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October 25, 2011


Guisborough, England – The  President of France, Nicolas Sarkozy, is not the only one to have thrown a teddy bear out of the European Union pram…

In an outburst over the Eurozone crisis Sarkozy told UK Prime Minster Dave “The Boy” Cameron that: “We are sick of you criticising us and telling us what to do”.

In the micro world that is European motorcycle politics we have an equivalence, even a parallel, of Monsieur le Président. The French have Nicolas Sarkozy we have Aline Delhaye, Secretary General of Federation of European Motorcyclists Associations (FEMA).

If you were wondering its all about the UK organised protest against the proposed European Commissions Regulations for Motorcycles scheduled for November 22nd in Brussels.

When I say UK organised I don’t mean by any UK “riders rights” group. The Brussels demo is being put together by the UK’s largest weekly motorcycle paper Motorcycle News (MCN) in support of an online petition. All in all a fairly legitimate set up even taking into account the publicity generated for MCN.

The road to protest is however a tortuous one as has been revealed by MCN Senior Reporter, Steve Farrell. Fed up with FEMA’s antics over supporting, or not, the 22 November protest Farrell has simple published all his e-mail exchanges with both FEMA and the Motorcycle Action Group UK on Facebook.

Farrell’s request for support by FEMA seems reasonable. This makes FEMA’s response somewhat surprising. Ms Delhaye says that: “This is a national UK initiative and FEMA internal procedures require that such initiatives be endorsed by the related national associations”. While MAG UK are not supporting the Brussels demo apparently the British Motorcyclists Federation (BMF), a FEMA member if they remember to pay this years subscription, is. According to BRR’s Brussels contact the BMF’s hard working Government Relations Executive, Chris Hodder, will be addressing the demo from the steps of the European Parliament. Although our man in Brussels is not clear if Chris will be wearing his BMF, his FEMA Director of Communications or his Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM) Commission for Public Affairs Expert Member hat! Or all three!

Ms Delhaye reiterates FEMA’s view’s on the demo by telling Farrell that because the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) is supporting the demo and the online petition is “inaccurate”  FEMA wants no involvement. A fact reinforced by FEMA mailing all its members and instructing them not to take part in the UK organised demonstration.

It is only fair to point out that UKIP’s anti EU stance is well-known and that the Party has eleven MEP’s. It should also be noted that UKIP supported the BMF’s 3rd Driving Licence Campaign with no complaints from FEMA. Also the “inaccurate” petition well reflected FEMA’s views until  FEMA published an interview with MEP Malcolm Harbour, chair of the European Parliament Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO). The very Committee dealing with the European Commissions Motorcycle proposals. This interview caused FEMA to have a cathartic schism, an out of organisation experience somewhere on the Brussels Rue Wiertz. A U-turn which confirmed what a number of us have known for a considerable time i.e. FEMA has talked a load of b******s.

Handily Mr Farrell has also published exchanges with MAG UK. Fascinating stuff. MAG UK won’t support the MCN demo because of the involvement of UKIP. Yes MAG have played their non-partisan joker. All those nasty right wing people who want us out of Europe. Humm well some of us who know the “internals” at MAG are aware that a considerable number of its members would vote for Attila the Hun if he was standing for election.

Then what about MAG UK General Secretary Nich Brown attending and speaking at the People Pledge Congress. Ostensibly a group calling for a UK referendum on leaving Europe but in fact peopled by anti European MPs and camp followers. Indeed BRR’s attendee was bombarded by anti EU propaganda and can confirm that an EU flag was burned, a video of which was later aired by the UK media. Mr Brown used his “stage” time to explain all the anti motorcycle nasties the EU have planned for motorcyclists. Not exactly non-partisan!

BRR supports the right of European motorcyclists and scooterists to conduct legitimate and legal protest anywhere in the European Union. Question is do the “riders rights” groups.

Ride it, ride it right.

© Back Roads Rider 2011


23 Comments leave one →
  1. October 26, 2011 12:51 pm

    Well, obviously I’ll be wearing my BMF hat. Not literally though, although I do have one.

    • October 26, 2011 3:05 pm

      Also, for the record, FEMA have not contacted anyone urging them not to support the demo. For obvious reasons I would take that extremely seriously.

    • Elaine permalink
      November 19, 2011 7:47 am

      I’m going to enjoy this – watching the MCN/BMF/MAG motley crew go to the wrong address…

  2. Dave permalink
    October 27, 2011 8:29 am

    Chris, you should get a Fez too. You’d suit a Fez.

  3. Back Roads Rider permalink*
    October 27, 2011 7:12 pm

    Yes Dave you could be right there.

    Although somewhat impractical for a bike!

  4. November 3, 2011 6:31 pm

    Looks like – according to MCN Back-off EU Facebook page that MAG have backtracked on their stance and now support the MCN demo.

    Also spinning of the MCN Demo is the new Peoples front of……………………sorry, Association of British Motorcyclists.

    “Created, in response to the opinions voiced on the MCN Back-off EU page, and will also be used to update contributors, on the progress of the proposed joint national conference of action groups, motorcycle press and motorcycle industry. The aim of the conference is for all the groups to present a united front, despite their differences, and to meet and discuss the way forward on a regular basis, but to retain thier individual identities.”

    Although one poster on the MCN Back-off EU page says,”Do any of you actualy read MCN? then you know that this demo is a TOTAL waist (sic) of time and money. I’ll be going down the pub.”


  5. Scouse permalink
    November 5, 2011 6:06 pm

    Just intrigued by all this as as of last week no east Midlands MEP’s ( Peterboghorror being in the EU designated East Midlands Area) had been notified of any intended Demo as they would have expected to be notified that one organised in their area was taking place… even if it is by a self serving organ of a global media behemoth bandwagon jumping in their constituency. No doubt so they can be on hand to deliver platitudes and false promises…

    Also I was informed by the MEP in question that the chances of anyone getting within shouting distance of the Parliament will be pretty slim without official recognition of this gathering … usually the Brussels coppers will fence of the area when unofficial gatherings take place and unleash the water cannon, rubber bullets and the snarling hounds at the merest hint of non-compliance.

    So just what is this knee jerk collection of bikers being fleeced by the ferry companies and allegedly MCN getting their cut of the profits by “promoting” a discount , aim to do when they get there… ? The vote has already been moved three times; last time at two days notice… and the Parliament as has already been stated will be most likely closed off to them… and wo exactly are they representing ? Not me I am not an MCN reader, for the same reason I don’t read the Sun. Lack of provable representation is exactly the same position that the so called Fuel Protest fell foul of. There is no recognised elected leadership to be negotiated with, the media are running this without considering the consequences if it goes wrong harming the other riders rights groups. Also given the BMF’s dependence on the troubled ship of Archant publishing to provide their in house magazine, are they looking to jump ship to a Bauer sponsorship deal… pure conjecture of course…

    So what exactly is the aim of a demo organised by the “news2 paper, that was already reporting earlier this year many of the issues they are now “campaigning” against as done deals… ever had the feeling you’ve been had ?

    • Olive Oyl permalink
      November 10, 2011 3:49 pm

      Scouse, it appears that we’ve all been had. MAG’s fearless leader Mutch has agreed to give a speech in Brussels at the MCN organised protest.

      You are of course right about the possibility of the meeting being moved – it’s already been changed to the morning – it’s first on the agenda for the 10.00 to 12.30 am session.

      That means that the vote will have already taken place before the protest even gets started. According to MCN, the protest is supposed to kick off at 1.30 – local time.

      The range of T shirts, badges, stickers from “F*ck Off EU” to “the finger” are certainly going to demonstrate to the Commission and parliamentary representatives just how articulate and civilized motorcyclists from the UK are – not…

      Something seems to have gone terribly wrong.

      • Olive Oyl permalink
        November 10, 2011 4:14 pm

        PS – latest update – the vote has now been postponed until December 5th – due to the fact that van de Camp has got himself into a knot over the timetable for all the issues – e.g. emissions, ABS, OBD etc etc

        I’m sure that there will be a raft of conspiracy theorists to explain the delay.

      • Back Roads Rider permalink*
        November 10, 2011 4:53 pm

        Ok I know I should not ridicule politicians, but since I spied Wim van de Camp in those white leathers he parades around wearing in my eyes he’s got about as much credibility as Berlusconi.

      • Scouse permalink
        November 10, 2011 5:05 pm

        Errm just received confirmation via the MAG activists mailing list – the meeting has been postponed until the 5th of December….

        Got nothing against the patches, just wish everyone was actually listening to the folks who lobby professionally, and not jump in making wild allegations and encouraging chest beating slogan’eering just because there are papers to sell.

        But interestingly Mutchie giving a speech is NOT MAG getting on-board it is one member who is going under his own steam. Okay so he is the elected President but… the Central Committee who are elected to represent the views of the Rank and File members have not to my knowledge endorsed it… just for the reason that it is not seen by anyone other than the MCN as being likely to have any impact or effect on something that co-ordinated EU wide lobbying is already causing ripples and danger of further damage due to poor riding skills on Wim’s van der Camp ( somehow a very suitable name… 😉 ) now pristine again white leathers.

  6. Scouse permalink
    November 10, 2011 5:06 pm

    Buuger it the spoolchucker not walking agoon!

    • Olive Oyl permalink
      November 10, 2011 8:42 pm

      Mr Mutch is the only president I am aware of – apart from Idi Amin – that is elected for life – however I’m digressing – he is the figure head of MAG and therefore represents MAG and in any case according to the intrepid reporter from MCN – MAG is now supporting the “protest”. Is this another case of the employees (contractor in the case of El presidente) doing their own thing again?

      Apart from I couldn’t agree more. MCN is in there for an extra sale, van de Camp has used his “biker” image to get in as rapporteur and it’s only now that they’ve realised that he really doesn’t have a clue – but that’s FEMA’s fault – they backed the wrong horse and now we’re all suffering. After all the dust settles Mr Farrell will undoubtedly claim that he alone saved biking, although that will be after taking a lot of flack from people getting lost in Brussels.
      Ah rats!

      • Scouse permalink
        November 11, 2011 11:54 am

        Olive… the Chair is the democratic head of MAG, the Presidency is more a recognition of service and no doubt will pass away as any role with anything other than the symbolic status it already has after Ian passes as he is the last of the founders.

        The Chair and Central committee has given grudging support for this MCN “venture” but is not backing it with any publicity as like many of us standing on the sidelines, nobody can see any long term aims or objective in it, other than has been said by many, to sell papers.

        I really hope that the lack of information available about what is actually happening on the day will be remedied soon, but looking around in many places at least there does seem to be some communication with the Belgian Police. As someone who has experienced their version of “kettling” by being in the wrong place at the wrong time I think that those caught up in this “crusade” to Brussels don’t feel the full force of it. It’s a long walk back to Calais.

        I really think that if the people so eager to “make a difference” by joining in with this ride out had done so for the poorly attended last Euro Demo perhaps we would not be in this situation now… at least Wim the wimp would have been “outed” a lot sooner 😉

  7. Mugazine permalink
    November 10, 2011 11:52 pm

    Scouse, MAG not getting on board?

    Is MCN being liberal with the truth when on their website it says,”The Motorcycle Action Group also contacted MCN to back the protest.”

    This was after the intrepid reporter from MCN posted up emails from MAG (and FEMA) on the MCN Facebook page which stated that MAG would not support the demo.

    In this weeks MCN it says, “Our protest plans are backed by both the UK’s major rider groups, the BMF and now MAG.”

    You say that, “the Central Committee (that’s the National Committee) who are elected to represent the views of the Rank and File members have not to my knowledge endorsed it…”

    The truth is out there it would seem.

    • Scouse permalink
      November 11, 2011 9:06 pm

      OOOh here we go one of the sheep have appeared or is it one of the “wolves” 😉

      Yes it does appear that there has been a nod to the fact that it is happening but no message from the top to the members. Allegedly it was felt that it was the only way to shut up Farrell whining and begging for recognition that he is a “clever boy.”… pitiful really that this is such an empty effort that they need to show that they are not wasting peoples time and money inviting them to get lost in the most congested city in Europe in the middle of the working day…. what is the point exactly… the vote has been cancelled again …there is a great pressure from the EU Ombudsman to get them to conform to the relevant sections of the Treaty of Lisbon… it will be cancelled again if we keep pressure on via lobbying MEP’s and the Ombudsman to ensure this happens . We currently have Government backing for several areas and even ACEM is muttering in dissent. over areas they previously supported.. so what is this jolly to Brussels going to accomplish… ?

      Strangely enough the only publications pushing it seem to be owned by the same international media conglomerate so I can only assume that as the only way you can currently find out any details on what is actually happening is to buy their product… ohh what a suprise! Ever had the feeling your getting shafted ? 😉

  8. Olive Oyl permalink
    November 11, 2011 6:13 pm

    In reference to Wim being outed – I presume you are making reference to the fact that he is openly gay – so what – so am I – Olive Oyl is a pseudonym – sweetie..

    I wasn’t referring to the Chairman. In any democracy a President is voted in – the other route is a monarchy – now that’s a thought!

    Whatever the situation of who’s up who or who supports who, it won’t matter one iota.

    The proposal, report and subsequent vote will go through irrespective of what bikers in the UK think and do. If the three amigos of Rue des Champ (FEMA) and FIM couldn’t convince the Commission/MEPs – what chance would anybody here have?

    Apart from all that, until the IMCO committee has actually decided on what will be in their final report and until the Council of Ministers have agreed on what they want – which would need to align with parliament, nobody knows what the outcome will be and what will be voted in parliament.

    It seems to me that we all need to take a deep breath, wait for the final proposal to be voted on and then organise a huge demo in Brussels – or Strasbourg – depending on where they vote.

    It would also help if people stuck to the facts and avoid digressions such as Hi Viz, seven year bans in urban areas, PTI yada yada.

    But that’s just my view.

    • Scouse permalink
      November 11, 2011 10:42 pm

      No Olive… not outed as gay or whatever sexual persuasion he follows … but as his main argument for compulsory ABS has oft been quoted as, he thought that it would have saved him crashing, proved that as an automotive engineer he is no rider… anyone can wear leathers for photo shoots..or what ever… @shrug@

      But I agree a properly backed demo by the main groups acting together for once in one of the EU parliament seats ( I hear Alsace is quite pleasant in the spring ) that follows a fully EU co-ordinated campaign first and then followed up after with increased lobbying is the preferred just contributing to the mid working day congestion in the, as officially declared by TomTom, “Most congested city in Europe” .

      A worry is that it the press “organised” away day will be such a disaster that what is currently being fired up in the UK within the once apathetic breasts of the riding community will be still born due to the sadly immense potential for it to be a damp squib.

      • Olive Oyl permalink
        November 13, 2011 8:37 am


        van de Camp is gay – and a weekend warrior… It appears that these two factors were fundamental to getting him elected because apart from that, he seems to be a very boring, unexciting person. As this video demonstrates:

        van de Camp is not – repeat – not an automotive engineer. Malcolm Harbour is an automotive engineer and only one on the IMCO committee that has any brains.

        van de Camp hasn’t got a clue, but because he likes to pose in his Dainese leathers, he’s been given the title of “expert”. Your mates in MAG and at FEMA flogged him to the great unwashed as the bikers’ mate until everybody realised that he had his own agenda including “tough anti-tampering measures”, ABS, AHO, OBD – the whole shit. So now everybody’s back tracking, going into denial – making excuses and so forth.

        After van de Camp’s accident, in which he stated to the IMCO committee that if his bike had ABS it wouldn’t have happened (which in itself is bullshit, because he crashed on a Harley and ABS on Harleys are shit anyway), he then backtracked and stated that he was first an MEP and then a biker. Well, well, well.

        So where does that leave our representatives here and in Brussels? Clearly they backed the wrong horse and now that’s all been brushed under the carpet and the next round of “aren’t we wonderful” kicks off.

        Time to go fishing

    • Mugazine permalink
      November 12, 2011 11:00 am

      Sheep or Wolf better than a Lemming 😉

      I read from your explanations of MAG supporting the MCN protest rally, was to shut up Farrell so that he would perhaps not post anymore communications in the public domain?

      If this is true then this hardly the actions of a strong willed principled organisation?

      MAG have said regarding the MCN protest rally, “It is for this reason that no serious motorcycle organisation will be able to support something so closely aligned to one political Party. As I (Paddy Tyson) believe I said in our first phonecall, the overt links with, and the public statement that, MCN is arranging the event at the behest of UKIP, immediately alienated MAG such that we couldn’t support the day as it was being tabled.”

      I do agree with the MAG statement, I do agree with what you say regarding MCN, I do agree with what you say about the demo and I do agree that, “keep pressure on via lobbying MEP’s and the Ombudsman to ensure this happens. ”

      As you have posted elsewhere I agree with you when you say about the MCN protest rally, “you only have a vague meet point, and a vague plan to go on a ride round Brussels………other wise this demo is pissing in the wind.”

      However MAGs integrity in their reasons for supporting the MCN demo seems to be in question?

      Olive Oyl says, “It seems to me that we all need to take a deep breath, wait for the final proposal to be voted on and then organise a huge demo in Brussels – or Strasbourg – depending on where they vote.”

      I notice your post in another place you have said, “The real EU wide demo -,which I have discovered via contacts that was already being planned, will be in the spring when the REAL vote takes place, not the minor one that was due on the 22nd.”

      Is there an EU wide demo being organised which I would assume is with the full support of FEMA and its National Organisations?

      • Scouse permalink
        December 3, 2011 12:00 pm

        Mugazine… I have not heard anything concrete yet,as regards dates and locations given the current situations with IMCO this may take some time to finalise but as you seem to be “cyber stalking” me you will no doubt know as soon as I have firm news 😉

        As much as MAG supported the idea, it was not widely supported by the rank and file membership… NC and Central have reservations aligning themselves to any action directly linked to Political parties after a similar situation created a storm at one AGC and the delegates voted against future direct involvement with any event organised by a political party… also in principle it was potentially a good idea , as the past and the recent day trip has taught us MCN should follow the rest of us and not try to steer. We do also know that MAG saying they agreed with the principle of the day was not a call to arms,merely an indication that maybe we should be seen to be a united front… or should that be peoples front… and try to avoid splitters 🙂

        Anyhow the folks on the day trip apparently enjoyed riding along some of the most boring and windswept concrete motorway sections in Northern Europe and enjoyed being herded round the Brussels Inner Ring road at a dead time of day when all MEP’s of any importance for the future of this campaign would be in committee in the Commission building and the locals all in work…. so not a total waste for them… but as there are also people pissed off about not seeing the changes and missing ferry’s because of the timings and not even getting to the meet point … once again it proves MCN are merely in it to sell papers … something based on recent figures they also appear to be not so good at.

        Anyhow must dash, have a bike to work on while I still have the legal right to do so … TTFN

  9. Mugazine permalink
    December 3, 2011 10:22 pm

    Hello again Scouse, there are only so many places that there are discussions on the issue, I see over on Adventure Bike Rider……………………:-)

    Hold on MAG is the rank and file.

    As you know the NC the National Committee the voting members – the Regional Reps – represent those rank and file members or those that attend local meetings and get involved.

    Central is an office, an administration “center” for the organisation and has no vote in the running of the organisation.

    Central Office has employees who carry out the wishes and advise the NC……..

    Oh f@ck it I’m getting all confused………….see you over on the Association of British Bikers FB page – splitters!

    PS I agree with you on MCN.


  1. El Camino – The Road

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