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M I`5'Persecut ion , Bernar d Levi n exp resses hi s v iews

Posted by mvfife on 01/01/08 12:28

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. Saturdays paper, that he was describing in some detail his
"artists 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 Everymans 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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