A Disgrace To Maddy

6 05 2008

In a week where Madeline McCann was on everybody’s mind, with the one year anniversary of her disappearance falling last Saturday, the news that a couple allegedly passed out drunk in a Portuguese hotel while in charge of their three young children is disturbing. Of course full details of the story aren’t known but if what is reported is true, the parents should be locked up.

Judgmental? Perhaps, but when you consider the accusations that have been thrown at the McCanns for leaving Maddy in their room while they went to eat, what can you say about parents who went out and got drunk (hardly a necessity like food), without a care for their children who they left unattended in a hotel lobby ? It doesn’t compare.

If the McCanns were neglectful (which is debatable) then you’d need a whole new word to cover these parents. It was sheer good fortune that this didn’t turn into another Maddy, although this time the blame would fall squarely on the parents. Initial reports are that the couple are due to appear in court today. They won’t face neglect charges in Portugal but very well may when they return to the UK, which is good news.

Mr President says we should take their kids from them. He doesn’t care how much they protest that the children are safe with them, if what is reported is true, that they were so drunk they couldn’t care for their children, they haven’t a leg to stand on. In fact, even if they weren’t drunk, he doesn’t think they should have been drinking at all.

When you’re looking after your kids, especially in a foreign country, you need your wits about you at all times, and no matter how much or how little you drink, it affects your senses and slows your reflexes. Perhaps if they lost their children it might also scare a few more British holidaymakers into not seeing a holiday as simply an opportunity to get very drunk on the cheap. As a nation we seem to equate a good time with being drunk.

No other nation is as obsessed with drinking as we are (except perhaps the Irish). The French drink, but they always accompany it with food. To them the idea of drinking alcohol in isolation from food is quite alien, yet to us it’s a case of “drink first, eat later”, hence the proliferation of kebab shops. El Presidente likes a kebab as much as the next person but whether it’s because he’s had a binge drinking problem in the past or whether it’s simply maturity, he knows how to drink responsibly, ideally with food.

It’s a problem we need to solve. Not to mention a disgrace to Maddy.


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