Andrew Marr: Our world changed overnight

24 February 2022, 09:07 | Updated: 2 March 2022, 14:24

Andrew Marr says our world has changed now Russia has invaded Ukraine
Andrew Marr says our world has changed now Russia has invaded Ukraine. Picture: LBC

By Andrew Marr

Overnight, our world changed. Vladimir Putin did exactly what he had so often promised not to do, invaded a peaceful sovereign country of 42 million people, and plunged Europe into what looks, this morning, like its worst war since 1945.

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Every journalist would love to launch a new show during a time of busy, even turbulent, politics. Mine comes on March 7 at 6 pm.

No sane journalist, however, welcomes this kind of background. My immediate instinct is that among the things that now change, are all our immediate economic expectations.

The Russian war will rock the security of our online world; set off a ricochet of change throughout banking and commerce; cause yet another agonising spike in energy prices; and oblige Britain, like other western countries, to speedily increase its defence budget.

Yesterday the most important minister under Boris Johnson was Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor. Today, it is Ben Wallace the Defence Secretary. So what, in these extraordinary times, is the primary job of a serious news and current affairs radio programme – as mine will be?

The most useful answer I can give you is to briefly lift the curtain on yesterday’s rehearsal – because we are working every day to get it right.

Yesterday, we began by looking at the row in the Commons over Russian sanctions and concluded that they were pathetic, and nothing like enough. That certainly feels right.

We interviewed a leading military strategist on the likely advance of the Russians in Ukraine, should they go to war: he felt they would use a pincer movement from the north, Belarus, and coastal landings to attempt to paralyse the Ukrainian forces.

We interviewed a former Treasury official about the “war economy” emergency measures even now being planned in Whitehall, and what day would mean for LBC listeners. (I’m afraid to say he predicted, alongside much higher state borrowing, a further £1000 on every household fuel bill.)

Again, however bleak, those feel like the right subjects. Had the show gone out live last night to millions of LBC listeners, rather than a handful of harassed production staff, I’d have been proud of it.

This is not a day for boastfulness or journalistic rivalries. Global has a fantastic team of dedicated, honest, hard-working and serious journalists. I’m enormously proud, and genuinely feel a bit humble, to be joining them.

But from the famous old newspapers, to the BBC, the commercial broadcasters, and the new online world, we are living through a great period in British journalism. I’m going to be working flat-out, surrounded by rivals, not enemies.

For this has also, sadly, been an age of political lies, and now of war propaganda. Never has plain-speaking, clear, cut-to-the-chase reporting of the stories that count, brought to you quickly but without panic, been more important.

We will be on air for real in not much more than a week. We will not let you down.