Madeleine.
First, I have previously messaged the McCanns to point out that if they reach they stage of appointing a further private team, further to the shelving of Operation Grange, I am happy to get such people up to speed with key information about how Luz worked on 2007, by means of a tour on the ground.
Let me stress this would be discussion (legal in Portugal) not investigation (illegal in Portugal).
I am simply of the opinion that Operation Grange missed a major trick by studying Luz from afar, rather than touring Luz, or even better, getting a guided tour. The politics of UK v Portugal may well explain this, but all in all, it is unfortunate, and not in the best interests of Madeleine.
Let me also make it clear that I have not had any reply from the McCanns. Therefore I do not know whether this offer is under consideration, or whether my message has hit their trash folder.
However, it raises the question of what is the essence of Luz v Madeleine? What would a guided tour consist of in this instance?
I don’t believe the answer is the same as a general tour of Luz v Madeleine. There is one heck of a lot of detail that is important to someone knowledgeable about the case that would be boring trivia to someone who has a passing interest.
So this would need to be a specialist tour, not a general tour for Joe Public.
The second thing that is stacked up is I have an agreement to give a guided tour of Luz to a person visiting here in Spring. This person already has a degree of expertise in the case that suggests a specialist tour, rather than a generalist tour.
I have not discussed let alone agreed that I can reveal any further details about this person. Unless it is made clear that I can, I won’t. Please file this piece of information in your ‘undisclosed contact’ file.
Let me reiterate, if this visit/tour becomes a reality, it will be discussion about the case (legal), not investigation (illegal).
The question once again arises, what is the essence of Luz v Madeleine?
Let’s go through the candidates, shall we?
The GNR don’t often visit Luz, and when they do, their normal interest is music complaints (bars in mixed commercial/domestic blocks playing music too loudly at night) and pulling over cars re document checks (don’t ask, the laws on cars here are tortuous). Neither of these has much that is relevant to Madeleine.
As far as I know, the PJ don’t often visit Luz. I could be wrong. The news here suggests that the PJ are essentially not aware of the essence of Luz when it relates to Madeleine.
That takes us to the team from Oporto still working on the case. It appears they have done an in and out visit to Luz. Since I have little information on what they are working on, I am not really in a position to evaluate whether they have understood the essence of Luz v Madeleine.
Now we move on to Operation Grange. In this instance, based on actions taken so far, I am convinced they haven’t got a clue about Luz, even to this day.
Now, there is a theoretical question which is dancing in the air. What is the essence of Madeleine v Luz?
This is where we start to make progress.
First, it is clear that as the imminent visit to Luz approaches, I need to do a bit of preparation. Critically, I need to determine what this visitor is interested in, rather than trawling through 100% of everything in Luz that might, or might not, be connected to Madeleine.
Second, if the McCanns actually decided to activate a new team, AND decided to take up my offer, then the same issue arises. Would that team be interested in a cover-everything tour of Luz, or would it wish to focus on more specific topics?
Third, into the mix we can throw Textusa. Deliberately on my part, I have not rechecked this information – I am doing it from memory.
Textusa had what might be called a flying visit to Luz in the latter part of 2015. It was a short, sharp tour, basically in and out in very little time. So here we have a person with a considerable knowledge of Luz, attempting to drill down to the essence of Luz v Madeleine. And in the process missing a bucketload of relevant information.
I need to make clear here that I am not being critical of Textusa. I am trying to illustrate the challenge that faces someone who has detailed knowledge of the case, but essentially is ignorant of (lacks knowledge of) Luz.
This challenge was faced by the GNR, both phases of the first PJ investigation, the PJ team from Oporto, and Operation Grange.
Think it through and you will also see this challenge is facing private investigators, and investigative journalists from both the UK and from Portugal, including those actually based in the Algarve. Likewise, armchair detectives from around the world are restricted by what they know, or don’t know, about Luz.
Let me return to Textusa. The key conclusions, from memory, were that Luz is compact (true) and that it lacks charm (true), therefore someone visiting here is coming for something else (true).
We now have to turn to the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Textusa’s analysis fails on the whole truth. There is a lot more to Luz, relevant to Madeleine, than the bits visited by Textusa on that short visit.
Nothing but the truth? Until I go back and look at that Textusa post again, my personal jury is out on that one. Here’s the reason. I can shape a tour of Luz to highlight any particular theorem of what happened to Madeleine, basically regardless of what that theorem is. Obviously, this is not particularly helpful in making progress, but it can be done.
What have I learned?
First, as the promised visit approaches, it would be useful to gain a bit more information about the focus or theorem, in order to tune the tour. Not to support or disprove the theorem, but simply to try to illustrate, as best as possible, how it fits with the facts of Luz 2007.
To be honest, I am quite looking forward to this visitor. I live in Maddieville, aka Luz, a place where 9 years on no-one wants to talk about Madeleine, and while many have opinions about the incident, very few have expertise. Getting the chance for a decent discussion on this with a knowledgeable person is definitely a treat.
Second, I suppose having thought through the puzzle, I need to get in touch with Operation Grange to offer them the same option i.e. a tour of Luz. After the number of automated responses so far from Operation Grange, this is not high on my list of priorities.
Third, if you have an interest in the case and you get a chance to visit Luz, please give me just a little bit of advance warning, and I’ll be happy to take you around everything that is relevant. I happen to disagree with Textusa on the fundamentals of the case, but frankly, I would have been happy to conduct a more informed tour than the one that occurred on that occasion. Basically, it is not your agreement with my views that I consider important, it is your interest in the case.
Fourth, I have no reason to believe that the McCanns, or anyone who is supportive of them, reads this blog. However, the offer that was made to them remains open. Should they, or anyone representing them, benefit from a tour of Luz, I am happy to provide it. On this point please note, I know an awful lot about Luz that the McCanns don’t, that is not in the PJ files, that multiple private investigators don’t, that Operation Grange doesn’t etc. etc.
Finally, have a think about the basic question in this post, and please, think about it from your point of view. Assuming you visited Luz, where is it you would like to see?
What is the essence of Madeleine v Luz?