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M'I.5'Per secution ' Berna rd Levi n expre sses his vi ews


01/01/2008 13:13:45

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.