Motorcycle Action Group
Annual Group Conference
April 09, 2011
Conference Chairman Jol Lawson, National Vice-Chair, welcomed
delegates to the Conference, dealt with housekeeping issues and noted
apologies from Aine Gale and Rick Hulse.
MAG(UK) Ltd Annual General Meeting
1. Report by Chairman of the Board: Paul Turner
Paul reported that the last 12 months had been “interesting”. He
noted the office move, which has saved the organisation money and is
a better environment to work in; that membership is rising again and
MAG is doing well. He then requested NC briefly introduce themselves
as there are a number of new faces.
2. Report by Company Secretary: Steve Wykes
Steve confirmed MAG UK is solvent and operating legally.
3. Finance Director's report: Patrick Van Aalst (see also attached)
Patrick gave a run-down of income and expenditure noting that there
had been a modest improvement across the board. He explained that
costs for sub-contractors had increased over the previous year but
that some of those costs should have been in last year’s accounts.
Wages have increased due to an increase in staff (including agency)
and rent/rates were up due to paying two rents during the office
changeover, although this will drop as rent for the new accommodation
is less and it is easier to maintain. There has been an improvement
in recording of information. MAG spent more than it earned but has
been achieving more.
4. Finance questions
Following questions from the floor, it was confirmed that membership
stood at 8,600 at the end of 2010 and that 5 people are employed
full-time, plus one on a temporary basis for ticket sales. It was
also clarified that an expected redundancy payment was subsequently
not paid as the employee did not qualify for this.
Concern was expressed regarding the downward trend in membership but
the number of activities engaged in was encouraging. Paul Turner
noted that MAG is “catching up” with the £20.00 renewal offer
following the increase in membership.
Neil Liversidge noted that despite living in an I.T. age MAG now
employs more administrative staff than before. Paul Turner clarified
the employees as Nich Brown (General Secretary), Paddy Tyson
(Campaigns Manager), Louisa Smith (Deputy General Secretary), Katie
Jupp (Membership) and Julie Sperling (Accounts). He noted that MAG is
getting “more out of our staff than ever before” and that there may
be scope to reduce some working hours in the future but not at the
Patrick Van Aalst noted that although membership income is up,
membership itself is down and that a membership drive is needed so
that MAG can become less reliant on income from rallies.
Neil Liversidge raised a number of points regarding the efficiency of
MAG’s use of funds and Sheila MacFarlane confirmed that a new
business plan is currently being worked on with a view to being in
place by August/September. She also thanked Patrick for the quality
of his presentation, which was reiterated by Paul Turner. It was
noted that for those who wished, an electronic version of the
information can be sent out.
5. Reappointment of Auditors
It was asked whether this had been put out to tender, or the costs of
auditing companies checked. It was confirmed that this had not been
done but would be looked at for next year.
Stanley Yule were reappointed as Auditors.
6. Resignation and election of Directors
Resignations: Tony Cox stepped down at the end of his tenure.
Elections: (Manifestos attached).
Patrick Van Aalst stood for election. It was asked whether he would
be paid in this role and it was confirmed that none of the Directors
are paid for this role.
7. Summing up: Paul Turner
Summing up, Paul noted that there had been a number of interesting
debates. He declared the meeting closed at 11.35 am.
MAG (UK) Ltd AGM was duly closed by Mr. Turner and AGC opened.
MAG Annual Group Conference 2011
1. Handover of Conference chair to National Vice-Chair
Conference chair Jol Lawson opened proceedings.
2. Review of 2010/11 campaign activity:
General Secretary: Nich Brown and Campaigns Coordinator: Paddy Tyson
Nich noted that he and Paddy deal with a mix of issues (local,
national and European) and that they split the work between them so
all issues are covered at all times.
Paddy spoke about the RAV campaign, which was started as we headed
into the 2010 General Election, noting that it went very well
reinvigorating political activity by MAG. He noted that 34 new
branches had been started, with 29 of them progressing well. He then
spoke about the mass lobby of Parliament in November, which helped to
clarify what riders are interested in, noting that reductions in
casualty figures featured quite highly. He then reminded Conference
that local elections are approaching.
Nich then touched on the ministerial review of the implementation of
the 2nd Driving Licence Directive which resulted in motorcycle tests
becoming less accessible, and the massive impact that resulted from
some manoeuvres being taken off-road. He mentioned that the Junior
Minister for Transport (Motorcycling) is the minister behind putting
as much of the test as possible back on the road and that there have
now been some revisions to the current test which will be brought in
Paddy then filled in some of the background to this issue, as he is
involved with the technical sub-group looking at issues relating
directly to the technicalities of the test. He explained that the DSA
had been adamant that they would not split the “swerve and stop” part
of the test, and that they were originally supported by the DfT.
However, the minister decided to visit a Multi-Purpose Test Centre
and witness a motorcycle test to see what all the fuss was about,
resulting in the DfT moving to the MAG camp regarding this matter! He
also noted that the DfT/DSA plans to implement the 3rd Driving
Licence Directive are based on riders re-taking the same test as they
progress to bigger bikes and that the public consultation was
challenged as not fit for purpose.
Nich gave further information regarding motorcycle tests and Type-
Approval, noting that potentially, by around 2016/17, it may not be
possible for owners to work on new machines at all due to a German-
type MoT or Periodic Technical Inspection. He said that MEP’s need to
grasp the difference between customising or modifying a machine and
He went on to say that MEP’s need to read and support MAG’s position
statement on this and explained that although FEMA does not have a
consensus on this matter, a number of member organisations are on
board and will be organising opposition to it. There are discussions
about the possibility of a Euro-demo around July/August with MAG
Belgium and MAG Netherlands.
Pete Walker asked if it would be prudent and indeed feasible to
organise demonstrations in each EU capital; Nich replied that doing
so could dilute the main demonstration.
A question from the floor sought clarification regarding FEMA not
being wholeheartedly behind this issue. Nich explained that FEMA
comprises 27 organisations and runs by consensus, but MAG is working
with individual riders’ rights organisations.
Discussion ensued regarding MAG’s financial contribution to FEMA
(this works out at £1.00 per member), whether or not it would be
feasible to organise a ride with ferry crossing for the
demonstration, and whether the fight should continue regarding
possible compulsory ABS (it must remain a matter of choice). It was
suggested from the floor that MAG could consider working with other
organisations, e.g. kit car manufacturers; this will be put on the
Agenda for the next NC meeting.
Paddy then talked about the Get a Grip! Campaign, noting that it
encompasses much more than just manhole covers and includes diesel
spills, white lines and general improvement of road condition; he
also commented that we currently have 19th century technology on 21st
century roads and that the new composite manhole covers (which won
the Prince Michael of Kent Road Safety Award in 2009) don’t damage
the road, have no scrap value (unlike the covers in use now) and can
be incorporated on a “fit and forget” basis for a minimum of 15
years. Because Minister Mike Penning had observed that there is no
perceived need for these replacement covers, a petition was passed
round Conference, and it was noted that the cycle lobby is also
A number of questions were taken from the floor including whether
there is a commercial tie-up (yes, in as much as sponsorship means it
pays for itself); whether the covers are relevant (yes, they provide
a way of leading into other, related issues and have organisations
such as ACPO on board lending credibility to MAG); and how the covers
compare to traditional ones in wet conditions (traditional covers
have a skid resistance of 20 (comparable to wet glass); composite
covers have a skid resistance of 45 (giving consistency of grip).
Following comments from Nich in respect to drink-driving statistics a
recent case involving the death of a motorcyclist due to a drunk
driver was brought to Conference’s attention. The driver is
understood to have shown no remorse stating that it didn’t matter and
that “motorcyclists go too fast anyway”. The sentence given was low
(3 years) where 7-9 years would be more usual. The question to
Conference in light of this matter was whether MAG should campaign
regarding this case specifically and/or campaign to get the relevant
Neil Liversidge suggested that MAG should request the Attorney
General look at this specific case and also request that government
reviews and addresses disparities of sentencing. Ian Mumford noted
that there was only one working day left to address the first option
and that MAG should concentrate on the second option. Nich commented
that a body of evidence would have to be built up in respect to
parity of sentencing.
Jol Lawson suggested that Neil put together appropriate proposals
during the lunch break and Conference would revisit the issue at the
commencement of the afternoon session.
Conference breaks for lunch. A vote of thanks was proposed by Jol
Lawson to East Yorkshire Region for hosting the Conference and to the
venue staff for the catering.
Neil Liversidge put forward formal proposals in respect to the matter
being discussed immediately prior to the lunch break. Andy Carrott
noted that he was not against campaigning in respect of this
particular case but that the feelings of the family of the deceased
must be taken into account. A vote showed the motion to be carried.
Following a brief discussion the second motion regarding campaigning
for a government review of sentencing was also carried.
3. National Officers Reports
National Chairman: Paul Turner
Paul opened his comments by stating that he is enjoying the post of
Chairman, noted that corporate membership has increased and promoted
a local run taking place on 17/04/11.
He also mentioned that there would be debate regarding fund-raising
for charities during Agenda item 6. (Motions to Conference) and gave
an example of how it is possible to support other charities (e.g.
marshalling) while receiving income for MAG as payment for such
General Secretary: Nich Brown
Nich began by noting that the new premises for Central mean that they
are now fit for purpose, are suitable for hosting meetings and have
saved both time and money enabling Central to be much more
He also noted that efforts are being made to ensure some overlap of
roles so that no area is left without cover when staff are absent due
to annual leave or illness.
He stated that the membership database is poor and needs replacing by
a more suitable system that can integrate with other systems. He
noted that following difficulties in engaging and retaining a
membership administrator, we now have someone in place in whom Nich
has confidence and that the team is working well together.
Following discussion regarding the need to upgrade the membership
system an offer of assistance was given by Jon Wilmer, a member whose
job role is Management Information Systems.
The Road: Ian Mutch
Ian said that he has been trying to raise his game with The Road and
that it is better that he is not praised for his work or he is liable
to become complacent! He explained that he tries to maintain a
balance of articles as motorcycling is a broad church and then noted
that he has joined the i-age, resulting (inevitably!) in an anecdote.
He further noted that there would be more political content and
following a request for suggestions, received one for fewer pages
with a black background.
4. Election of National Officers (Manifestos attached)
National Chairman: Paul Turner
Proposed: Paul Turner, Seconded: Patrick Van Aalst.
National Finance Officer: Patrick Van Aalst
Proposed: Patrick Van Aalst, Seconded: Paul Turner.
It was proposed that the officers be voted in en bloc.
It was noted that a National Clubs Officer is still required. Wendy
Coy suggested extensive advertising, e.g. The Road, Network, etc.
Fergus O’Connell, who stepped down from the post at last year’s AGC,
said he would put together information explaining the role.
5. MAG Foundation report
Trustee: Nich Brown
Nich opened his remarks by requesting that someone step forward for
the role of Trustee to the Foundation, as this would release him from
the duties of this role enabling him to concentrate fully on his role
as General Secretary.
He then offered his thanks to all Trustees for their hard work and
stated that the Foundation had been set up with the right idea and
could potentially benefit MAG and its campaigns greatly.
6. Motions to Conference (see attached)
Motion 1: Charity fundraising (Proposed: Sheila McFarlane, Seconded:
This proved an emotive issue with many comments and observations from
the Floor, some unfortunately losing objectivity and becoming
Opening the debate, Jol Lawson, Chair, noted that the purpose of the
proposal was not to remove the opportunity to give to charity, simply
to give more focus to fundraising for MAG. Sheila McFarlane noted
that raising funds for other organisations is not a core activity for
Ian Mutch endorsed her comments, stating that the proposal merely
wished to send a message and should not bind anyone to anything, but
that some MAG branches do not seem to be aware that they should raise
funds for MAG.
Neil Liversidge noted that ideally money raised should be solely for
MAG and that it required not a change to the Constitution but
education of the membership.
Wendy Coy asked if the potential implications to MAG’s own charitable
arm, the MAG Foundation, had been looked at.
A member from Wykham MAG suggested that the proposed change implied
some activities were permitted and others not, and further stated he
was “suspicious of the motives behind the proposal”. This observation
unfortunately degenerated into comments wholly unsuitable to
Conference that had to be curtailed by Jol Lawson, Chair.
At this point Pete Walker came back to the point that it may have
implications not only for the MAG Foundation but also the NABD and
National Youthbike (organisations who are given affiliation at no
cost) and “respectfully requested the motion be withdrawn”.
Motion 2: Creation of new Warwickshire region (Proposed: Andy Pyatt,
Seconded: David Stead)
Neil Liversidge stated that the motion was defective because it
contained conjecture and hearsay. David Stead responded that they are
not professionals and that personal prejudice should be put aside.
Ian Mutch then stated that Conference should recognise the spirit of
the motion and not penalise it for the wording used.
Debate (sometimes heated) ensued regarding potential new boundaries
and the effect this could have on existing branches and events. It
seemed apparent that some members within the affected region were
strongly against this motion; however Selina Lavender commented that
she had attended their Regional AGM as Observer and was left with the
feeling that the motion was supported by the active membership.
Paddy Tyson gave the example of Eastern Region being reduced by the
creation of Lincolnshire Region, with the result that both regions
are now operating more efficiently, and urged Conference to vote in
favour of the motion.
Following further debate (again sometimes heated) regarding MAG’s
structure, Nich Brown stated that “the system is bust” and that a
rethink of the organisational structure is needed; however in the
meantime while a way forward is figured out Conference should support
Following a request to remove Solihull from the wording of the
motion, which was agreed, Conference voted.
For: 61; Against: 14; Abstentions: 12. Motion carried.
Before moving on to the next Agenda item, it was noted that it is
usual to vote in favour of renewal of affiliate membership for the
NABD and National Youthbike. This was duly taken.
7. Presidents Address: Ian Mutch
Ian opened his address by stating that he often looks at his notes
and wonders what they mean. He then regaled Conference with several
amusing anecdotes while noting that he is “increasingly impressed” by
the political clout that MAG now commands, touching on a number of
heavyweight issues that MAG is involved with and noting that there is
considerable scope for further development of the organisation
including encouraging younger members in.
Certificate of Merit:
Awarded to Wayne Rooney, Kitson Warrener, Sandra Garside, John
Graves, Neil Daniell, Simon Deards, Ian Williamson, Sean Buckley,
Clive & Jenny Cook, Aine Gale.
Richard Tegg Award:
Awarded to Tony Cox.
The Chairman's Award:
Awarded to Graham & Lesley Young.
9. Presentation of Donations
Cheques were presented as follows:
by Czez Czerepara, on behalf of old Eastern Region: £88.42
representing the closing balance of the account;
by Steve Wykes, on behalf of Edinburgh & District: £400.00.
Prior to the Chairman’s closing address, a number of fundraising
events and rallies were mentioned, and a suggestion made to raise the
membership subscription from £25.00 to £30.00. This matter to be
raised at the August NC meeting.
10. National Chairman's closing address
Paul proffered “huge thanks to all MAG members”, not just those at
AGC; to the Board of Directors; and to the staff at Central Office.
He further thanked Conference for their input at a Conference that
had proved “fraught at times” but ably demonstrated the democratic
11. AGC 2012
It was announced that proposals for hosting AGC 2012 should be
submitted to NC by August NC meeting.
Minutes taken by Jane Carrott, 72474, Secretary Mid Lincs Branch.