Continuing the discussion from Boris Johnson 'missed key Covid meetings to work on Shakespeare book':
This “allegation” has resurfaced during the COVID inquiry
Did Boris Johnson take Covid holiday to write a book?
The Covid inquiry was told this week that Johnson spent over a week at the government retreat of Chevening in mid-February 2020 despite growing concerns over the spread of the virus.
During that time he received no emails or red box submissions about Covid.
His private secretary, Martin Reynolds, told the inquiry that he could not recall why the prime minister had been out of the loop.
One senior figure in his government claimed that Johnson had wanted time out to work on a biography of Shakespeare that he had been commissioned to write before he became prime minister and for which he had been paid an advance. They suggested that the trip to Chevening was designed to give Johnson undisturbed time despite the growing threat posed by the virus.
Johnson signed the contract to write the book in 2015, when he was a backbench MP, with a reported advance of at least £80,000. It has not been published.
They chime with previous allegations by Dominic Cummings, the former chief adviser to Johnson, who has said the prime minister needed to complete the book to raise the large sums needed for his “very expensive” divorce.
He wrote on his blog: “Within a month of the election he (Johnson) was bored with the PM job and wanted to get back to what he loves while shaking down the publishers for some extra cash … In February as Covid spread he was in Chevening writing about Shakespeare and saying in messages to No 10 that Covid was ‘the new swine flu’.”
A spokesman for Johnson denied that he had spent the time at Chevening writing the Shakespeare book. “This is untrue,” they said.
“The PM’s diary shows he returned to Downing Street for meetings, took work calls and did his box work. He was working on prime ministerial duties.” (1)
(1) Presumably, then, there is more than a diary to substantiate BJ’s attendance at No 10 and his attention to his duties …
He was so useless and dangerous it would have been much better for the UK if he had spent every day of his time as Prime Minister on holiday.
Am I the only one who immediately stumbles over the headline in two respects ? I liked the title of the earlier discussion more since it would be kind of misleading to convey the impression that one can “write a(ny) book” during a holiday like The Times’ headline suggests let alone yet another one about Shakespeare. At best one can “work on/complete/finish a book” in so short a time span as it was also specified in the article. The other questionable implication conveyed by the headline is that virtually everyone can present a new take on the well-researched Bard more or less on the fly. That’s why Johnson would be well-advised by that expert not to “waste everyone’s time with a sub-par biography based on secondhand research – write a more personal book about what Shakespeare has taught you about the important things in your life…”. We’ll see what he ended up doing.
Good points …
The article says “One senior figure in his government claimed that Johnson had wanted time out to work on a biography of Shakespeare that he had been commissioned to write before he became prime minister”.
An ambitious project indeed …
Nevertheless, as PM, BJ’s priority should have been his country and not his private income nor his personal affairs …
Of course he did. Why should someone as gifted as Johnson (thinks he is) set aside one of his great literary works merely to lead the country through a catastrophe? He had people to work out what to do with this little flu panic. Working all that out would involve lots of pesky details (how to allocate PPE, how to divide hospitals into Covid and non-Covid areas, how to plan a lockdown, how to support people and businesses during a lockdown, etc. and endless boring, snoring etc.) and great leaders do not bother themselves with details. Great leaders come to great challenges with a clear mind and the sort of broad perspective that can only be gained from focusing on something different. Like Shakespeare.
Always these distractions…
(Thinks: no one will suspect anything.I’ll say he was drunk and fell overboard…)
Boris needs the Book, throwing at him