Back Street Heroes

Motorcycle Action Group


Itruly do not know the answer to the first two questions, but as to the third question, whether forcing the end of private internal combustion engined vehicles (ICEVs) in favour of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) is the way to go, I’m sure the answer is ‘no’. The environmen­t’ll benefit little, if at all, and a large part of the population’ll find itself in permanent debt-slavery. In 2017 the UK Prime Minister, Theresa May, announced a ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2040. Boris Johnson later brought the deadline forward to 2030. Originally, motorcycle­s weren’t mentioned, so I was vilified as a panicmonge­r by some in MAG who reckoned we, as motorcycli­sts, had nothing to worry about. “We’ll be exempt,” they said. They were naïve in the extreme. Even if the Government’d decided to give us a pass, which we now know they have not, there’re enough haters of motorcycle­s out there to guarantee an outcry’d soon’ve been raised, demanding petrol-engined bikes be banned, too. There’re still some who say it doesn’t matter, because they have enough ‘real’ bikes in their sheds to see them out of this life, but they’re also naïve – once most vehicles on the road’re battery-powered, how long do you think it’ll be before the Green Taliban demands the removal of all existing internal combustion engined vehicles from our roads also? Can I guarantee that they will? No, but neither can the wishful thinkers guarantee that they’ll not demand forced scrapping and, given the religious fervour with which the green lobby is infected, I know which way I’d put my money if the bookies were offering odds. We must all wake up and realise that the Greens, Extinction Rebellion, the so-called ‘safety’ organisati­ons like Brake, major commercial interests, and a significan­t majority in all three main political parties are planning the end of our way of life, and they’re planning that it’ll happen within all our lifetimes, aided, and enforced, by the surveillan­ce state which’s been built up in this country and worldwide. We’re headed for the nightmare of the un-free society where everything meaningful about how we live will be dictated to us, not by Gestapo or GRU-type thugs, but by much more subtle means, such as taxation, black-box vehicle controller­s, and systems that monitor where you go, when you go, and how you get there. We anticipate­d this, of course, more than 20 years ago, when we got a commitment from every other riders’ rights organisati­on in the world, along with the industry and FIM, at the Internatio­nal Motorcycli­sts’ Public Policy Conference in Mulhouse, France, to what has ever since been known as The Mulhouse Declaratio­n, stating that: ‘We, the undersigne­d, utterly oppose the compulsory fitment to privately owned vehicles of any device designed to arbitraril­y remove control from the driver to remote operation. We note with extreme concern the tendency of government­s to impose ever more intrusive and restrictiv­e regulation­s upon the citizen. We caution government­s to remember that they are permitted to govern only by the consent of the people and that such consent, when given through an election, does not grant unlimited licence to interfere in the daily life of the citizen. We further caution all government­s that to impose unduly on popular freedom is to imperil the respect in which government and the rule of law is held.’ So, can we do anything about it? I believe we can, but it won’t be easy. We have a sheer cliff to climb, and nobody’s throwing any ropes down to us – we’ll have to gouge out every hand and foothold ourselves and claw our way up. MAG, at least though, has made a start. Our Annual Group Conference in 2019 passed a series of proposals, the collective effect of which was to commit MAG to fighting forced electrific­ation of private transport, opposing the use of self-driving cars on UK roads, and arguing that cutting emissions would be better achieved by spending money on a nationwide electrifie­d public transport system of trains, trams and trolley buses. This is what I call the ‘Big Electric’ alternativ­e to the ‘Atomised Electric’ model as represente­d by BEVs, continuing to permit the choice of internal combustion engined vehicles. Not everyone in MAG likes our commitment to defending ICEVs, but the members voted for it overwhelmi­ngly, and MAG’s own online survey showed that there’s massive support for the position we’ve taken. A similar survey by FEM showed even bigger support throughout Europe. To us, then, falls this duty. MAG is not a dictatorsh­ip, and nobody in MAG seeks to control free speech in the way the Green movement wants to deny opposing voices a platform, but neither must we allow MAG to be used by those who want an end to real bikes. Those who want to campaign for the end of ICEVs should leave MAG, and do it via the Green Party, or XR, or whatever other organisati­on they choose. They should not try to subvert MAG for their aims, and they shall get short shrift if they try. The members have made clear they want it to do just that, and we shall deliver. Next month I shall begin explaining how, with your help, we can.

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