This is a conversation I had with another biker.
Me- "I know that you are a supporter of riders' rights as your attendance to recent demonstrations shows."
Jim- "Yea I do try when the sun's out."
Me- "Recently I went to a regular meet up of one of the organisations and I was profoundly effected by the lack of interest shown by existing members and others in not turning up."
Jim- "Well you can't be everywhere can you?"
Me- "I know that but I think if you care enough about something, it's worth a couple of hours once in a while and they have the meet in a pub so it's a social thing as well."
Jim- "I suppose."
Me- "The second and most heart breaking thing was to witness the area rep who for many, many years has obviously been the stalwart behind this particular region having to step down due to personal reasons."
Me- "Now I'm pretty sure that another contributing factor was the apathy shown by bikers, despite efforts to encourage, cajole, and entertain those self same bikers into having a presence and stating their case in a show of numbers to the policy makers, who would no doubt have been less than impressed by the turn out to some recent events."
Jim- "I can see that. If someone has taken the time to organise an event for the promotion of say a safety feature or grievance, then hardly anyone turns up, what message does that send?"
Me- "What if I were to tell you that motorcycling was under threat?"
Me- "What if I were to ask you what you intended to do about it?"
Me- "Would you even care?"
I was getting quite irate at this point.
Jim- "Whoa calm down will ya!"
Me- "Fuck calm down I'm serious. What if the government told you that as from tomorrow you could never ride your bike again?"
Me- "Why what?"
Jim- "Why can't I ride my bike tomorrow?"
Me- "Well for no other reason than they don't like you and don't want you too!"
Jim- "Fuck off you're paranoid!"
Me- "Paranoid? Nah, I don't think so but think about it. Who would it best suit to have us off the road for good, and why do you think they want rid of us?"
Me- "Paranoia is a strange thing. The urge to destroy what you can’t (or won’t) understand is a strong one, especially if you happen to be a government/ police force/ legal system/ press."
Jim- "Yea, yea, I get that man, but why?"
Me- "It's what we represent, init? Freedom, independent thought, rebellion, anarchy. Look at the way the authorities and press have butchered facts to fit a purpose. Misrepresented the truth to instill a culture of fear. And whose sole aim is it to reproduce a citizenship dedicated to mindless conformity.
To these guardians of public morality, our way of life represents a threat, not because we put bombs under the houses of parliament or preach revolution on street corners, but because we stand out as a highly visible example to Joe public that people don’t have to just shrug their shoulders, sit back and accept all the shit that’s flung at them.”
Jim- "Shit man I never looked at it that deep before."
Me- “We in the UK live in a free country, but that’s only relative—look at politicians for the proof that power corrupts. Beware both of them and their bureaucracy and remember one freedom lost is a freedom lost for ever! Have you ever heard of Orwell?”
Jim- "Orwell? Do you mean Onslow?"
Me- "No not Onslow, Onslow sells bikes or used to. Orwell, George Orwell, Animal Farm, 1984, first a commentary on the communist state and the second a future Utopian state."
Jim- "Oh that Orwell." Not really understanding.
Me- "Well he wrote about a state that controlled thought, and altered history to suit an agenda."
Jim- "Yea and?"
Me- "Well look around mate, false news, ghettoisation of communities, the insistence of high speed broad band phone tracking."
Me- "I have been looking back at some of my old mags from way way back to get some perspective on how things are today compared with what was in the past.
I’m loath to say but there are distinct parallels here in 2017 nothing much has changed."
Jim- "Really? All that time and nothing much has changed."
Me- "No mate not to any great extent. Remember when we were turned away from pubs? Well Smiths up north are at it again, no real reason except for we don't serve motorcyclists. Now for me motorcyclists don't suddenly change their persona when travelling by any other form of transport, say for convenience, so once a biker always a biker, just maybe different clothes."
Jim- "Well that's true. It don't make any difference to me whether I'm on me bike or her indoors has driven a few of us down the pub."
Me- "Exactly right mate that's what I'm sayin."
Jim- "So what if we get a few of us together one Friday night and all go down in cars order meals and drinks, then when they bring them out suddenly remember that they don't serve bikers, tell them so and walk out. That would make them think wouldn't it?"
Me- "I'm sure you are right, they wouldn't forget if enough folks did it. Bet it wouldn't take them long to catch on so it had better be a coordinated thing all on the same night! Trouble is you can't rely on folks to back you up. They are great at moaning but sod all else, and that is where the faceless wonders win, the old divide and conquer tack tick."
Jim- "That's why the miners lost out?"
Me- "Well sort of, that ended up a personal battle between Scargill and that bitch."
Jim- "I recon the bin men in Brum have got it right just striking for an hour a day, that way they get paid and build up a sizable leaver at the same time."
Me- "Quite Jim. The unions are like Rottweilers without teeth, all mouth and no trousers and that is the result of what Maggi did. So the government who ever they are can never be held over a barrel."
Jim- "So what you're saying is that if we don't stick together then motorcycling is just about dead?"
Me- "Yes. Pretty much, you would have thought that since there is possibly a wider cross section of the populous riding motorcycles for various reasons. That the situation would have changed, wouldn't you?"
Jim- "Yea I suppose!"
Me- "However the same old prejudices, negative connotations, and in many cases denial that motorcycles are the answer to many road associated problems. Such as congestion, pollution, economy, and safety, still persist!"
Me- "Yes think about it! Motorcycles represent only 1 to 2% of road users and only account for 20% of the serious casualty list.
So that means that 99% of the other road users are responsible for the rest of the problems."
Me- "So the more motorcycles on the road the safer it will be for all! Right?" (I love stats! You can play with them to support any argument)
Jim- "Yea I see where you're going with it now."
Me- "We still live in a world where control over the populous is paramount, whether by fear or propaganda. When any free thought or action is to use an Americanism “Kicked into the long grass” take Britain leaving the EU as a shining example or the Peado scandal in the halls of power, or the introduction of “Fake news” elements of doubt cast into the minds of the public to dismiss what 'they' don’t want you to think about."
Me- "Another example of this control strategy is the Clinton Trump farce. Which backfired oh so spectacularly. Never in a million years did they think the public would vote for such a comedy figure like Trump, so let's blame the Russians for his success. My arse!”
Jim- "You're ranting again!"
Me- "And Britain’s exit from Europe, it had little to do with the reasons given by the state controlled press. No the people rebelled and sent a big FUCK YOU to those in power. So now we have a donkey at the helm of the good ship USA and a non elected blunderer in charge over here."
Jim- "Your point being?"
Me- "The divide and conquer principal. While we are distracted by perceived important stuff, they slip in other stuff they want to get in place and before you know it, its law and you can do nothing about it."
Jim- "So what has this to do with motorcycling?"
Me- "Take my point earlier about the wider populous riding motorbikes. The Tristan's and Tamara's of this world ain't going to in this for the long haul, its a fad a fashion statement. 'Hey Tamms lets get into adventure motorcycling?' 'Ya, OK, Tris lets get all the matching gear too, it'll be fabuloso!'
So they won't mix with the likes of us and be much use as a reliable back up. Then there is the car park hero, too busy poncing about bragging about this and that then the first sign of a cloud off back to the cosy garage.
The community as a whole, that's a joke there isn't one any more it every man for himself, I'm all-right Jack!"
Jim- "So what you are saying is that we are screwed unless folk see through the bull shit and stick together!"
Me- "Exactly mate!"
Me- "So while you're all watching X Factor, Love Island, and the other meaningless shite served up, to occupy your time/mind that is if you're not offering your opinion about nothing in particular on facefucktube. Whatever!!!!!
Any distraction will do as far as they the faceless wonders in power are concerned anything to put you off the scent and divide opinion would you believe there are still people living in Europe, British people that are deluded into thinking that Brexit still has a reverse gear. Nob head's!"
Jim- "A mate of mine is out in Spain and he is shittin himself just in case he has to give up the high life and come back here!"
Me- "As I was saying, a sign of I'm all right Jack living out there in Spain as long as they can pop home to benefit from the NHS and fuck you lot!"
Jim- "Well what now then?"
Me- "Let me start by asking you. What have you done today to preserve your hobby, passion, mode of transport, or lifestyle choice?
And why not? And if you tell me any of these I'm going to slap you round the face with a wet fish. Well it doesn’t affect me! I only use mine to get to work! I didn’t know about that! I don’t care I only have a motorbike because it's fashionable, next year I’m back to skiing, this riding is dangerous, and I get wet when it rains.
Jim- "You know I ain't going to say any of them."
Me- "Yes mate you might not, but there are a lot out there that will come up with the most lame excuses for doing fuck all and when it's all gone down the shitter it will be all their own fault."
Jim- "So why can't they see it?"
Me- "A good question mate! There is none so blind as those that can see."
Jim- "Good one!"
Me- "And another question and this goes out to the motorcycle industry, shops, dealers, the motorcycling press as well as the buying public.
Why are you still able to ride, sell, and write about your motorcycle?
That's because behind the scenes a very small group of dedicated individuals have given their time, sacrificed family time, financial reward, and endeavoured keep on fighting for you to be able to ride, sell, write about and produce films and programmes about motorbikes."
Jim- "I think we need more beer!"
As Jim gets up to get the beers.
Me- "Those self same and it is same, small band of dedicated folks championing the cause. The riders' rights organisations have been working very hard to head off any potentially damaging legislation from Europe or this country. Monitoring schemes that may affect the rights and freedoms of choice that may be affected by nonsensical or just plain discriminatory laws and policies thought up in many cases just to fill the pockets of the few, despite the publicised reasoning behind the decision. Things such as clean air zones, toll roads, congestion zones.
Jim- "Two pints of your finest ale, Paul."
Paul- "He's off on one tonight. Got a point though I recon!"
Jim- "Never seen him so animated."
Jim returns to the table, I'm still chuntering away as he sits down with the beers.
Jim- "Got you some nuts!"
Me- “But that is all in London I don’t go to London. Well believe me it's everywhere, every town and city across the land is looking for a ways to get money out of your pocket. And once one gets away with it then they will all be at it."
Me- "Cheers Jim!"
Me- "So. what are we going to do about it?"
Jim- "Do about what?"
Me- "Have you not been listening for the last half an hour?"
Me- "Ya twat!"
Me- "Look when it's gone it's gone and remember it will be all your own fault!"
Jim- "Yea I know I was only messin with ya!"
Jim- "There is a demo this weekend, are we going then?"
Me- "You better believe it! And the rest of the world just might as well go back on your heads, earphones in, iPhone in hand, and check the bingo or credit score so you can end up deeper in the shit pile of debt and control. Jim and me are off to show support at least when, if they bring the hammer down on bikes we can say I was there fighting where were you?
Oh that's right you don't care do you?"