Few things have ever made me as nauseous as David Cameron's order to the Metropolitan Police that they take over the investigation into Madeleine McCann's disappearance, in response to an open letter in that disgusting rag The Sun on the anniversary of the toddler's abduction in Portugal.
The whole sad story is awful. The tabloids, of course, played it both ways. They revived their traditional 'stolen by swarthy foreigners' racist dribble, while hinting that the middle-class McCann family hid dark secrets, even that they either killed their daughter or allowed her to be kidnapped due to their bourgeois dissolution. All, of course, typed through a veil of crocodile tears.
The story has been dragged out for five years: the Portuguese police have been treated like the Keystone Kops seemingly for being foreign, various eccentrics have been libelled as suspects and the parents have been sympathised with or attacked depending on what day it is.
I can understand the McCanns' desperation for attention. Their child is probably dead and no answers have been forthcoming: of course they'll use every outlet possible to keep it in the public eye.
But the Prime Minister should know better. Ordering the British police to take over a cold investigation is the most disgusting, cynical and despicable things I've ever seen in politics. He knows that a 5 year-old case in a foreign country has no chance of solution. How are the Met are meant to uncover new clues in Portuguese, with no eye-witnesses, fading memories and no forensic evidence?
Let's be clear. This is a stunt. This shows us that the UK's Prime Minister is so cynical and underworked that he can use the death of a toddler for a bit of cheap publicity. He knows that nothing will come out of this other than the diversion of lots of cash and manpower from a stretched police force. It will cost millions and take years, for no result other than giving us the impression that the police force is subject to the whims of an attention-seeker, and infuriating the Portuguese. Will he extend this service to the many other unsolved murders? Or is it reserved for beautiful blonde children?
You can tell the character of a man by the small things he does. This is the smallest thing you'll ever see a politician do. But at least he'll keep the Daily Express and Daily Mail on side.