LETTER : Without trace

I don't mind a good argument, but I wonder if Nick Cohen ("Whodunit? The Sixties, of course", 14 April) has actually read my piece in the Daily Express which he so airily attacks. Had he done so, he would know that I was not trying to blame the actions of Fred and Rosemary West on the ethos of the 1960s. Evil of this kind exists all the time, and though prevailing conditions may make it take a different form, a social explanation is almost certainly futile. My argument was quite different - that the atomisation of our society has made it easier for people to disappear without trace. This seems to me to be a worry common to liberal left and reactionary right, and I am disappointed that Mr Cohen prefers mockery to constructive debate. It would be good for our country if we recognised that its problems often have little to do with the current sterile confrontation between the parties.

Peter Hitchens

London SE1