The ongoing irony of Conrad Black

The ongoing irony of Conrad Black

For those among you who are fans of lead-weight irony (and who among us isn’t?), I give you John Willman today on the Financial Times’ Web site,

I met Conrad Black only once, at a dinner organised some years ago by the think-tank Civitas, to discuss what to do about the criminal underclass. The speaker was Charles Murray, the controversial social theorist, who argued that more people should be sent to prison, if only because locking them up took them out of circulation (there were other reasons, to be fair). Others at the dinner questioned whether locking up 0.7 per cent of the U.S. population—and rising—was a sustainable policy. Lord Black glared around the table and asked whether anyone in the room thought there was anything wrong in locking up 0.7 per cent of the population, or even more.

Since that time, the U.S. prison population has almost doubled and Lord Black has joined their ranks. I doubt whether he will remember his desire to boost the numbers as he settles into his six-and-a-half-year sentence at the Coleman Federal Correctional Institution in Florida.

That may not be the last word, but it comes awfully damn close.

Black day [Financial Times]