As others see us: Commemoration

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THE LATEST humiliation to be inflicted on John Major comes from the national treasure, the 70-year-old singer Vera Lynn. The siren of the Second World War, the British Marlene Dietrich, refused to sing at the celebrations commemorating D-Day in protest at the frivolous way the Government planned to celebrate that historic date. Mr Major wanted to insist. But Lynn's decision to 'stick by her boys' was decisive. The Prime Minister had to beat a retreat.

La Repubblica, Italian daily

MAJOR'S gesture is the latest in a series of disasters that have threatened to spoil the veterans' day. First there was the fuss about the participation of Chancellor Kohl, then the French government wanted the hotel rooms that Canadian and British veterans had booked 15 months in advance. And now, there is indignation, because the region (Normandy) is not prepared to put up toilets for 'its liberators'.

Major's D-Day programme, scrabbled together at the last moment, has created the suspicion that the Prime Minster is using the anniversary for political ends. There will be local elections in May, and three days after the anniversary on 6 June, the European elections . . . Major is certainly not the only person who wants to make capital out of D-Day. The tourist office in Hampshire has invested a pounds 1m in D-Day events . . .

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung