The X-word

“Xenophobia manifests itself especially against civilisations and cultures that are weak because they lack economic resources, means of subsistence or land. So nomadic people are the first targets of this kind of aggression.” Antonio Tabucchi

Listening to the Middlesbrough-based prospective UKIP leadership candidate who joined Nick Robinson on Radio Four on 2nd September brought Antonio Tabucchi’s quotation into focus.

He talked of decent, working people, advocated tax cuts, minimising government but at the same time wished to throw money at the NHS. In his vision of a UKIP-led country evidently spending on the armed forces “to protect us” would not be under threat, rather bolstered by the cut in the foreign aid budget.

Nick Robinson asked him how this could work. The response was as devoid of reason as was the quitters’ plans for the country after… (the word I am no longer using because it is so nebulous that it has no discernible meaning).

There is no doubt that xenophobia has been used as an aggressive tool in the United Kingdom. If Tabucchi was right (and I think he is) then we can turn his words around to examine why our country has provided fertile ground for this assault by the far right. Far from being a civilisation or culture that is strong (as they suggest it is) there is an underlying weakness – social and economic division; the haves and the have-nots.

I have argued at length about the cause of the outcome of the vote and been dismissive of claims by friends and relatives that this was partly about economic hopelessness. The sense that people in certain parts of the land had nothing and therefore Mark Carney’s words of wisdom were irrelevant to them. If you don’t have a house, why would you be bothered about its value dropping?

My tendency was to cast blame on mainly affluent southern Tory voters. Yes, statistically, they were the group who delivered the shock, because it had always been assumed that “when it really came to it” house prices and pensions would win the day over uncertainty.

However, with a less than 52/48 of a margin the significance of the economically disaffected subjected to aggressive xenophobia cannot be underestimated.

These are frightening times. The European Union was a largely positive force against poverty and socio-economic deprivation. Yet, those who have the least in the north have not been persuaded by Jeremy Corbyn and UKIP’s aggressive xenophobia has been effective.

As Tabbuchi described nomadic culture to be at risk so too it appears are those who live in areas which might be seen as economic deserts. The only way to combat the rhetoric and aggression of xenophobia is with a more than equal measure of genuine hope for a better future. Who can provide that?

One positive thing this Government has done is recognise (in words if not actions yet) that society must have a place for everybody. Water must be found for our deserts to stop their inhabitants being so manipulated. If that means reducing the reservoirs and abandoning the aspiration of keeping them full then at least Philip Hammond appears to have a measure of this. Scant reward for those of us who never agreed with austerity, let alone that word.

Marc Folgate

“Glaring Democratic Deficiencies”

The words of the Electoral Reform Society in a report published today. The report criticises not just the scope of the referendum but also its implementation. When David Cameron announced the referendum and its scope four matters caused me to be anxious:-

  1. His preposterous decision to gamble our future at all to appease troublesome would-be UKIP MP’s (including possibly my own who co-directed a Limited Company with Nigel Farage in the run-up to the referendum);
  2. The bizarre announcement that unlike the Scottish Referendum 16 and 17 year olds would not get to vote;
  3. The equally strange decision to exclude EU citizens who had lived here for sometimes many, many years and likewise to deny the vote to certain ex-pats;
  4. The timescale from the announcement to the polling day which appeared to me to be rushed at best.

As time went on other issues caused me further concern:-

  1. The sending out of the HM Government advisory leaflet almost immediately after the announcement. Most of these would have ended up forgotten or binned long, long before the vote;
  2. George Osborne’s attempts to place financial figures on the economic consequences, culminating in an ill-advised announcement that he would call a punitive budget if we were stupid enough not to heed his warnings;
  3. Jeremy Corbyn, or rather the lack of him;
  4. The Leave lies which were having a positive effect on their campaign, as was their “Project Fear” scare myth and the failure of mainstream media to expose the lies to non-politicised audiences; this combined with the vitriolic rhetoric evident at the BBC’s Great Debate I attended caused me to leave fearing the outcome. When I gave a brief interview to a Swiss TV reporter outside she commented on the emotional nature of it – I was evidently a worried man.

However, as I leafleted I always used to look at the Remain literature to satisfy myself of its contents. Yes, it was full of crystal ball gazing but the comments and quotations were genuine, unlike the £350 million lie so readily conceded by Nigel Farage on live TV the morning after the vote. The ERS report has vindicated my right to feel concerned before the campaign began which I have detailed above. Consequently whilst I am happy at the findings of the ERS in highlighting the farce of this insult to the democratic parliamentary process I am a little disappointed that it has not really “gone to town” against Leave.


In my work as a lawyer you learn to put your client’s best case forward. There are, however, clear lines of demarcation. Future gazing will always be slanted by your own mind but peddling blatant claims which are demonstrably incorrect (£350 million a week?) stands deserving of a particularly uncompromising judgement and outcome. I know that is what would happen if I misled a Court, or, for that matter, an opponent.

Marc Folgate

The Empire Strikes Backwards

Over decades the subtle nuances of brainwashing have taken their toll. The creation and manipulation of the perception that we are not “European”. In genetic terms, of course, this is preposterous.

We are, in fact, very European indeed. A true melting pot of genes from the Roman to the Norman invasions, the pillages from Scandinavia, the Dutch-inspired drainage of the Fens and the influx of Italian and Irish migrant workers; not to mention the Czechs and Poles who fought in World War II and made the UK their home.

I am a descendant of one of the latter, a Polish serviceman. My genetic make-up will also be influenced by Huguenots who fled religious persecution in France centuries ago and who set up shop, as it were, in East London.

So, why do some of us not see ourselves as European?

The answer lies in the Empire and the media. I blame both. It does not find itself in the English Channel, or should I say, “La Manche”?


An empire founds itself on power and territorial acquisition. Power of commerce, military prowess and then knowledge. After all, knowledge is power. You have to be careful when creating your empire that you don’t give your subjects too much knowledge; just enough to make them feel empowered and then to be able to administer your empire.

How do you do dispense the right amount of power? You maintain a series of irrational knowledge-based secret codes. Consequently those who adopted Napoleon’s drive for metrication then became excluded from this secret language, in which weights and distances and pretty much everything is measured in bizarre units. Currency trading was rendered similarly incomprehensible to those outside the sphere.


It is astonishing that despite the fact that the BBC adopted celcius as a unit of measuring temperature in the 1970’s (that is now some 40 years ago or more, to those of us of the era who may not care to be reminded) certain newspapers still refer to temperatures in fahrenheit; particularly when there’s an element of hyperbole to be attached. As a reminder of how this is a knowledge-based code I can tell you that boiling point is at 212 degrees and freezing point at 32.

When a baby is born how many people in the UK bet on his or her birthweight in kilograms?

Our signposts still show distances in units of 1.6093 kilometres.


The brainwashing is subtle. You can hear it on BBC Breakfast. How many times when there’s a piece on travel will a presenter say “if you’re thinking of taking a break to Europe”? To Europe? As though it is somewhere else. Therefore, subliminally, we are set apart. I was refreshed to hear one of the business reporters actually say “if you’re thinking of taking a break on the Continent” the other day. Did he go off-script? Was the editor enlightened?

The media has maintained the knowledge-based codes of imperialism beyond what should have been their natural sell-by date. They allow a distorted sense of power over destiny, superiority, separation and have caused us to fall into a trap. This country has lamentably failed to empower its people over decades by freeing them from the chains of imperialism these codes represent.


As the Luddites smashed machinery in the hope of avoiding the industrial revolution so we encouraged the perpetuation of these codes, assisted by a willing media, whether that be by ignorance or design.

The irony is that Brexit for the empire may be the impending death of the dog instead of the provision of the earlier and timely behaviour classes the dog required.

Greyfriars Bobby

Marc Folgate




8 weeks on

It is fair to say that I am now feeling scarcely better than I did in the immediate aftermath of the referendum. My instant desperation was staved off by a spike in alcohol consumption as drastic by its upward movement as was sterling by its passage downwards.

cropped-Brexit-is-1-1.jpgI have found increasing frustration, not least having reviewed some correspondence from my MP, an ardent Leaver. I had received a letter from him dated 18th February 2016 stating that outside the EU:-

“…we would be able to…stop sending £350 million a week to Brussels – money which we could instead invest in our public services”.

I was prompted to look on the Register of Members’ Interests of the author and there I found:

“From 16 December 2015, Director and (until 29 April 2016) Chief Executive of Grassroots Out Ltd…; a not for profit company campaigning to get the United Kingdom out of the European Union.”

To show how fair I am the register also declares that:-

“All fees and payments donated (net of tax) to Grassroots Out Ltd.”

The Register then discloses:-

“On 31 March 2016, I received £17,500 in my capacity as Chief Executive. Hours: 450 hrs for the period 16 December 2015 to 31 March 2016…On 31 March 2016, I received £1,750 for Director’s fees. Hours: 18 hrs for the period 16 December 2015 to 31 March 2016.”

Alright, my MP has always been an “outer”, I knew that. He even pitched up at our local state secondary school (uncontested by a remain supporter, I might add) to air his views to our children prior to the referendum to my annoyance.

The Companies House website is also a mine of information, but before I go on; in the Register of Members’ Interests I then found the following:-

“From 11 February 2016, unremunerated Director of GO Movement Ltd; a not for profit company campaigning to the get the United Kingdom out of the European Union.”

The Register suggests two separate companies at play here, Grassroots Out Limited (Company Registration number 09917939) and GO Movement Limited (09999930). In relation to the latter I discovered that a certain person had been appointed a Director and resigned:-

FARAGE, Nigel Paul    Role Director Date of birth April 1964 Appointed on 22 March 2016 Resigned on 15 July 2016

Now, I do not know the machinations of these entities (save for the fact that I believe one of them was attempting to become the official leave campaign vehicle – courtesy of a story published by the BBC) and clearly they are matters of public record. I make no issue as to propriety to be clear. However, that is not really the point; and I shall get to mine.

I feel that this nation is constitutionally bankrupt courtesy of the referendum and decades of governmental pandering to a truly irresponsible and unconscionable media. I believe that my research at least reveals David Cameron’s woes in the run up to the vote. It illustrates that he had one or more Conservative Members of Parliament co-serving as Directors (albeit admittedly briefly in this case) of the same company as the then UKIP leader.
When the same Nigel Farage admitted to Susanna Reid on Good Morning Britain the day after the referendum that the £350 million NHS pledge was a “mistake” how does that make me feel? Not least when a similar claim (“similar” in that it referred to generic public services as opposed to just the NHS, but still used the same figure) had been placed in writing and sent to me, a constituent, some four months previously.

Do I think that £350 million was ever really going into public services each week? The NHS? No, I don’t.

It is self-evident that I have an MP who holds an underlying (and unabated) passion to leave the EU. I wish this was not the case, but unfortunately it is.

When leavers bemoan the EU’s perceived lack of democracy it saddens me to see what has been allowed to happen here, in order to attempt to head off a parliamentary minority. When Farage and UKIP have had the government dancing to their tune this should make us reflect on our own view of democracy. How receptive are we to seeing an accurate reflection of ourselves as a nation, though?

Narcissus gazes at his own reflection in the water by Caravaggio
Narcissus gazes at his own reflection in the water by Caravaggio

Hence, it has been a difficult eight weeks. Although tired, I am resolute in my determination to keep on; as Ian Hislop said, a party which fails to win the election does not just give up for the next five years.

Marc Folgate


Quality of life, Brexit and the Premier League

The Independent recently published an article naming the 19 countries of the 196 in the world with the highest quality of life.

I want a bigger boat than that
I want a bigger boat than that

I decided therefore to undertake some research upon Gross Domestic Product per Capita in order to see where we, the UK, stand in the league table, as it were.

I think that some may find it surprising where we stand against other EU countries and it would be interesting to see how Leavers would perceive the UK to rank among other EU nations.

My perception for what it is worth is that most UK citizens (sorry, subjects) would have us as being somewhere near the top, not only globally but also among other EU nations; this given the enormous weight attached to the fact that we are the fifth largest economy in the world (or rather we were until the referendum) by Vote Leave.

France is 5 now
France is 5 now

GDP per Capita does not equate wholly to quality of life, of course, but here I have been talking pure economics.

From a socio-economic perspective I think it would be hard to find anything readily positive about leaving the EU given the broad base of workers’ rights that membership bestows, including freedom of movement; let alone the Union’s role in sharing resources to assist in development, technology and science.

The social charter framework that membership provides also enhances quality of life and freedom of expression. Freedom of movement augments quality of life because it provides freedom of opportunity and cultural benefits that are incalculable. Unless, of course, you are intolerant of your neighbours and would rather not have any.

Where's the dunny?
Where’s the dunny?

The CIA has a list and it may surprise some to discover that in the wealth list valued per person the UK comes in at 39th. In terms of EU nations there are nine other countries with higher GDP per capita scores.

The highest ranking EU nation? The second richest in the world on this basis.


Yes, It’s Luxembourg.

So, which other EU nations rank above the UK?

France, Germany, Austria, The Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden, Denmark and…


So, it occurs to me that the UK is really a mid-table Premiership team in these terms. To keep with the football analogy, how many mid-table Premiership teams would risk leaving the Premier League with all that comes with it? Even the team that finished 10th last season.

Chelsea pensioner

Whilst other teams clamber to get into this global economic and social Premier League bizarrely we appear to want to leave it. Unfortunately unlike a relegation from the Premier League we will not be getting any parachute payments however.

Must be mad
Must be mad

In fact, if a German newspaper is right we will have a large outstanding indebtedness to repay.

Marc Folgate

Spitfires, warm beer and the EU

A good friend of mine lamented in the pub that Leave voters were really seeking a sense of turning time back. They wanted to recapture a time of Spitfires and warm beer.


I then read at the weekend that the most accurate indicator of voting habit in the referendum was not in fact social class but, simply, whether one would vote to bring back the death penalty.

What a terrible irony. Our MP’s would never let the public vote on a referendum to bring back hanging. Neither should they have gambled away our membership of the European Union to an electorate, as my friend I believe now rightly concludes, that largely sought a return to a time of Spitfires and warm beer.

Just as bringing back the death penalty makes no logical or ethical sense, neither does abandoning our near neighbours, a 50 year peace and trade project and taking a step back to isolationism. The restoration of the death penalty is the sinister side of searching for the past. The jovial and scoundrel milkman is the romantic flip side.

There is no romantic flip side, however, to this vote. People will still drink lager and Spitfires will still be flown at air displays as they have been all through our membership of the European Union. A belief in an illusion of past perfection is very dangerous territory. It presupposes that your value systems are right and that any failure in what you perceive is your ideal society is therefore the responsibility of someone, or something else. It throws aside logic.


Marc Folgate

Forget the Costa del Sol, it’s Peterborough-on-Sea

Leaked document

Theresa May’s Government post-Brexit plan has been leaked as a result of a classified dossier being left on a train at Chipping Norton station.

Sources close to the Prime Minister have been forced to issue a statement.

The weakening pound is no unplanned phenomenon“, one anonymous junior minister explained.

We have predicted that global warming together with the attractive weakness of sterling will give a massive boost to the post-Brexit tourism economy“.

Global warming promotion

She went on to say that the Government were taking active steps to promote global warming because the inclement British climate was now the last major obstacle to tourism supremacy. When asked about the environmental impact to the rest of the world she hinted that in a post-Brexit world Britain had to forge its own path. “We will“, she maintained, “make Brexit a success regardless“.

Smoke as much as you like.
Smoke as much as you like.

Bye, bye, Fenland. Hello prosperity.

It has long been suggested by scientists that Peterborough might end up on the coastline within several hundred years in the event that the sea level rose in line with scientific expectations. A Peterborough set to be 10 degrees fahrenheit warmer than it is at present.

Another Government source hinted at the fact that the natural taking back by the sea of the Fens also meant that migrant workers would no longer be attracted to the area and as there would be no agriculture to service indigenous Brits would no longer be tarnished by being “work-shy”.


Another source rejected the opinion of climate-change “experts” saying that the Government denied the claim that it could take hundreds of years.

Our research”, he asserted, “suggests that with a large increase in fossil fuel burning we could narrow this down to before the next election”.

He suggested that letters had been sent out cancelling wind farm and other sustainable energy contracts. The planned construction of new nuclear power stations would also be mothballed.

It is thought likely that the Government will enter into significant contracts with former colonial dependencies to provide the fossil fuels required to pep-up the British climate.

Nene Park

Beneficiaries of the Government’s plans could be sites like Ferry Meadows and Nene Park. Tenders for sun lounger contracts are likely to be invited from early 2019 onwards. It may be time to say “bonjour” to continental holidaymakers used to the Riviera.

An artist's impression of Ferry Meadows
An artist’s impression of Ferry Meadows

(With conceptual contribution thanks to Jeremy Thompson).

Marc Folgate

Welcome to

Parliament demo

I decided in the wake of the referendum result in the United Kingdom to set up a site where people who were suffering from the phenomenon known as “Bregrexit” could share their experiences and pool ideas, as well as to empathise with and offer hope to each other in the uncertain months and years that surely await.

This is also a forum not only for those who are pained by the outcome but also those who are regretting their part in it, as you rightly should if responsible. There are numerous expressions of regret now beginning to find their way out. Do any of these sound familiar?

i) I didn’t think it would happen;
ii) It’s all gone to **** and if I had known that I wouldn’t have voted the way I did; and:-
iii) I thought that £350 million a week was going into the NHS. Where is it then? Not to mention…
iv) Why have Johnson and Farage ****ed off and left us to it; didn’t they expect to win/have a plan? and then
v) I wasn’t being lectured by Cameron and his smug Old Etonian Chipping Norton set political elitists; let alone
vi) I didn’t really know what the EU was until I Googled it the day after the vote.

Theresa May’s installation as unelected PM is where we are at after Andrea “Take Back Control” Leadsom showed generosity of spirit (and/or realised that some game was up) “Brexit”, Theresa says, “is Brexit”. Debate away.

Marc Folgate