Eating their hearts out with envy that Boris Johnson’s salary for his Daily Telegraph articles has swelled to £275,000 a year, the lefty media are liable to be rendered comatose by a fresh financial triumph on the Bojo front. His publisher, Hodder & Stoughton, has just coughed up a stonking advance of £500,000, for his next book, which will be on Shakespeare.Total earnings then, £880,000.
When Boris decided to write a book on Churchill, sniffy authorities on Winston predicted he would fall flat on his face. What could he find to say when they, the experts, had plumbed the subject dry? He outsold them all. Now experts are predicting he will have nothing new to say on the Bard. Guys, do you know Boris Johnson?
The premise of his book – that Shakespeare was above all in favour of law and order – so inflamed the imagination of his publishers that they tripped over themselves to sign him up again.
Hodder and Stoughton are also keenly aware that apart from a brilliant book, Boris is liable to surpass himself in the promotion of it. Not since Lord Byron addressed hordes of swooning females as he read aloud from Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage (1812 to 1818) have book readings and discussions been so eagerly anticipated.
Running his fingers through sun bleached locks, (jealous rivals pretend he dyes it, an arrant lie), his blue eyes limpid with sincerity, endless euphonious quotes and fascinating insights will spout effortlessly from his lordly lips. Rows and rows of extra seats in auditoriums will have to be provided, as well as round the clock medical help for overexcited members of the audience who completely misunderstand what the Mayor means by the imposition of Shakespearean law and order.
The myth put about by the Labour Party is that Boris is a “toff”, whose gilded childhood was one of pampering and unashamed luxury. The truth could not be more different. Boris neither inherited money nor married into it. His childhood would have made Sparta proud. He has earned and fought for every penny he has. Surely then it is utterly wrong to begrudge him the fruits of hard work and spectacular talent.
But still the jealousy rages unabated. Of Boris Johnson it could truly be said: “Thou grumblest and railest every hour on Achilles,
and thou art as full of envy at his greatness as
Cerberus is at Proserpine’s beauty.
Troilus and Cressida 2.1.30-2, Thersites to Ajax
Jealousy and envy only destroy the sufferer. Insanely resentful rivals are not a pretty sight. Surely we should be proud and grateful that the Tory Party contains such a brilliant politician, with the advantages of a rapier wit and an endearing sense of fun? They are only hurting themselves. As Shakespeare says in A Comedy of Errors. jealousy contains “poisons more deadly than a mad dog’s tooth.”