Letter: Tory broadcast misses the mark

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The Independent Online
Sir: I was appalled at the Conservative Party's attack on Coventry for being twinned to the Czech village of Lidice in their party political broadcast of 6 April.

In 1942, following the assassination of Reinhard Heydrick, the Gestapo officer in charge of the Bohemian Protectorate, the Nazis decided to remove Lidice from the map. They shot this village's men, sent the women to a concentration camp and dispersed the children, many to their deaths. At this outrage many places in the world changed their name to 'Lidice' in protest. It is fitting therefore that Coventry, which survived the Nazis' attempt to bomb it off the map, should be twinned with Lidice.

It is also ironic that this Conservative broadcast should begin by praising Joseph Chamberlain, whose actions transformed Birmingham while he was mayor. At that time Chamberlain was a Liberal, and Conservatives of the period attacked him for 'municipal socialism'. Ironically, his son Neville would later describe Czechoslovakia as 'that faraway country' in that shameful apogee of appeasement, Munich.

As we approach the 50th anniversary of D-Day, it is particularly unfitting that the Conservative Party should now wish to forget the horrors of Nazism, just as we commemorate the sacrifice of so many people who gave their lives to free Europe from the scourge of fascism.

Yours faithfully,