Serving professional journalism since 1912

Magazine of the Chartered Institute of Journalists

Brexit referendum: an apology to Andrew Marr

Letter to the editor

Dear Editor,

When I wrote about Andrew Marr’s novel Head of State in the last issue of The Journal, it was to tot up what he had got right and what wrong in his fictional account of a referendum on British membership of the European Union.

I was perhaps a bit dismissive of his novel and its predictions, and I feel I owe him an apology. Well, yes, he did get the date wrong – his referendum was to take place in 2017 – but two things he got resoundingly right.

First, the result. Most political commentators were betting on the Remain camp winning right up until Referendum Day. Marr’s fictional referendum was won by the Leave camp.

Second, the post-referendum government in his novel is led by a woman, and a former Home Secretary at that. So Marr got that right even if his fictional Prime Minister, Olivia Kite, bears little resemblance to the Rt Hon Theresa May. So how’s that for prescience?

What’s more, as I noted, he has Nicholas Sarkozy in place as President of France in 2017. Just recently Sarkozy has launched his campaign to succeed Francois Hollande as President. Could Marr be on track for a sensational clairvoyant hat-trick next year? Watch this space.

Roger Bush