Conrad Black has returned to our shores like a triumphant hero threatening to level anyone who dares cross his path.
The convicted fraudster is not short of admirers among the coterie of friends who rally round his Lordship, as they consider him one of their own.
He’s being invited to lunch by the Spectator on the grounds that he has served his jail sentence, according to Mary Killen, the magazine’s advice columnist.
That, I do understand.
However, his behaviour since his release from jail is not one that will gain him sympathy from the majority of people who have no axe to grind with him.
His pomposity and arrogance have if anything multiplied, and his lack of remorse or admittance of any mistakes committed or guilt are unlikely to redeem him in the public eye.
His interviews with Jeremy Paxman and Sky’s Adam Boulton did nothing to endear him to a viewing public who must have thought the worst of him. Black wondered aloud if he should smash Paxman’s face, and asked Boulton to remind him of his name.
For a convicted man his rudeness is beyond the realm of bad behaviour. It is simply too insolent to put up with – or, for that matter, hard to reprieve.
Members of the Garrick are scandalised by the prospect of a looming fist fight between two of their most high profile members: the former convict Black, and his waspish biographer Tom Bower.
Black has made it amply clear that he’s determined to get even with Bower and will stop at nothing to achieve his objective. He has even threatened to take the fillings out of Bower’s teeth and the roof off his house when he finally drags him into court. To him Bower is already a dead man.
I have met Conrad Black on two occasions in the early nineties. I found him very clever, full of his own glory, and rather shifty. Nothing about him surprises me; his elevation to the House of Lords, his extravagant life with his wife, the insatiable Barbara Amiel, his pomposity, and eventually his conviction.
Our corrupt system of rewarding men of his ilk is a damning reflection of what’s wrong with our society. I would not be in the least bit astonished if Lord Black is back in demand and in no time at all given a badge of honour for his contribution to the ethics of the nation.