Event Reports

MAG Annual Group Conference - Saturday 29th September 2018

The MAG National Annual General Conference was held on Saturday 29th September at Borth Community Hall, High Street, Borth, SY24 5LH (7 miles north of Aberystwyth in Ceredigion, Mid Wales). It was a bit of a road trip getting there (5 hours solid driving), but the scenery once in Wales was quite spectacular and officially, it was the closest AGC to the sea !!!. Wakefield MAG was represented by Steve the Rep, Justine, Pete, Paul and Bob, with solid representation from all of the Yorkshire MAG Groups.

MAG held a most informative and productive Annual Group Conference this year. MAG is a leading light in the fight for riders rights with the ear of many MP's, Government Bodies, Councils, Police, Highways England and others. MAG has certainly strengthened it's working relations with these influential organisations and individual's and it is paying off - MAG is nowerdays directly consulted and invited to participate, and is thus a highly effective lobbying organisation as a result (THE most highly effective lobbying organisation it has to be said) - all of which is very good news for bikers and riders rights. Birmingham City's Clean Air Zone charging will now exclude ALL bikes due to the highly effective lobbying and solid case put forward by MAG. It's not all plain sailing however, The Mayor of London for example is proving to be less persuaded to exclude ALL motorcycles from his proposed Ultra Low Emmissions Zone coming into effect in 2019, and still intends to charge non-Euro3+ bikes (essentially those 10+ years old) £12.50 per day (meanwhile, someone in a 660BHP Ferrari 488, returning 17MPG won't be charged anything ..... Go figure as they say). This also unfairly penalises those on low wages who have opted for a small cheap commuter bike as the most cost effective way of commuting to work in the capital. Rest assured though, MAG certainly hasn't given up this fight and wont stop until the Mayor of London finally sees the 'light'.

The attendees were treated to presentations from Lembit Opik (Director of Communications and Public Affairs), Colin Brown (MAG's new Director of Campaigns and Political Engagement), Ian Churchlow (FEMA), Mark Ashe of Cantrack (tracker technology) and MAG El Presidente, Ian Mutch. Election wise, all the National Officers and Directors up for election / re-election were unopposed so were elected / returned unopposed (although unanimous votes of confidence were received from the Conference delegates).

The delegates were all involved in a strategy setting session (Clean Air Zones Strategy), and the debate covered whether MAG should campaign against the science (essentially question the stats and evidence) by which eco-campaigners justify killing ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) motorcycles. MAG's Political Unit (Lembit and Colin) argued in the favour of YES (question the legitimacy of stats and research where there are contradictions and inaccuracies), whilst El Presidente argued NO (Likely to make us look uncaring about environmental issues, reduce our credibility as an organisation, plus potentially pick fights with big well funded corporations we might stuggle to win). Both sides gave very factual and passionate presentations and following lots of questions and debate, it went to the vote. The result was a clear 2/3 in favour of the Political Unit's proposal and 1/3 in favour of the Presidential proposal. The right vote was made I feel (given the 2nd Gulf War was justified by highly dubious data, it is entirely right to challenge the 'facts' !!!!).

Unanimous votes were granted to continue to award honoroury Affiliate Membership to the National Association for Bikers with a Disability (NABD) and National Youthbike, both very worthwhile causes who replicate in spades with their support of MAG.

Finally, the Awards, in which Yorkshire MAG was very well represented.

And finally the donations:

The above doesn't include all the many and numerous donations from the regions, MAG Groups and individual members over the course of the year, all of which come from MAG members volunteer unpaid effort throughout the UK. Awesome .... No other word for it !!!!

The Conference finished very late at nearly 6:00pm.

A full report will appear in the next issue of the Road, but don't forget that you read it here first !!!