A Prison Diary: Belmarsh: Hell
- Pan Macmillan
- Publication Date:
- 24 July 2003
- True Stories
Showing 1-4 out of 4 reviews.
A couple of years ago, I got addicted to the mini TV-series called "First Among Equals", which recount the political careers and personal lives of 4 young British MPs. Two of those are Tories, one posh that gets elected in a safe Tory constituency, one of those places where even a donkey could get elected if it got the Tory official nomination while the other has to fight in Labour-obsessed Coventry, one Labour MP and a Scot that ends up being the nationwide leader of the Lib Dems. I did what every decent fan should do and downloaded the stuff to watch it whenever I wanted. Furthermore, I got my hands on the novel the whole thing was based on. Its author was Jeffrey Archer. While reading about the man's life, I found some strange but interesting facts about him.Archer was himself a Tory MP after winning the Linconshire by-election on the 4th December 1969. His political career's zenith was his appointment as the deputy chairman of the Conservative Party during the Thatcher era. In October 1986, he was forced to resign from this position after a "prostitute" scandal that got public on the tabloids. Archer sued the Daily Star and won half a million pounds which - as all good politicians have to do after winning a case like that - he donated to charity. 12 years later he was selected as the Tory candidate for the London Mayoral Election of 2000 in an effort to make a good stand against the favourite "Red" Ken Livingstone. This was not bound to happen. On the 21st November 1999, tabloid "News of the World" published certain allegations that Jeffrey Archer had committed perjury during the 1987 libel trial. Archer withdrew from the mayoral race the next day and soon got expelled from the Conservative Party. A year and a half later he was found guilty for perjury and perverting the course of justice. He got four years imprisonment. You can imagine the shock of someone coming from a country in the olive belt at learning that an MP ended up in prison for such a "crime". Where I come from, if you get elected into parliament you can be absolutely sure that such a thing will not happen to you unless you take an axe and start slaughtering people in the middle of the street or something.Archer did an Oscar Wilde by keeping and finaly publishing his prison diaries that describe his adventures with the British judicial and penitentiary systems. His friendships with drug dealers, burglars and murderers, friendships strong, the kind that last a lifetime. You see, Jeffrey Archer was first sent to a category "A" prison inspite of the fact that this was his first conviction and did not pose serious risk or harm to the public. Despite being a former MP for christs sakes. That was and still is a fact that my Southern European mind cannot comprehend. Well what can I say. These circumstances, though unfortunate for him, gave Jeffrey Archer the proper environment to write a 3-volume masterpiece called "A Prison Diary. Volume I:Hell, Volume II: Purgatory, Volume III: Heaven", the best source of information about prisons in Great Britain I've ever stumbled upon. Gruesome and riveting!
I like the fact archer complains he is banged up in a tiny cell for most of the day.eh hold on isn't that the idea? and wasn't he found gulity? why is he trying to lay blame on someone else?smug, slimy little sod. Saying that I do like jeffery archers books very much.
I did enjoy this read, however I found it a little repetitive at times. I guess that's what prison is, but a book shouldn't be! I will read the rest of the series as I like Archer's writing style. The characters become likeable even though they are murderers, amongst other things and I found myself wishing them better lives, especially Fletch. Worth checking out.
What a self-serving bucket of drivel. Apparently, the toughest thing about being in a British prison is the difficulty of getting chocolate biscuits.
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