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British Writer Frederick Forsyth Was On Winning Side Of Brexit Vote


Let's turn now to a British writer who's been advocating for Britain to leave the EU.


It is Frederick Forsyth, the author of "The Day Of The Jackal," "The Odessa File" and other war-time suspense thrillers. I asked him a bit earlier how he's feeling this morning.

FREDERICK FORSYTH: I think I've been vindicated. First of all, the gloom and doom - do you recall - no, you probably won't. But there was about 30 years ago, we were told if we didn't abolish the pound sterling and join the eurozone, all hell would be let loose.

GREENE: I do recall that, actually.

FORSYTH: Every single economist...

GREENE: I was pretty young, but I recall, yeah.

FORSYTH: ...You can to think of said it, and they were all wrong. So I think they'll be wrong again.

MARTIN: Mr. Forsyth, we heard Boris Johnson, the former London mayor and the leader of the so-called leave movement, saying to young people in particular, don't think that this is some xenophobic, nativist movement. This is not about isolationism. We are still a tolerant society. We still want to be part of Europe. But what do you say to those young people who would look at this vote and say well, you just voted to leave the EU. So how does that mean I'm still European?

FORSYTH: Well, I don't think that the young people really have much experience of life. They do not remember things as I do. They don't remember how we were advised to abolish the pound, and we didn't. And it would have been a disaster if we had because the eurozone is collapsing. So we're still going to travel to Europe. We're still going to exchange tourists and cultural visits and trade - above all trade. We're going to do this.

So I don't believe the Jeremiahs. They've talked their case, they've lost it. And I happen to think that every single European manufacturer who wants to export to this country will do so. And he will tell the politicians, take a hike.

GREENE: Mr. Forsyth, I've been watching Donald Trump on the airwaves this morning responding very favorably to this vote. Some have compared the movement that is driving his popularity in the United States to the drive to leave the EU. Do you feel a connection to Donald Trump as you are a supporter of the...

FORSYTH: No, I don't feel a personal connection to that man. No, I don't. There is - he has maybe one point. A lot of his popularity came from what you might call I think the blue-collar people, who did seem to manifest a dislike - a resentment towards what they regard as an establishment grouped around the fat cats of Washington, the fat cats of Wall Street, and they don't like them. That may be something that's happened here.

This is a peasant's revolt. The last time we had it was 1381. We've just had another one without weapons or street demos or any - just a vote. But this is the people of the country saying hey, we are sick and tired of being talked down to all the time. We're sick and tired of the arrogance and the incompetence of our sorrow gate - government in Brussels to whom we should never have been sold bound hand and foot.

We want our freedom back. We want our country back. We want our sovereignty back. By God, we're going to have it, and I'm with them.

MARTIN: Mr. Forsyth, you're a writer. You're a historian of sorts. How would you write this particular chapter in the history of the U.K.?

FORSYTH: Well, it's not over yet. So I don't write books that end on chapter one. We have several chapters left to go. I do not believe in the disaster scenario that David Cameron has painted now for 12 weeks. I do not believe in - that new world war is coming. He promises that. I do not believe in genocide coming. He promises that. I do not believe in a total economic collapse of the country. He promises that. In other words, every single conceivable disaster scenario that you could imagine has been put to us, and we've said no, we don't believe you anymore.

GREENE: All right.

FORSYTH: You've told too many lies.

GREENE: All right, I don't know if David Cameron has used quite those exact words. But...

FORSYTH: He did (laughter).

GREENE: But you don't agree that this is heading for ominous times. Mr. Forsyth, thank you very much. I appreciate your time this morning.


GREENE: That was Frederick Forsyth, a British author who is in full support of the U.K. leaving the European Union. That is what will happen now that U.K. voters have weighed in yesterday. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.