Wakefield MAG February 2014 Newsletter

Dear Wakefield MAG member,

Welcome to the Wakefield MAG e-newsletter. If you can't attend our Wednesday meetings regularly, it's the next best thing to keep you up to date with what we are up to.


1) Wakefield & District MAG 12th Annual General Meeting
2) Post Christmas Auction
3) 12th Birthday Party
4) 2014 Events
5) Manchester (GMEX) Bike Show Visit
6) A MAG for the Future !!
7) MAG Dispels The Great Vehicle Excise Duty Myth
8) Wakefield MAG 5th Annual Charity Pet Food Run
9) Helmet Laws: Not a Question of Safety, but a Question of Liberty
10) 30th Anniversary Fred Hill Memorial Run
11) Forthcoming Events (for February and beyond)

1) Wakefield & District MAG 11th Annual General Meeting

The branch held it's 12th Annual General Meeting on Wednesday 15th January 2014 at the Grey Horse. Lots of good news to report at the AGM this year - our MAG fund raising is UP (well done to Chas for his relentless raffle ticket selling), overall branch membership is UP, member lapse rates (those whose membership lapses and they don't renew) are DOWN, we had packed an awful lot of activities into the year, but above all, and most importantly, had an awful lot of fun along the way.

We will be in a position to make a sizable donation to MAG from our funds, and will look to combine this with whatever the Post Christmas Auction on Wednesday 5th February makes, so hopefully a BIG cheque will be written to Yorkshire MAG very soon.

Going through the motions (as it were)

Your new branch committee for 2014 was voted in, and this is:

Our branch heroes for 2013 were:

Well done to all our branch heroes. We discussed and agreed our branch activities and development plan for 2014, and we have lots planned for this year, so check the events page and these newsletters for more details.

The full AGM minutes are published Here and were posted less than a week after the AGM was held (got to be a record !!!).

A huge thanks to everyone who attended the AGM, 75 branch points duly awarded (towards the 2014 Branch Heroes Awards !!!!). It was certainly well worth Sharon & Terry attending, as not only did they scoop 2 prizes in the Branch Heroes, they also won the raffle (which was another 2 tickets to the AC/DC Tribute Band (again kindly donated by Warehouse 23).

2) Post Christmas Auction

Our 10th Post Christmas Auction will be held on Wednesday 5th February, at 20:00, at the Grey Horse, Kirkgate, and if previous years events are anything to go by, an event not to be missed.

The idea is that you bring along all your unwanted Christmas presents, together with other stuff you no longer want, or have the room for, donate them to the branch, and we auction them off to the highest bidder.

Proceeds from the auction will again be split with 2/3 to the MAG Fighting Fund and 1/3 to a charitable cause(s). The 2013 auction raised £300 for the MAG fighting fund, with £150 for charity. That was pretty staggering, especially as the bidding on a lot of items started at 50p. Of course, we want to beat that for 2014.

We know times are hard at the moment, but that's all the more reason to come down to the auction, grab a top bargain, and save yourselves considerable amounts of money. We already have had lots of stuff donated and lots lots more will be brought on the night !!!!.

The Wakefield MAG auctions are always hugely entertaining and there are always some real quality items donated, and hence, some real bargains to be had.

Already, we have lots of people keen to attend. Be there early to guarantee a seat, with viewing from 07:00 onwards, and the auction itself starting at 08:00 prompt (and don't forget to bring your unwanted Christmas pressies !!!).

All welcome and I hope to see you there.

3) 12th Birthday Party


We have set the date for our 12th Birthday Party, which is Friday 14th March, and it will be held at our H.Q. the Grey Horse, Kirkgate, Wakefield.

This years party will be Mandatory Fancy Dress, with the outfits being something related (however tenuous) to 'M', 'A' or 'G'. Don't worry if fancy dress isn't your thing ... simply come as you are, as a motorcyclist, and you will still be keeping with the theme 'M' ... Simples !!!

As per previous years, this will be a FREE PARTY, as it's a thank you to all our loyal members. Party highlights will include a Buffet (small charge may apply, or there again, that may be FREE too), Raffle, Disco, Party Games, having a great time (strictly mandatory) etc. There will be a prize for the best (and worst) Fancy Dress outfit !!!

The Wakefield MAG Branch was formed on the 9th of January 2002 and we have certainly come a long way since that inaugural meeting at the White Hart. We still have a good number of regular meeting attendees who were at those first fledgling meetings twelve years ago (so we must be doing something right !!!).

So, come along and help us celebrate, from 7:30pm onwards - All Wakefield MAG members, fellow Yorkshire MAG Groups and friends MOST WELCOME. Good Company and lashings of Ginger Beer guaranteed !!! It's a FREE PARTY, so no excuse for not attending ... Hope to see you there !!!!

Did I mention it was a FREE PARTY !!!!! ;-)

4) 2014 Events

We have wasted no time and we already have a packed schedule of Branch events planned for 2014. Check the events page for details of what is coming up, which includes monthly rideouts (starting Feb, right through to November), Charity Events, Bike Show, Treasure Hunt (making a welcome return in 2014), Quiz, mass attendance at rallies, and more social events than you have the time for ... a great year beckons ... just hope we have a good Summer !!!

5) Manchester (GMEX) Bike Show Visit

Our roving reporter, Mr Michael Culpan Esq, didn't particularly rate the Manchester Central Bike Show this year ... although he did manage to find some attractions !!!!. Check out the event report Here

6) A MAG for the Future !!

A statement by the MAG (UK) Ltd Directors.

When MAG was originally set up in 1973 it was, in law, an unincorporated association. That meant that if anything went wrong in the course of MAG activities, any individual Member could be sued. Obviously that was not a good thing for anyone so in 1991 MAG incorporated MAG (UK) Ltd to run all its central operations such as renting office space and employing people. M.A.G. (UK) Ltd was set up as a company limited by guarantee which means that in the event of it going bust, each Member's liability was limited to £1.

In effect though the 'political' side of MAG ran alongside the company which is why, historically, we have had the AGM of MAG (UK) Ltd followed by the AGC (conference) of the political entity. This created an unclear situation as to what was 'in' the company and what wasn't, which we realised we needed to tidy up. Another issue was that the name of The Motorcycle Action Group was not actually protected because we'd incorporated as MAG (UK) Ltd. In theory anyone could have set up The Motorcycle Action Group Ltd and in effect 'stolen' our identity.

To deal with this your Board worked out a plan in late 2013. That plan was presented to your National Committee at its December 2013 meeting. All seven Board Members supported it unanimously and on being presented to the NC it received the unanimous support of the representatives you the Members elected. As a result, three senior and trusted MAG Members - Paul Turner, your former Chairman, John Mitchell, your current Chairman and Tracy Smith, your South West Regional Representative have incorporated The Motorcycle Action Group Ltd, with the support of the National Committee.

This means that in future any donations by local or regional groups should be made to this new entity. As Members come up for renewal they will become Members (guarantors in legal terms) of The Motorcycle Action Group Ltd and they will cease being Guarantors of M.A.G. (UK) Ltd. In the new company as in the old each member's liability will be limited to £1. The old company - M.A.G. (UK) Ltd - will gradually be run down as renewing Members leave it and become members of The Motorcycle Action Group Ltd. By the time M.A.G. (UK) Ltd closes, all known creditors will be paid off and all current staff will have transferred to a subsidiary of the new company, the job of which will be purely to mange the central office operation and staff, for which purpose it will be funded by The Motorcycle Action Group Ltd. The Directors of the new company and its subsidiary will continue to be unpaid volunteers as they are now.

We have taken good legal advice on this plan and we are assured of its legitimacy. The Articles and Memorandum of MAG (UK) Ltd lays down in clause 3a that its object is 'The establishment of ... an association for the promotion and safeguarding of motorcycling in the UK ... and anything incidental or conducive to any of those objects'. In clause 3d it lays down that 'All assets which would otherwise be available to its Members generally shall be transferred on its winding up ... to another body with objects similar to its own ...'. The objects of The Motorcycle Action Group Ltd will be identical to those of M.A.G. (UK) Ltd. The bulk of the cash in M.A.G. (UK) Ltd will also be transferred to The Motorcycle Action Group Ltd with just a small float remaining to cover winding up costs etc. Any surplus at the end will likewise be transferred to The Motorcycle Action Group Ltd.

The new draft Constitution is very close to the old version and which may be amended as you the Members see fit in April at the MAG AGC. All MAG Members will be entitled to vote in all elections for the new company on signing a declaration accepting liability for £1 as a guarantor. In this way we have assured the legal future of the Riders Rights movement in the UK and we have protected the name of The Motorcycle Action Group.

7) MAG Dispels The Great Vehicle Excise Duty Myth

On the 22nd January, MAG learned, via sources at the DVLA and an MP, that the Government is using the scrapping of the tax disc to pretend that Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) belongs to the owner and not the vehicle. Despite what you may have heard elsewhere, this is NOT the case - the VED currently belongs to the vehicle.

According to our contact, the changes to the VED system (which will take place in October) are all to do with the Finance Bill 2014, which states how the Government raises its revenue for the coming year. There is currently a Government consultation in place - everyone has the right of reply, although it closes very shortly (4th of February).

John Mitchell, MAG National Chairman, is not pleased with the blatant mis-information that is being given out over the internet - "Getting any future owner of a vehicle to tax it immediately on purchasing, rendering any existing VED invalid, will generate a large sum of cash for the Government; no doubt it will pay for the rebrand of the DVLA for the merger with the Driving Standards Agency (which becomes the DVSA in April). It is now time for a proper debate on the future of VED for all vehicles, especially for motorcycles. MAG is now committed to campaigning for the exemption of motorcycles/PTWs from VED. Questions are also to be asked in Parliament".

More information can be found on the Government website - Finance Bill 2014: draft legislation overview documents *** CAUTION - Extremely Boring !!! - Read only when having difficulty sleeping ***

8) Wakefield MAG 5th Annual Charity Pet Food Run

Our first branch rideout of 2014 will be our Annual Charity Pet Food Run, in aid of Wakefield District Dog Rescues. The run is provisionally scheduled for Sunday 23rd March (TBC - see the events page for confirmation details, and next months newsletter).

We will meet at our usual rideout start point: Redbeck Cafe, Doncaster Road, Wakefield, at 09:30, leaving at 10:00. This is later than the other rideouts in 2014 will leave, but then again, it is a lot earlier in the year.

Upon leaving at 10:00, our first port of call, will be Whitehall Dog Rescue in East Ardsley. From there, we will visit the Leeds & Wakefield RSPCA Rescue Kennels, at nearby Tingley.

Bring the following items for donation:

This will be our 5th Annual Pet Food Run, and if anything like last year's, a great little rideout with a most worthwhile purpose. Really hope you can make it and don't forget those doggy treats !!

N.B. This run is a little early in the year so there is still a risk of frost / ice / snow. In the event of poor / unsafe riding conditions, please feel free to come along in the car instead.

9) Helmet Laws: Not a Question of Safety, but a Question of Liberty

Lembit Öpik, the Motorcycle Action Group's (MAG) Director of Communications & Public Affairs, has spoken out against the implied imposition of a mandatory helmet law for cyclists. The threat has arisen as a result of the Advertising Standards Agency's (ASA) directive to Cycling Scotland, requiring them to feature cyclists wearing helmets, and refusing to authorise a television advertisement which showed a rider without a helmet - claiming that to do so would be 'socially irresponsible'.

Lembit says "in 1973, British motorcyclists suffered a hammer blow to their liberty with the introduction of a mandatory helmet law. Over the last four decades we have never wavered from our principled position of opposing this authoritarian regulation. It's not because we're against safety; rather it's because we're pro-choice. At the heart of any truly free society, citizens have the right to make personal decisions about their welfare and the level of risk they're willing to entertain. No government has the moral authority to forcibly impose its opinion about what's best for citizens, because such a move is counter to the very freedoms which democracy exists to uphold. As such, we offer our full support to Britain's cyclists in opposing the mandatory wearing of helmets. This is a symbolic test of the liberty. A defeat on this would be a catastrophic failure of politicians to respect the personal liberty of the people".

MAG Chairman John Mitchell adds "I have instructed MAG's Reps to provide whatever support is necessary to assist the British cycling community to successfully resist this ominous legislative menace. The ASA has effectively used its position to censor Cycling Scotland's right to illustrate cyclists' liberty to ride without a helmet. They have evidently not got the right to veto the portrayal of a legal activity, but the precedent is extremely dangerous. Their action has reignited an issue which has been quietly smouldering for some time as far as motorcyclists are concerned. Make no mistake, we're ready, willing and able to take this issue to the politicians, and I have no doubt that this debate will now extend to bikers as well as cyclists. The Cycle Touring Club, which represents cyclists is firmly against compulsory helmet use, as it feels that mandatory helmet use will reduce the numbers of those people who take up cycling. What unites us all is our belief in personal choice. The very last thing elected politicians who ignore this can expect is an easy ride".

10) 30th Anniversary Fred Hill Memorial Run

This is the first of the Yorkshire Region events for 2014 and will also be our first rideout of the year. The Annual Fred Hill run (hosted by Leeds MAG) is being held on Sunday 9th February and is always very well attended and is an event not to be missed. The Run will leave Squires Cafe Bar at Newthorpe (Sherburn-in-Elmet) at 11.00 prompt. The Run will proceed via Sherburn, Tadcaster, Boston Spa, Collingham, Harewood and Arthington to the Sun Inn at Norwood, Nr Otley. Wakefield MAG will meet at our usual location (Redbeck Cafe, 339 Doncaster Road, Crofton, Wakefield, WF4 1RT) at 09:00, leaving at 09:30 for the ride over to Squires, where we will meet up with other Yorkshire MAG branches and MCC's for the Fred Hill Memorial Run. N.B. This run is liable to cancellation at short notice in the event of snow and/or ice on the day (for safety reasons), therefore, check this website prior to setting off.

As this run counts as a MAG Demo run, attendance at this event will earn you 75 branch points (as opposed to 10 for a normal ride-out). As points really do mean prizes, what more incentive could you possibly want to attend !!!

If you don't know who Fred Hill was, check out his Obituary

11) Forthcoming Events (for February and beyond)

Wednesday 5th February - Wakefield MAG 10th Post Christmas Auction

As Detailed Above.

Sunday 9th February - Leeds MAG Fred Hill Memorial Run

As Detailed Above.

Tuesday 11th February - Leeds MAG Valentine Curry, Cupcakes and Comedy night

After the resounding success of their first Curry, Cupcakes and Comedy night in the summer, Leeds MAG are delighted to announce the second CC&C to be held at the Cross Keys Britannia Road Morley LS27 0AR. Tickets are once again £5 and include Curry and Cupcakes as well as Comedy. The unique Patrick Devine will once again be their MC for the evening and he will be introducing another four great comedians: Lou Conran, Lovdev Barpaga, Marshal B Anderson and Harriet Dyer. Everyone is giving their time for free to help the fundraising for MAG and for NABD. Who cares if it's a school night? This is one night not to be missed! Tickets will be available from the Cross Keys and Leeds MAG meetings from mid-January and you can pay on the door - but get there early if you want a seat - it was standing room only last time round!

Saturday 22nd February - Huddersfield MAG's Early Spring Camp, Dent

Great countryside, real ale, farmhouse breakfast and an opportunity to ride your bike in the Dales. Email rep@huddersfield-mag.co.uk for details. Bring your thermals.

Sunday 9th March - Yorkshire Region Meeting (10:00 Start)

Venue TBC. Every Yorkshire MAG member is more than welcome to attend the meeting and see how the region is run, its more the merrier and Yorkshire MAG welcome you taking more of an interest or active role.

Sunday 9th March - MAP Meeting (13:00 Start)

Venue TBC. Magic Action Promotions (MAP), is the events arm of Yorkshire MAG, which hosts the ITV, FYP & YPR bike rallies, which contribute so enormously to the MAG fighting fund. Every MAG member is more than welcome to attend the meeting and see how the MAP events are run, its more the merrier and MAP welcome you taking more of an interest or active role.

Friday 14th March - Wakefield MAG's 12th Birthday Party

As Detailed Above. Come along and celebrate this most momentous occasion !!!

Sunday 23rd March (TBC) - Our popular Annual Charity Pet Food Run to Whitehall Dog Rescue in East Ardsley and other local pet rescues.

See Above. Meet 09:30 (leaving at 10:00) at RedBeck Cafe, Doncaster Road, Wakefield.

Sunday 6th April - Wakefield Hospice 10K Race (Wakefield MAG providing Mobile Race Marshals)

Starting from Thornes Park. Time: 09:00 (race starts at 09:30) TBC

Saturday 12th April - MAG Annual Group Conference 2014

Blackpool. Free, but bring your MAG membership card to gain entry & vote.

Sunday 20th April - Yorkshire Region Meeting (10:00 Start)

Venue TBC. Every Yorkshire MAG member is more than welcome to attend the meeting and see how the region is run, its more the merrier and Yorkshire MAG welcome you taking more of an interest or active role.

Sunday 20th April - MAP Meeting (13:00 Start)

Venue TBC. Magic Action Promotions (MAP), is the events arm of Yorkshire MAG, which hosts the ITV, FYP & YPR bike rallies, which contribute so enormously to the MAG fighting fund. Every MAG member is more than welcome to attend the meeting and see how the MAP events are run, its more the merrier and MAP welcome you taking more of an interest or active role.

Saturday 26th April - Wakefield MAG Monthly Rideout to Altberg M/C Boot Factory, Richmond, North Yorkshire

Meet 8:30am (leaving at 9:00am) at RedBeck Cafe, Doncaster Road, Wakefield, WF1 4EJ

See the events page for further details and more !!!

That's all for this month, and I hope to see you all soon.

Ride Safe .. Ride Free
Steve Travis
Wakefield MAG
0772 078 4734

Wakefield MAG meet at the Grey Horse, Kirkgate, Wakefield at 8:30pm every Wednesday. New (and Old) faces are always welcome.