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We decode Conrad Black’s verbose election prediction

In this weekend’s National PostConrad Black had his readers reaching for the dictionary once again with a particularly loquacious election prediction. The former newspaper magnate’s article is worth a read—but his language is so verbose that at points it’s nearly impossible to understand. Can you remember the last time you heard the words “excrescence” and “poltroon”? Neither can we. With that in mind, we’ve provided an abridged and annotated version of Black’s thoughts, complete with explanations of his most audacious rhetorical flourishes.

In one fell swoop, the always-bombastic Black both celebrates and dismisses NDP popularity in Quebec, calling support of the party a means for separatists “to sing their pious, dubiously motivated, socialist fables.” Clearly, Black is no fan of the separatist movement; he refers to eroding Bloc Québécois support as “an excrescence[1] of a previous era of dashed separatist hopes,” while labelling Gilles Duceppe a poltroon[2] for announcing Quebec’s imminent succession from Canada and attacking the Roman Catholic Church. Then, as if directing theatre, Black proclaims, “Exeunt[3] the Bloc.”

For Black, this kind of en masse shift avaricious[4] Québécois are making toward the NDP is the only move for former separatists after “a lengthy dalliance[5] in the independentist asylum.” In fact, Black advocates merging the NDP and Liberal parties to form a two-party system—a move he feels is necessary given Canada’s ineluctable[6] transition from a semi-autonomous to an autonomous nation. Phew.

Despite his obvious love of all things esoteric, Black does offer some more concrete thoughts as well. His prediction for the vote: 143 Conservatives, 72 Liberals, 62 NDP, 30 Blocistes and 1 independent.

Conrad Black: Exeunt the poltroons of separatism [National Post]


[1] Excrescence: (noun), a distinct outgrowth on a human or animal body…one that is the result of disease or abnormality

[2] Poltroon: (noun), a spiritless coward, a craven. First known use circa 1529

[3] Exeunt: (verb), used in a stage direction in a printed play to indicate that a group of characters leave the stage

[4] Avaricious: (adjective), greedy of gain; excessively acquisitive especially in seeking to hoard riches

[5] Dalliance: (noun), an act of dallying, used in play—especially amorous play, or a frivolous action, as in trifling

[6] Ineluctable: (adjective), not to be avoided, changed or resisted, as in inevitable