I know I shouldn’t laugh at anyone’s misfortune, but I can’t help it. News comes through from Chicago that sinister Canadian press baron Conrad Black has been convicted of fraud on an heroic scale, some $60m worth, and is facing a long sojourn in a minimum-security penitentiary. The lark is on the wing, the snail on the thorn, God in his heaven and all’s right with the world.
Yes, there are few things more delicious than the sight of punctured hubris. Conrad thought he was invincible, but he turned out to be bad, dangerous and off the wall. The mogul who strutted into the courtroom now has a very considerable amount of egg on his face. And who’s going to keep Barbara in shoes?
It’s worth remarking, too, that Conrad remains for the time being a lifetime member of the upper house of the British legislature, having given up his Canadian citizenship so he could swank about in an ermine robe with Mad Maggie. Mr Tony Blair, who appointed Conrad to the Lords, and William Jefferson Hague, who put his name forward, should be feeling like very silly men. True, there is some talk of stripping Conrad of his peerage, but unless I’m much mistaken Lord Archer still remains a legislator in good standing.
By the way, Conrad’s recently published hagiography of Nixon is quite the gripping read, if not entirely convincing in its rehabilitation of Tricky Dick. It’s none the less gripping for the reader’s suspicion that for much of the book Conrad is really writing about himself. I recommend to Conrad that he devote his enforced leisure time to writing.