Words from the Chair

So far this year I am at least £145 in profit on my MAG membership. How? Because I only shop at bike shops that give MAG Members Discount and I use MAG’s insurance deals, that’s how. These are the savings I’ve made to date:

Battery for my Suzuki GS850 £3 (Dyrons, Leeds) Wheel Build for my Triumph £30 (Wylde’s, Leeds) Fork seals (Suzuki) £4 (Castle m/c, Castleford) North Sea Ferry (FEMA Rally) £18

I’ve probably saved a bit more on parts actually but these are the ones that stick in my memory. On top of this I took the family on holiday covered by MAG’s super-competitive full-year travel insurance policy. Judging by what the insurance cost me the last time I went to the USA on a travel insurance policy arranged by a non-MAG source, that probably saved me another fifty quid. MAG Direct insurance for Linda on her Honda CG125 came in at £70 cheaper than the next best quote. That makes total savings of £175. Take away the £30 I paid for joint membership for Linda and myself and that’s a net saving of £145.

If you are one of the people reading this who are not a MAG member all I can say is “Why?” Do you like paying over the odds for the essentials? The £145 I’ve saved will pay for a bloody good weekend on the continent with MAG Belgium at the FEMA Rally. What would you enjoy spending your savings on?

MAG’s annual conference is almost upon us. In case you miraculously missed the announcement in the last issue, or the one in this issue, or the one on the website, it’s at the Benn Hall in Rugby on Saturday 27th October. Judging by the tripe written on a certain Internet forum by various members of the Hells Angels’ fan club I am supposed to be worried about this year’s conference. Sorry to disappoint the HA’s cheerleaders, who will no doubt get their red and white pom-poms in a twist, but nothing could be further from the truth. I positively relish the prospect of chucking their lies back at them in front of a packed conference hall so all there present can see first hand what we are up against. And it ain’t a pretty sight! There is a small and immature but vocal minority within our ranks who seem to totally lack any shred of self-respect. For them the HAMC consists of Demi-gods to be emulated and pandered to in every way possible.

These people, if they get the chance, will lay MAG at the HA’s feet. They will do anything and say anything to that end. Unfortunately they are so sad and pathetic that whatever they do there is no chance of the HA ever chucking them so much as a prospect patch. I’ll say one thing for the HA – they do at least have recruiting standards. That is a shame in this case though, as it means that we are probably stuck with the saddies for the foreseeable future.

I am standing again for the MAG Chairmanship on a platform of maintaining MAG’s independence and for the freedom of our members to attend MAG events without being subject to violent attack. I stand also for MAG members not having to subsidise those who think they are entitled to free entry, free beer and free anything else they take a fancy to, on the grounds of so-called ‘respect’. I would much rather not have to address this issue yet again but it needs to be done.

Why anyone should be so desperate to suck up to the HA beats me. If they are so eager to have a bunch of big hard friends then why don’t they just go to HA events and buy their beer for them out of their own pockets? Then everyone will be happy. We can spend MAG money on campaigning, the HA will still get free beer, and the saddies can have the dubious honour of bowing and scraping in their large and forbidding shadows while they drink it.

A few years back when MAG helped to create FEMA one massive obstacle first had to be overcome. That was the wholly mistaken belief by the Nordic riders’ rights organisations that MAG was in some way a ‘front’ organisation for the Hells Angels. The Nordic organisations were led to that belief by a former Chairman of the BMF who did not want the FEM – EMA merger to happen. Apparently he was worried that it would dissolve his personal power base. It took a great deal of effort, explanation and argument to refute the smears and prove that MAG was clean.

You may wonder why this was so much of an obstacle. To understand the concerns of our Nordic brethren fully you need to remember what had been going on in Scandinavia in the 1990s. In Denmark the Hells Angels and Bandidos had been killing each other in large numbers. In Norway the Norwegians experienced HA terrorism first hand. Norwegian (Norsk) Motor Cycle Union (NMCU) clubhouses were burned down and death threats made against NMCU officers. Small wonder then that they were worried that MAG might have links to the Hells Angels.

Does this all sound familiar? The HAMC in this country have still not repudiated the threat made by one of their members in the name of the club to murder Ian Mutch and myself though the individual who threatened my life does now deny it, albeit implausibly. Neither has the HAMC repudiated the separate threat by another of their members against Henry Marks at the Welsh Show.

No class of motorcyclist has done more damage over the years to the image of motorcycling and motorcyclists than the Hells Angels. If ever MAG members allow them or their supporters to gain the upper hand in MAG then MAG has had it. Our credibility with the decision-makers in government will go straight down the pan and with it will go our alliances with bikers’ organisations worldwide. There will be no responsible and respectable bikers’ organisation anywhere in the world that will have anything to do with MAG and the best part of 30 years’ work by thousands of good, honest ordinary bikers will be trashed.

That is what we are up against. My more diplomatic colleagues on the MAG National Committee reckon I should try to conceal how much I despise those who try to suck up to the HA, but I can’t. I believe in saying what I think. Nobody likes a brown-nosed toady, especially one who tries to drag MAG down to his level. You can’t beat the truth. They should either grow up or take a walk. We won’t miss them.

So there we go. Come to the MAG Conference. It should be fun!

Neil F. Liversidge
MAG National Chairman