BORIS Johnson did not miss five key Cobra meetings at the beginning of the pandemic because he was writing a book on William Shakespeare.
He is writing a book on the English Bard, and he did miss five key Cobra meetings, but the two aren’t related.
That’s what Downing Street has said today anyway.
While the spokesperson said they were not “aware of” Johnson having worked on his Shakespeare book since he became Prime Minister, they were unable to categorically deny that he had.
The Cobra meetings that Johnson missed fell on January 24 and 29, and February 5, 18 and 26 of 2020.
Coincidentally, the Prime Minister also did a “People’s PMQs” session on February 5, right in the middle of those missed Cobra meetings.
Even more coincidentally, there is one topic he just can’t keep himself from talking about during that February 5 PMQs: Shakespeare.
Anyone willing to listen to the bumbling Tory leader for just 48 seconds will hear his first reference to the great playwright.
Apparently set off on his historical ramblings by two portraits in the room he is recording in, one of Queen Elizabeth I of England and one of Shakespeare, Johnson goes off about free trade, theatres and commercial enterprises. He even quotes the Bard.
After 90 seconds though he seems to realise that he is there to answer questions from the public, carefully hand-picked as they were.
“Anyway that’s enough of the history lecture folks,” he says.
Except it wasn’t.
Just over 11 minutes later and no doubt worn out from answering the public’s questions, the Prime Minister runs out of pre-selected points to address.
He doesn’t stop there though. Instead he goes back to talking about Shakespeare, despite admitting that nobody had asked him about the topic.
Johnson says: “He performed in front of her. We don’t know this for certain but it’s almost certain, that William Shakespeare will have performed in front of Queen Elizabeth and they say of course, that, er, a Midsummer Night’s Dream was staged particularly for her, and I seem to remember that she liked the character of Falstaff…”
We’re not going to type it all out for you, you can listen in full here if you like, but Johnson talks about Shakespeare’s plays for the best part of two minutes.
So, in a question and answer session that is only around 15 minutes long, the Prime Minister monologues about Shakespeare (and his Queen Elizabeth) for roughly one-fifth of it.
The Jouker is not saying Boris Johnson was secretly working on his Shakespeare book at the time, a book which is due out in March 2022 according to its Amazon listing.
We’re just saying it’s a coincidence that Johnson seemed to have the Bard at the forefront of his mind on the same day he missed his third Cobra meeting.