The Aachen Memorandum by Andrew Roberts, published 1995
THE year is 2045 and Britain is a province of the authoritarian, politically correct United States of Europe. Dr Horatio Lestoq, a fellow of All Souls and freelance journalist, is looking into the circumstances of the 2015 referendum by which Britain definitively joined the European project. The vote was 51.86 per cent to 48.14 per cent. The chief organiser of the vote, an admiral of the European Navy now in his nineties, is found dead in suspicious circumstances. Lestoq is suspected of murder and a whole sequence of unlooked-for and dangerous adventures ensues. Researching for a series of articles in the Times Lestoq came across evidence suggesting that the vote was rigged.
The minutiae of politically correct control are sketched in some detail. Lestoq has a girlfriend whom he begins to suspect of being an EU agent. Couples wishing to have sex are required to register their consent with the authorities beforehand.
Some real life characters are mentioned fictionally. In 2016 members of the Anti Federalist Movement were arrested. They included ‘Matthew D’Ancona, the former editor of the Times, two former cabinet ministers, Hywel Williams and Iain Duncan Smith, the broadcaster Dr Niall Ferguson and Michael Gove of the European Broadcasting Corporation’. In 2045 John Redwood, who escaped from Pentonville Prison, is head of the “Free British Office” in Oslo.
In the book’s researched account of the fictional 2015 referendum, business leaders predict mass unemployment in the event of a ‘No’ vote. The ‘Yes’ campaign is well-funded by the government and London votes decisively for the Union. The North East of England votes decisively against by 56 per cent to 44 per cent and there were No votes in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
In the fictional present of 2045 there is an attempt on the life of the émigré William Mountbatten-Windsor (son of the late ex-King Charles III), who is now King of New Zealand.
In the denouement Lestoq exposes the referendum fraud, resulting in the restoration of an independent United Kingdom . After the repeal of the EU’s “Classlessness Directive”, he is made a baronet and editor of The Times.
After the real 2016 referendum, Andrew Roberts wrote that the book ‘attempted to be a whodunnit, a futuristic dystopia, a thriller and a comedy all at once and failed so badly on all levels that I now beg friends not to read it. Nonetheless, in the novel there is another referendum in 2045 when Britain votes to leave. So, when I’m 82, I’ll know whether I’m the Tory Nostradamus’.
I think that he was being unduly modest and that people interested in the Brexit debate will find it a good read, even if some of the characters are occasionally rather like cardboard cut-outs. On our experience to date, he got an awful lot right about the tendency of the EU project in its development towards full super-statehood.
It was written during the Major government after the collapse of the European Exchange Rate Mechanism and the serious unemployment and mass repossession of mortgaged homes caused by the high interest rates. It followed the controversy over the Maastricht Treaty and the valiant revolt of the MPs who opposed it. By that evil commitment, John Major openly admitted that he had made his sovereign, the Queen, into a subject of Monsieur Delors and the EU institutions.
That was another wrong fictionally righted in this book.
It also left me with an unshakeable distrust of proposals for electronic voting which was used in the fictional 2015 referendum.