#FBPE and the new class hatred

Brexit has unleashed a nasty strain of snobbery.

Chris Kirk-Blythe

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Until last Thursday, when an EU lawyer uncovered and published my identity on Twitter, I tweeted under the name of CKB.

I’d started tweeting in January 2019 after becoming increasingly frustrated by the response of the British elite to the decision of the electorate in 2016 to leave the EU.

As a lawyer myself, I tweeted mostly about EU and UK constitutional law, but I also attempted to critique the ideology and behaviour of a Remainer fundamentalist group that is active on Twitter – known as #FBPE (Follow Back, Pro-EU).

I must have done something right, as by July 2019 my Twitter account had almost 9,000 followers. I made traditional, moderate, liberal, Eurosceptic arguments centred on the freedom of the individual, the legislative supremacy of parliament, the rule of law and the democratic ideal.

The #FBPE people didn’t like it. They were quite open about the fact that they organised mass reporting of my tweets in an attempt to get my account suspended. Ultimately they were successful and my account was permanently suspended last Thursday.

While I regret being unable to participate in the Brexit debate on that platform, I realise that ‘Leaver gets thrown off Twitter’ is hardly big news. Twitter is becoming a notoriously censorious and pitiful place to attempt to discuss anything remotely controversial.

A substantial group of (probably sociopathic) elitists have seized the opportunity provided by Brexit to insult, humiliate, degrade and belittle strangers.

Aside from the tedious daily allegations of racism, hyper-nationalism, xenophobia, empire-fetishism and British exceptionalism, I was frequently compared to automata (‘Brexit bot’), swine flesh (‘gammon’), body parts (‘Brectum’), and pre-human hominids (‘Neanderthal’, ‘knuckle-dragger’), and accused of being mentally deficient (‘Brextard’) and morally reprehensible (‘Brexit jihadi’).

All of the insults used by the #FBPE set against Leavers have one thing in common – they deprive the Leave supporter of his or her basic humanity. They are all dehumanising insults.

I believe that for the first time in many years, a substantial section of our society has become possessed by a supremacist ideology. The Remain Übermensch is utterly convinced of his or her inherent intellectual, educational, moral, philosophical, social and even aesthetical superiority.

I work in the legal profession and I live in uber-woke Chorlton, an affluent, lefty, hipster-ish suburb of Manchester. All three environments – the legal profession, Chorlton and the Twittersphere – are riddled with a nasty (and new) kind of snobbery. I’m not talking about Mrs Bucket-style social climbing and affectation. That is harmless enough. I’m talking about a cruel and immoral belief that one’s own class is immeasurably superior to another. The #FBPE set hates the ‘Gammon Mass’ with a passion reminiscent of the Indian caste system.

At a posh bar in Chorlton not so long ago, I found myself sat at a table with five of the mums from the school my children attend. One said with disgust on her face that she ‘could never live in one of those awful, sh****y towns full of hideous Brexity types’. The other mums all agreed.

As a person who grew up in a pit village in the north-east, I felt a surge of anger towards them. I’m not ashamed to admit it. It was born of love for my family and my lifelong friends from home. It was born of a sense of injustice that this privileged and fortunate group of mums could talk so spitefully about people who are dear to me.

When did this group of self-proclaimed progressives not only stop caring about the interests of the British poor, but come to actively hate them? It seems that the answer is at the point when they dared to vote for Brexit.

Leaving the EU is a big political, legal, economic, constitutional, geopolitical, financial, trade and commercial decision. It is the type of decision traditionally taken by political, legal and business elites – the people who sit in the first-class compartment on the train of our national life.

In June 2016, the train was de-classified and millions of ‘gammon’ plebs invaded the quiet, middle-class comfort of the elites. They have still not recovered from it. It has driven them half mad with fury. They are overwhelmed by spite and malice. Their response has been brutal and swift, and we haven’t seen the last of it yet.

Chris Kirk-Blythe advises solicitors in England and Wales on UK and EU regulatory law.

Picture by: Getty.

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Comments

Amelia Cantor

24th August 2019 at 11:28 am

Brexit has unleashed a nasty strain of snobbery.

No, Brexit has unleashed a nasty strain of racism, xenophobia and incipient fascism. In response, intelligent, educated, ethical people are fighting for true democracy and true British values. That’s not snobbery: it’s basic human decency.

Hana Jinks

24th August 2019 at 12:24 pm

Hana Jinks

25th August 2019 at 4:33 am

Love…hates YOU!!!!

What did your ma rxi st-ind octrinnati on cen tre teach you about me?

John MACNAMARA

25th August 2019 at 3:33 pm

Amelia Cantor I see you simply confirm CKB’s point. From what high point of moral arrogance do you presume you are more intelligent, better educated, and more ethical than those whom you oppose? Yes I voted Brexit, as, very quietly did many of my friends and associates from work and yes from college. I’m also a Cambridge grad, spent many years living on the mainland, speak most west European languages to some sort of level, made a speech in Polish once, and as a career-long specialist in Trade, have some grasp of some of the issues. And yes I’m kind to children and animals and last year helped raise thousands of Euros for refugees (via UNHCR). It’s possible to be all these things and still choose against a European Commission and their silently-burgeoning superstate which is not good for Europe, never mind for the UK. And yes I get vilified for this reasoned choice, which was based not on social media but on my personal experience of interaction with the Brussels machine, and of how different countries bend or even ignore the rules to exploit the system, by sanctimonious souls who brook no debate before they reach for their litany of stock Brexit insults, until ultimately they block me when I challenge their arguments and prejudices. Intolerance of dissent is the first step towards totalitarianism.

John Pearce

25th August 2019 at 4:10 pm

I left Twitter last year in part because of the sheer nastiness of the #FBPE gang. Life’s too short. I’d been trying to explain why I voted remain but have since become convinced that I was wrong. Repeatedly I was told I’d lied, nobody could possibly change their mind that way. Then came the usual round of abuse; racist, thick, knuckle-dragging, little Englander gammon.

It’s slightly ironic given that I’m a historian by trade, and that I live half the year in France. One thing I’ve found is that the more orthodox remainers are utterly self-righteous to the point where were it the other way round they would be shouting “bigot”

Jerry Owen

21st August 2019 at 11:04 pm

Chris. Was it the chorlton brewery pub you went to ?
A couple of months ago the brewery socialist boss… Yes , not your average worker socialist which seem not to exist , got in hot water over the milkshaking of N Farage. He commented on FB that he shouldn’t be milkshaked and that fascists should be attacked in the time honoured tradition with a brick over the head.
This caused a campaign against his brewery and pub. So much so that he deleted much of his Google account . He even contacted me . . A cocky so and so !

Hana Jinks

23rd August 2019 at 2:45 am

We is gonna have to chat about this one again too, Babydoll.

This is turning into a soap-opera of Queefer Moreswill dimensions, Babydoll. Best we had a chat about it, Babydoll. That applies to you too, Peeved Gobbett’s.

Adrian Barnes

21st August 2019 at 6:58 pm

Surely the simple answer is to strip Remainers of their citizenship?

Then they don’t have to get upset about the democratic process, since they won’t have the vote, or living in a country they don’t like because they won’t have the right to live in England.

Tom Sholto

20th August 2019 at 10:13 am

I’m really sorry to read that you’ve been booted off Twitter. You were one of the most informative and entertaining accounts I followed. I often copied and pasted your threads in order to keep them and strengthen my pro-Brexit arguments. It makes my blood boil when I think of all the horrible #FBPE tweets that Twitter lets go unpunished. Only today a #FBPE account expressed a desire for a revamped IRA to ‘blow up this evil cabinet.’ I doubt he’ll get banned. I look forward to reading more of your articles. It could be a blessing in disguise as we’ll be able to read long form arguments, rather than just Twitter threads!

Catherine McCall

20th August 2019 at 4:32 pm

So sorry to read your account. Apart from my still being on Twitter, your experience mirrors mine. I started using Twitter to support TBP this spring. Just recently I have had a lot of incredibly nasty but curiously childish comments with #FBPE . I had no idea what #FBPE meant.
As an educated professional (Philosophy PhD) I have been more or less shunned by British colleagues – in public. In private they can be really friendly but they are scared to be seen talking to me or replying to anything I write. They will lose work if they are associated with me.
I am semi-retired, but even if I were not I could never stand bullies and I would not stay silent for the sake of getting work. So I am a lone voice in my field. It can be very frustrating when one receives private messages from colleagues who agree, but are frightened to admit it in public.

Alan Woolf

20th August 2019 at 10:08 am

Good to find you on Spiked CKB. It’s the almost casual vindictiveness that becomes utterly dispiriting – and silencing. Breakfasting at the only remaining greasy-spoon in my posh NW7 area some time ago, (just after the KKK Charlotsville death) an erstwhile acquaintance bawled out “I see your mates were on the streets again Dave!”. Decades ago I’d have smacked him, but now……
At least social media enables solidarity, mutual support, access to op-eds and essays on our side. And this is vital, particularl if one lives in a homogeneously Remain area. Very sorry indeed Twitter have censored you. Good wishes.

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