M`I 5`Persecu tion - Berna rd Levin expresse s hi s views

The article of. which part is reproduced below was penned by Bernard Levin
for the Features section. of the Times on 21 September 1991. To my mind, it
described the situation at the. time and in particular a recent meeting with
a friend, during which I for the. first time admitted to someone other than
my GP that. I had been subjected to a conspiracy of harassment over the
previous year and a. half.

>There is a madman running loose about London, called. David Campbell; I have
>no reason to believe that he is violent, but he. should certainly be
>approached with caution. You may know him. by the curious glitter in his
>eyes. and a persistent trembling of his hands; if that does not suffice, you
>will. find him attempting to thrust no fewer than 48 books into your arms,
>all hardbacks, with a promise that,. if you should return to the same
>meeting-place next year, he will heave. another 80 at you.
>If, by now, the police have. arrived and are keeping a close watch on him,
>you may feel sufficiently emboldened to examine the books. The. jackets are
>a. model of uncluttered typography, elegantly and simply laid out; there is
>an unobtrusive colophon of a rising sun, probably. not picked at random.
>Gaining confidence - the lunatic is smiling by. now, and the policemen, who
>know about such. things, have significantly removed their helmets - you
>could do worse than. take the jacket off the first book in the pile. The
>only word possible to describe the binding. is sumptuous; real cloth in a
>glorious shade of dark green, with the title and. author in black and gold
>on. the spine.
>Look at it more closely;. your eyes do not deceive you - it truly does have
>real top-bands and. tail-bands, in yellow, and, for good measure, a silk
>marker ribbon in a lighter green. The paper is cream-wove. and acid-free,
>and. the book is sewn, not glued.
>Throughout the encounter, I should have mentioned, our. loony has been
>chattering away, although what he is trying to say is almost. impossible to
>understand; after a time, however, he becomes sufficiently coherent to. make
>clear that he. is trying to sell the books to you. Well, now, such quality
>in bookmaking today can only be for collectors' limited. editions at a
>fearsome price - #30, #40,. #50?
>No, no, he says, the glitter more powerful than ever and the trembling. of
>his hands rapidly spreading throughout. his entire body; no, no - the books
>are priced variously at #7, #8 or #9, with the. top price #12.
>At this, the policemen understandably put their helmets back. on; one of
>them draws. his truncheon and the other can be heard summoning
>reinforcements on his walkie-talkie. The madman. bursts into tears, and
>swears it. is all true.
>And. it is.
>David Campbell has acquired the. entire rights to the whole of the
>Everyman's Library, which died a. lingering and shameful death a decade or
>so ago, and he. proposes to start it all over again - 48 volumes this
>September and 80. more next year, in editions I have described, at the
>prices specified.. He proposes to launch his amazing venture simultaneously
>in Britain and the United States, with the massive firepower of. Random
>Century at his back in this country, and the dashing. cavalry of Knopf
>across the water, and no one who. loves literature and courage will forbear
>to. cheer.

At the time this article was. written I had believed for some time that
columnists in the Times. and other journalists had been making references to
my. situation. Nothing unusual about this you may think, plenty of people
have the same sort. of ideas and obviously the papers aren't writing about
them, so why should my beliefs not be as false. as those of others?

What makes this article so extraordinary is that three or four. days
immediately preceding its. publication, I had a meeting with a friend,
during the course of. which we discussed the media persecution, and in
particular that by Times columnists. It seemed to. me, reading the article
by Levin in Saturday’s paper, that. he was describing in some detail his
"artist’s impression" of that meeting. Most telling. are the final
sentences, when he writes, "The madman bursts into tears, and swears it. is
all true. And it. is." Although I did not "burst into tears" (he seems to be
using a bit of poetic licence. and exaggerating) I did try hard to convince
my friend that it. was all true; and I am able to concur with Mr Levin,
because, of course, it. is.

At the beginning of the piece Levin reveals a. fear of being attacked by the
"irrational" subject of his story, saying "I have no reason. to believe that
he is violent, but he should certainly be approached. with caution". This
goes back to the xenophobic propaganda of "defence" against a. "threat"
which was seen at the very beginning of the. harassment. The impression of a
"madman running loose" who needs to. be controlled through an agency which
assigns to itself the. mantle of the "police" is also one which had been
expressed. elsewhere.

In the final. paragraph of this extract, his reference to Everyman’s Library
as having "died a lingering. and shameful death a decade or so ago" shows
clearly what sort. of conclusion they wish to their campaign. They want a
permanent solution, and as they are prevented from. achieving that solution
directly, they waste significant resources. on methods which have been
repeatedly shown to be ineffective for. such a purpose.


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