I fear that the post immediately below this one might have been inadvertently confusing in one respect. A comment underneath the post suggests that there is an issue of free speech involved in Neil Clark's urging the Abingdon Constabulary to crack down on this website. I appreciate the concern, but the issue - really - is more mundane, and I have every sympathy with the desk staff at Abingdon Police Station.
Let me explain. If the Abingdon Constabulary receives a complaint from someone off the street that a serious criminal offence (e.g. harassment) has been committed, then the Abingdon Constabulary has an obligation to treat that complaint seriously until further information becomes available. The relevant further information in this case is that the complaint derives from Mr Neil Clark, whom no one has an obligation to treat seriously.
I wondered how best to explain this point to the public servant in Abingdon who had found himself the unwitting victim of Mr Clark's personal rebellion against the law on wasting police time. It's not difficult. To illustrate Mr Clark's disingenuity requires context; but to demonstrate the workings of Mr Clark's mind does not. Mr Clark is not backward in expressing his conviction that, just as the affairs of state are threatened by a malign conspiracy, so is he. (A nice example may be found here, where Mr Clark - confident that no one would be able to penetrate the online disguise he had adopted - expresses his feelings on the forces that have conspired against him. I have invariably judged Mr Clark's imprecations so deranged that I have never sought their removal from any site where they appear.) Those who work in public service, as I once did, periodically have to deal with people who reason this way, and the hazard is usually recognisable at an early stage of the encounter. I'm sorry that the desk staff at Abingdon Police Station have been put to that trouble, and I'm concerned to relieve them of the irritant in future.
Another comment under my post also raises a matter that weighs on me: "Neil Clark clearly has some serious demons. Why, then, do you delight in taunting him in this distasteful way? If you feel you must respond to his attacks on you, do it like a grown up. If not, ignore him."
It's a serious point, which in more moderate form has been made even by one or two people dear to me. I can't argue against it. It has particular force as Mr Clark's already idiosyncratic opinions - on, e.g., Milosevic, Srebrenica, the Iraqi interpreters, capital punishment, the Bilderbergers - are expressed in increasingly pathological form. But I do maintain that I have protected Mr Clark from the most damaging consequences of his behaviour. After his catastrophically misguided attempt at legal action, I might have landed him with a hefty bill for his abuse of the legal process. Against the advice of professional and journalistic colleagues, I decided instead to bear the cost myself. Further, when I notified the then Readers' Editor of The Guardian (which had posted a brief article on its website reporting Mr Clark's legal threats) of the inevitable outcome of the case, I deliberately withheld one aspect of the affair: Mr Clark had lied directly to the newspaper, in order to present his claim as a serious one. The lie was that Mr Clark was acting after taking legal advice. (It had long been obvious to me and my advisers, from Mr Clark's bizarre behaviour, that his lawyer was an imaginary construct. The Guardian can check this by asking Mr Clark for a copy of the invoice issued by this "lawyer"; none will be forthcoming.) Mr Clark doubtless felt this was a minor embellishment, but advancing a fabricated story to a newspaper is not a trivial matter.
Mr Clark indeed has his demons, and it is no pleasure to me to observe them. It is for that reason, as well as to dissuade him from causing further public nuisance, that I abjure further comment on them and on him. But that is all. When he wrote to me continually to threaten terrible legal consequences, and more recently when ululating to his local constabulary, Mr Clark - rather than refute my observations, which he is unable to do - would invariably complain that I was "jeopardising his career". I don't know whether that is so, but it is not of the highest importance to me. If you make your opinions public, then public scrutiny is what you will get (if you're lucky). If Mr Clark - not in a private capacity but as a public commentator - lacks the ability to get things right and the honesty to put right things he has got wrong, then it is fair comment and in the public interest to point this out. I regret the distress that Mr Clark has been caused (especially as it is self-inflicted), and hope that it will be lessened. But I do not regret having ensured, at some inconvenience and expense to myself, that knowledge of his standards of competence and probity is in the public domain, where it will remain.