The #FBPEU and #FBPE hashtags have caused a lot of conversation and in some cases consternation on social media – they are used interchangeably by many for ‘follow-back pro-EU’.
There are disputes about the exact origins, with some claiming they started as an attempt to bring together supporters of attempts to remain in the EU, while others believe they were intended from the beginning to ‘divide and conquer’ supporters of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.
But whatever their beginnings, the hashtags have been taken over by those who want to use the issue of Brexit to try to undermine Corbyn – a co-operation among centrists and in some cases Tory bots and sockpuppets in a desperate attempt to negate Labour’s success in last year’s General Election.
While many remain supporters who are solidly behind Corbyn have started using the hashtag, a cursory Twitter search will reveal – apart from of arguments about whether it should be FBPE or FBPEU – any number of anti-Corbyn tweets as centrists and Tories try to hang the blame for the ‘hard Brexit’ they predict on the Labour leader.
It seems clear that the plan of those trying to use the hashtags in this way is either to peel away ‘remain’ support from Labour, or to force Corbyn into taking a stance against Brexit – a disaster last year for the LibDems – in order to undermine his support among those who want to leave.
This suits the Labour right, who would happily lose the next election if they can retake control of the party – and the Tories who are desperately hanging on in the hope of outlasting him.
The tactic ignores both the discredited nature of the claim and the fact that Corbyn’s intelligent handling of a difficult situation, ever since the parliamentary debates around the Article 50 notification early last year, has played a huge role in pushing the Tories into the abject chaos we’re now seeing.
It also ignores the fact that Brexit is now essentially being used by the Establishment as a distraction from the far more immediate issues of the collapsing NHS, the poor, the homeless and the Tories’ continued attacks on them.
While some people don’t recognise the tactic, others get it:
Honestly, they think we're all stupid. #JC4PM #SaveOurNHS #CutsHaveConsequences #ToriesOut #Labour #ForTheMany – better hashtags. I'm going to have to start blocking some folk. A loud minority clearly out to sabotage Corbyn-led Labour. I'm a Remainer but they do my head right in.
— Sarah (@ScouseGirlMedia) January 10, 2018
I know. Honestly though, #BlockDontBicker the only way with some. It's pretty clear some accounts on the hashtag are bots or fakes – this is an orchestrated narrative-changing & narrative-setting campaign; the more you engage the more airtime they get. In my view anyway x
— Sarah (@ScouseGirlMedia) January 10, 2018
In the EU or out of the EU, Tory government is the biggest disaster for this country – and a Labour government is the only antidote – so it’s essential that we don’t fall for the ‘divide and conquer’ tactic.
To that end, a new hashtag is now building: #PCPEU – ‘pro-Corbyn, pro-EU’.
The hashtag is for those who want to express their support for the EU, or even their hope that somehow Brexit will be prevented, but who know that the best hope for saving the substance of this country that makes it a place worth living in – the NHS, our fraying social safety-nets, our humanity toward one another – is to get even more solidly behind Labour and its leader.
Those who want nothing to do with the dishonest attempts to smear Corbyn for problems for which responsibility lies squarely on the shoulders of the Tories – and who recognise that the morally-bankrupt Labour right is prepared to harm Labour and the people of this country in their attempts to regain control of the country.
If a pro-EU hashtag is your thing, make it #PCPEU. And if you’re a ‘leaver’ who wants to live in a decent, fair, humane country after Brexit, make sure you stay firmly behind Corbyn.
Anything else hands an advantage to the Tories – and whether we remain or leave, continued Tory government is the real biggest danger to our country.
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