#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.

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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.

nick hunt

20th August 2019 at 2:02 am

As a convinced Brexiteer and Trump fan, I’ve been sneered at for years by the leftist hate mob. But you can’t reason fanatics out of something they were never reasoned into, so evidence and logic are ineffective. I say use mockery and insult right back, which may sound like sinking to the left’s level, but has a higher rationale. The bigotry, fear and arogant elitism which controls followers of the Prophet Karl (also those who don’t even realise Marxist values are their guiding light) has to be exposed for all to see. Trump the master troll knows this, and so fearlessly triggers leftists every day with his endless tweets, like a great exorcist slowly revealing the demons who control the human hosts they see as inferior and use only as tools. When that sneering, spitting, hating violence-prone innner self appears so dramatically in publc, non-leftists tend to wake up and realise the evil must be cast out.

Evie Gold

19th August 2019 at 11:17 pm

Hi there Chris- I see the #FBPE got you eventually. They got me last January. Noone can say they don’t work strategically to close off dangerous avenues!
Anyhow, I could still read your stuff & as always was impressed with your grasp of the machiavellian EU detail.
Remember ages ago when I said that if we- UK- was really serious about exiting the EU we should’ve simply repealed the European Communities Act 1972?
You said on Twitter that I sounded quite mad. 😀
Well, I’m convinced more than ever after the last nine months that you can’t do mutuality with the EU- they only do domination. As such, there was never a real possibility of anything but either cutting loose via No Deal or remaining under control.
I expect you’ll still disagree with me but we can of course.:)
Don’t let the $£%&ards grind you down.
Evie Gold67.

Jim Lawrie

23rd August 2019 at 9:59 am

Thinking about what you posted repeal of the 1972 Act should have been the option on the June 23, 2016 ballot paper.

Ian Richardson

19th August 2019 at 6:29 pm

I am pretty sure this phenomenon has been nurtured by the pro-EU higher educational establishment over the last 30 years. With 95% of University lecturers voting Remain it’s hard to believe there are many young people emerging from a 3-4 years of Universtity course that would think any different. The university sector would appear to have diversity in everything, except ideas.

Will Coles

19th August 2019 at 4:45 pm

Great to see you have found a new platform Chris, such a shame Twitter don’t support free speech. Always enjoyed reading your well researched and constructed threads. Hope to see more of you on here soon.

Chris Kirk-Blythe

19th August 2019 at 6:37 pm

Thank you Will.

Ed Lauber

19th August 2019 at 4:45 pm

We need a new political concept (actually a repackaging and renaming of an age-old one) “class supremacists” or perhaps “woke supremacists”.

Neil John

19th August 2019 at 4:41 pm

When you read something that starts by attacking our PM, and the POTUS, in something totally unrelated from a high level Higher Education minion, you have to wonder just how deep the rot has got. https://wonkhe.com/blogs/university-admissions-is-about-human-beings-not-algorithms/

Alex Ander

19th August 2019 at 3:36 pm

The devolved thinking behind many of the popular arguments opposing Brexit is a source of sporadic bemusement for me. I often think about the risks taken over the course of human history – to break down barriers, discovery and exploration into the unknown…and beyond. Yet for remain(d)ers, the very concept/ or prospect of separation from a European superstate in the making – a quest for freedom and independence and identity for this country – is an anathema?

Is it really that risky?

My inevitable conclusion in this whole debacle is reach from one simple question: how much do you value & cherish your own country? To those that wish to remain in the EU it seems that national identity is a thing to be embarrassed about. These same people will often voice embarrassment – if not contempt over British historical events and figures.

I’m afraid the battle over Brexit is simply a battle between people who want to destroy the UK and everything about it versus people who are proud to be British and wish to prevent the desolation of their country when it is absorbed into the all-consuming EU black-hole…

Jane 70

19th August 2019 at 3:52 pm

Yes we are fighting to resist the Brevent Horizon, and to escape from the EU singularity: one giant leap for the UK.
Onwards and upwards, no turning back.

Neil McCaughan

19th August 2019 at 3:30 pm

I tend to look down on lower middle class types who believe what the BBC tells them to believe.

But then I’m rather a cut above your average remain voter, intellectually and educationally.

Jane 70

19th August 2019 at 2:57 pm

Back in the days when I bothered to comment on the Graun’s cif site, I was told , pointedly, in a reply to my support for Leave, that” don’t you realise how stupid that is?”, complete with a sneerily ironic aside.

One can explain until one is blue in the face that one is a well educated and widely read graduate; it makes not a jot of difference to the occupiers of the moral and social high ground.

My privately educated niece was aghast at the very thought of the presence of a Leave supporter in the family, but did have the grace to back down ,when I explained the legitimate reasons for why 17.4 million of us turned the tables on the status quo.

Friends who live in the more affluent areas in our small town all voted Remain and are open minded enough to acknowledge my position, but they cannot really understand the motives: they all loathe BoJo and the Brexit Party, but to me this reflects the group think so prevalent now in our increasingly tribal society.

As to the Remain ubermenschen : Nietzsche must be turning in his grave.

Frank Sutton

19th August 2019 at 4:42 pm

Aquaintances often tell me they don’t know anyone who voted leave. Do you ask everyone, I wonder? No, they just know… apparently!

Jane 70

19th August 2019 at 5:21 pm

Every now and then I indulge in a spot of liberal-baiting: a favourite moment was a couple of years ago, when I opined to a group of Remainers in a friend’s garden that I thought Melania Trump was, and is, enviably beautiful: cue disdainful looks and spiteful remarks about The First Lady.
All based of course, on their tribal dislike of The Donald.
Recently I confessed that I’d voted for our gay black Brexit Party MEP; this caused some confusion in the liberal camp, which filled me with glee.
However, my Remain pals and I manage to accept our differences.

George Haworth

19th August 2019 at 1:42 pm

I’m in agreement with the need for strong, well considered Eurosceptic arguments. But I think that getting suspended from Twitter might ultimately be a blessing in disguise. I decided a while back that there is something about that platform that just encourages impulsiveness, name-calling, and territory defending. It really doesn’t bring out the best in people! Are the hardcore #FBPE crew really gonna listen to your arguments in good faith, you were wasting your time. Keep writing for Spiked dude, we actually read, consider and appreciate your words 🙂

Chris Kirk-Blythe

19th August 2019 at 6:39 pm

Cheers George, I hope it won’t be the last time I contribute on this site.

Frank Sutton

19th August 2019 at 1:11 pm

FBPE – a title as vacuously meaningless as ‘Hope not Hate’; I get the’PE’ bit, but ‘Follow Back’ – follow what back? Even an avid remainer would agree the words don’t actually make sense!

Jane 70

19th August 2019 at 3:02 pm

Should be fulsome bombast; or frankly barmy.

Keith Young

19th August 2019 at 7:55 pm

The purpose of the “follow back” is to get large numbers of people in a group following each other and providing mutual support. The problem is that it encourages bubbles of thinking and confirmation bias. The people in these groups do not often see the counter-arguments to their opinions and their ideas are reinforced through repetition. They then become more and more extreme in their position. They begin to believe that their opinion is the only normal acceptable point of view and that all people opposed to them are extremists of one form or another. Of course, actually what is happening is that they are becoming extremists themselves. This leads to unacceptable behaviours becoming normalised like ad hominem attacks, abuse, invective and so on. They become very frustrated that their position is not recognised as the only rational one. Sometimes Twitter is a fascinating place to study human psychology, but sometimes it is an extremely scary place. You find people arguing that the death of the elderly would be a good thing or proposing that the plebiscite should be restricted to people within their demographic (these are both things I have read on Twitter).

Evie Gold

19th August 2019 at 11:21 pm

You are correct in all those observations about the #FBPE movement but they also work as a tag-team.
Many times I’ve seen numerous accounts using the exact same debate tactic around a particular area – like they’ll all suddenly decide to kick off about one policy area at same time.
I did wonder if my Twitter days if they had round robin emails or something with daily/weekly suggestions.
It was denied by #FBPE folks I asked, but they did seem to work in swathes it seemed to me.

Julie Smith

19th August 2019 at 11:43 pm

Strangely Keith, I’m not sure your description only describes Twitter.

My thoughts as I digested your comment were “Kieth’s describing the world the elites actually live in surely?” where they only mix with those who fit their own mould.

But then I wonder: do the elite ‘mix’ (‘get-out’) less than the rest of us? How on a practical level would it be possible for the ‘elite’ to never experience the full breadth of what’s outside their door? How would the not so well off mix more and therefore, mix with a greater diversity than the elite? Is there a blindness of some description suffered by those who are cushioned in big houses, expensive cars and wild mono-social parties? I’m genuinely intrigued by this.

Myself, I’ve worked directly with the owners of minor stately homes and socialised with wealthy CEOs… as well as taught kids thrown out of every school, on their last chance and young adults struggling with drugs and hopeless family backgrounds – I’ve also witnessed the deprivation of a middle-class ‘troubled’ boy who was happiest being creative, but not allowed to ‘make a mess’ in his own home. Can it be that I’m an anomaly and typical of no one? Surely not in such a populated world. (I voted leave).

Robert Mumford

19th August 2019 at 11:26 am

As a fellow Chorlton-ite (Chorltonian?!) I can confirm that being a leaver in Manchester is a pretty lonely lifestyle choice.

Jane 70

19th August 2019 at 3:02 pm

The same applies in Bath, Cambridge and Edinburgh.

christopher barnard

19th August 2019 at 10:00 pm

You don’t have to go far from Chorlton to meet Leavers.

Greater Manchester as a whole voted firmly for Brexit, with the Remain areas mainly being the more affluent south of the area. Even in the city of Manchester 4 out of 10 people voted for Leave so I imagine many Chorltonians did too. Chorlton is not all posh. Quality Save and the other budget shops in that arcade do quite well.

Julie Smith

19th August 2019 at 11:50 pm

There’s something very disturbing to me, in the seemingly strong correlation between Remain = Affluent and Leave = Not. However, here in Yorkshire, the cities of York and Harrogate, both affluent voted Remain, so far so seemingly consistent… North Yorkshire however, which I always understood was very affluent, voted Leave.

Jim Lawrie

23rd August 2019 at 10:24 am

Remain impute to us their own base values in order to conjure up the spectre of economic ruin. They cannot fathom that we are ready to face that prospect as part of governing ourselves.

Richard Lea

19th August 2019 at 10:39 am

I wonder what were the grounds for suspension.. I’m assuming CKB’s posts were not abusive

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