I'm reminded of an epigraph which Frank Herbert wrote for one of the chapters of Dune Messiah
: `Here lies a toppled god
, his fall was not a small one. We did but build his pedestal, a narrow and a tall one.'
Lord Black might not look at it this way, facing a 35-stretch as he is, but he's been very lucky; he was cleared of racketeering and tax evasion and using Hollinger's funds as his private piggybank. Opinions vary, but I think he might just escape any jail time, and the obvious difficulty the jury had in coming to a verdict might play favourably with an appeal court. It was clearly a brain-meltingly complicated case for a jury to consider.
The irony of all this is that I had a soft spot for The Telegraph
back in the Black Days. From what I know of his time there he was an old-fashioned newspaper owner in the Beaverbrook mould, and since he departed a spark has gone out of the paper. Oddly enough, I think this has also been true of the Daily Mirror
since the death of Robert Maxwell. These were monstrous men, it's true, but without them Fleet Street seems insipid. A buccaneering spirit seems to have gone and we're the poorer for its passing. We will not see his like again.