Coffee House

Conrad Black – my reward for threatening to beat up Jeremy Paxman

23 November 2013

11:14 AM

23 November 2013

11:14 AM

It is correct that I have long thought Rupert Murdoch history’s most formidable media proprietor, by his unique combination of bold vision, thorough execution and unlimited energy and ambition. It is also correct that our 20 years of cordial relations lapsed when his media group, allegedly at his direction, fell to the most uniform and vituperative defamation of me when my legal travails arose, to which I replied in robust strictures as best I could.

But in a response to a question, in Australia, last year, he was quoted as saying that he did not believe that I had committed crimes, but was betrayed by a dishonest associate. When asked for a response, I said, perhaps optimistically, that I took this accurate assessment as an olive branch graciously offered by Mr Murdoch, which I was pleased to accept and reciprocate. There has been little media recourse to the former avalanche of defamatory nonsense about crimes since I collected $5 million in by far the largest libel settlement in Canadian history from the sponsors of the prosecution, and since my somewhat pyrotechnic exchanges with a couple of mouthy interviewers in London, when I was promoting book sales there a year ago. After I commended myself on camera for resisting ‘the temptation to smash [Jeremy Paxman’s] face in’, I was the beneficiary several times of taxi drivers refusing to turn on their meters because, as the first of them said (when I feared that he was going to claim an inflated flat rate for a short trip as he might have judged from my accent that I was unfamiliar with London), ‘I have waited 15 years for someone to put that **** Paxman in his place, and you will never pay for a ride in my cab.’

This is extracted from Conrad Black’s diary, published in this week’s edition of Spectator Australia. Read the full thing here.

Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.

Show comments
  • ArchiePonsonby

    I have always – humbly – supported Lord Black throughout his various travails as he showed great kindness to me when I was in a very dark place indeed. That he thinks that the frequently appalling Paxo deserves a duffing-up only increases my admiration a thousandfold. My wife is of the opinion that Paxman resembles nothing so much as a dissolute seagull, whilst my nominees for a biff on the conk would be Mehdi Hasan and/or Owen Jones!

  • keith

    whenever i have seen Conrad black interviewed he always seems to answer the questions asked of him, whether you agree or disagree with his politics or answers at least he tells it as he sees it, maybe a few politicians would do well to answer as straight as he does and also maybe a few interviewers should be a bit harder on them like they are mr black, we might know what the really believe in then, as for mr paxman i think he is serving out the last bit of his contract on that tired old show newsnight well past its sell by date now, when they have people like Victoria Derbyshire doing interviews on it and kirsty wark dancing you know its not a serious political program anymore

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    So how are those anger management classes going, Con?

  • Daniel

    Whatever you think of Conrad Black, when the former owner of The Telegraph says that America doesn’t have a justice system, you’d think a journalist of the statue (and pay packet) of Jeremy Paxman would want to inquire why he thought that was the case.

    Instead all we got was the sneering “you’re a criminal” over and over.

    • Makroon

      I think Mr Black should buy the DT back from the present owners, who have basically turned it into a “fashionable” comic.

  • Sanctimony

    More grandiloquence from the prolix Canadian refugee…. a hundred words for which ten would have sufficed.

  • Baron

    Pity you haven’t chosen others, more deserving to have their face ‘smashed in’, you may have found all taxi drivers would carry you around for free.

    • Fergus Pickering

      Who were you thinking of, dear Baron? George Monbiot is my candidate. Kill Kill Kill!

      • Baron

        An inspiring choice, Fergus, but Baron could furnish a list dozens long, others may add more still. Isn’t it amazing how fertile the country is producing deserving tossers?

  • jazz606

    Yet again despite being a kindle subscriber I’m blocked from viewing this content.
    Time Spectator marketing got it’s act together.

    • Legal Eyes

      This is almost certainly due to your infelicitous use of the apostrophe.

      • jazz606

        Quite right “its”.