The spin stops here


The Globe gets hold of Conrad Black’s political analysis from prison.

On Nov. 28, he is very interested in reports of a potential opposition coalition government: “Stephen will not go down with this ship like Joe did,” he writes, referring to Joe Clark’s minority government defeat after only nine months. “No matter how humiliating, he will scale it back in the interests of avoiding chaos, and say it will be a future election issue and lambaste the other parties as wastrels and cowards and so forth.”

On Dec. 5, he asks Mr. Plamondon to provide him with perspective on the coalition from “up there,” saying, “I can’t measure it well from here. Why does Stephen look like such a jackass? I can see why the others do.”

While he says little about his prison experience, he is engaged by the election: “It’s hard for me to follow it closely from here, but I still can’t see Quebec wasting too many votes on the Bloc, and Dion is hopeless. If Harper limps back with another minority surely he will have a gain of at least ten seats, and so should last longer than another 18 months. I assume Ignatieff is the next leader, and he will win unless Stephen gets a personality transplant or a timely miracle occurs in his favour. … Every good wish to you. Yours, CONRAD.”


The spin stops here

  1. Milord should join us on these blogs. “Personality transplant” is quite good.

    • Is it just me or has Conrad Black become much more tolerable and interesting to read since he has started his prison notebooks? Often he is the best read in the post. who would have thought it? i just hope he keeps it up.

      • I feel the same way, both prose and poise are much improved. It’s almost enough to make you wish he had a longer sentence.

        • That was cruel, but sort of funny. I agree that Mr. Black’s writing has improved. Perhaps he has been stripped of some of the pompousness, jadedness and elitism that once infected his writing, leaving behind a much more refined product.

          • Yeah, i always had the feeling that Conrad was channeling Winnie, but sans the great man’s wit.

          • He simply has more time. Dislike him if you will, he is formidable nonetheless.

    • When Black gets revved up he is side-splittingly funny, didja see his slam against Peter Newman?

      “In his history of the Hudson’s Bay Company, Newman wrote that he had seen a frying pan in the upper branches of a tree in Northern Canada, which must have been left by an early employee of that company. The elements in Northern Canada do not leave frying pans in upper branches of trees undisturbed for 200 years. And trees don’t grow that way. Branches remain where they are, the trunk rises and new branches grow above the earlier ones. This was pure invention, for no purpose; a fable. His entire vast written product is littered with such nonsense. He has hacked for so long, he endlessly repeats previous lines as if they were eternally witty. Stockwell Day must be the fifth politician he has called “the best 17th-century mind in Ottawa,” or some such.”

      Gentlemen, we have a lot of work to do to rise to that level. Excuse me while I go practice my chops at alt.politics.liberals.

      • conservative-guy, you nailed it. At his best, Black is often perceptive, detail-oriented and genuinely funny. In my view, that is enough to redeem the man, in spite of whatever negative qualities he may possess.

        • He’s definitely one of our best writers. I genuinely hope he can reform. It does seem to be doing him good; perhaps just to be apart from Lady MacBlack for a while.

          • Add prolix and sesquipedality, subtract substance and insight and you have Conrad Black. I’m guessing he never met a mirror he did not fall in love with.

            If we’re looking for lovable rogues who can put a sentence together that entertains and contains a useful thought, here lies Conrad Black’s epitaph:

            In a closed society where everybody’s guilty, the only crime is getting caught. In a world of thieves, the only final sin is stupidity.

            — Hunter S. Thompson

      • As to the frying pan in the tree, it depends how far north. Certainly in the sub-arctic and beyond objects can be preserved for two hundred years, although there aren’t so many trees – so maybe Conrad’s half right. If memory serves me Peter has said some unkind things about his Lordship. Tit for tat?

        • “As to the frying pan in the tree, it depends how far north”


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