Earthquake causing tremors in British politics

MAG held its Annual General Conference (AGC) on 24th September 2022. At the conference, MAG’s Chair Neil Liversidge launched Operation Earthquake, which is set to create major tremors in politics. Campaigns and Communications Director Lembit Öpik gives a comprehensive summary of what this campaign seeks to do, and how you can help MAG achieve it to defend your right to ride petrol motorcycles.

The Motorcycle Action Group’s AGC took place in the Northern town of Allerton Bywater in late September 2022, at about the same time politics was shifting dramatically in Westminster – and across the country. Everyone in the country was suddenly faced with disruptive and troubled times, and few predicted the extent to which the UK would be challenged economically. However, MAG did predict it. We’ve been warning that, given the current ideological rush to cut CO2 emissions, there would be serious negative impacts on the UK economy. It was just a matter of time. And that’s exactly what’s happened.


Although not all media have joined the dots and seen the picture of energy costs driving up inflation thereby creating a cost-of-living crisis, that’s what’s going on. MAG isn’t here to judge the new Prime Minister’s mini-budget, but we can be confident none of this would have happened if Britain had a sensible, and affordable, dependence on home-grown oil, gas and perhaps even coal, instead of being hugely dependent on imported power and unreliable renewables. 


Enter ‘Operation Earthquake’ – officially launched by MAG’s Chair, Neil Liversidge at our AGC. This it very timely, because it tackles exactly the same issue that’s causing economic problems in the country, but approaches the problem from a different angle. What Neil seeks to achieve is a major change of course regarding the ban on internal combustion engines (ICEs) – and specifically the proposed ban on the sale of petrol (and diesel) cars and small motorbikes in 2030, and all other new petrol motorcycles in 2035.


Why is all this happening? It’s happening for the same reason we have a cost-of-living crisis – a misplaced attempt to cut CO2. This agenda ignores of the scientific facts, showing humans cannot be responsible for significant climate change. There are people who claim they’ve evidence to show humans are wrecking the planet. But they singularly fail to demonstrate any mechanism through which our tiny contribution to CO2 – not more than 3.5% – to carbon dioxide which is only a trace gas – around 0.04% of the atmosphere (that’s 1 atom in 2,500) – is creating dangerous climate change. This miniscule input simply can’t do what the climate alarmists say it does. Nevertheless, many politicians, including the UK’s own Government, have been legislating on the basis that there’s a ‘climate emergency’ and that we’re causing it. The threat to our right to buy and ride new petrol-powered motorcycles arises directly from the demand that we cut our CO2 emissions. This is why MAG has ended up as reluctant participants in this debate; not because we’re an environmental organisation, but because climate claims could destroy our civil liberties as motorcyclists.


Incidentally, if there were plausible evidence suggesting that we really do have to cut CO2 as a matter of urgency, MAG would go along with it. But the data currently suggests we do more harm than good to society by trying to do this, and for no meaningful climate benefit. Climate does change, and always has, but it’s just plain wrong to tout climate change as a reason to ban a highly efficient means of transport in favour of electrification that won’t work – and won’t make any noticeable difference to the temperature of the air.


Rest assured, Operation Earthquake isn’t about turning you into a climatologist! Neil’s concept is far simpler than that: to shift how we decide to vote from party preferences to transport policy. All you need to do is ask a candidate: ‘do you support our right to keep on purchasing and riding petrol machines or not?’ In Earthquake terms, if they support your rights and oppose the ICE ban – then they’re a viable candidate. If they support the ICE ban, they’re out of the picture. You don’t need to explain in scientific detail why you oppose the ICE ban – unless you want to. Politicians only need to know you disagree with the ban and that you feel so strongly about it that you will vote against anyone who supports that ban.


Candidates and parties have a fairly strong sense of self-preservation. So far, they’ve been able to get away with thinking there’s no need to take seriously the concerns of millions of road users who don’t like being side-lined in favour of walking, cycling and the green agenda. But now, it’s different. As Neil has stated: ‘nobody should consider themselves guaranteed a safe seat.’


Others go even further. They want to stand up against what they regard as green panic being used to try and force through the ‘net zero’ agenda, including the banning of petrol and diesel-powered vehicle users, including bikers. To those who want to cut CO2 at any cost really don’t care about the inconvenience, or even injustice, or imposing their will on the rest of us because, to misquote The Blues Brothers, ‘we’re on a mission from Gaia.’ Already, their actions have served to cause huge hikes in petrol prices, cuts in road space and that threat to new ICE sales.


What happens next? Firstly, the MAG Political Unit welcomes feedback, and any evidence or opinions you may have for or against the agenda outlined here. We’re open-minded and driven by the facts. And, if the facts change, we alter our opinion. In the meantime, we’re constructing an Operation Earthquake Campaign Pack. We’re going to share it through MAG reps, in Open Road and in Network. We’re determined to require hundreds of candidates to say where they stand on our right to choose petrol-powered machines. This needs a team effort, and our appeal for participation is to all MAG members, and non-members, across the land.


A final word from Neil: ‘I’m inviting everyone to get involved. This is the biggest political intervention MAG has made in British politics. It’s not about political parties, it’s about road users. Politicians are answerable to the country and it’s time the road users of the UK, who pay up £37 billion a year in taxes, are given a proper service. And that doesn’t involve regulating us out of existence or banning what we ride. MAG has come a long way over the last decade, and we’re very much in a position to do this.’


We’ll let you know when the campaign pack is ready – you’ll hear about it in Network and Open Road. We welcome your ideas too, and are always on-hand to make your views heard. Operation Earthquake puts riders’ rights on the electoral map. Those who try to drive Operation Earthquake ‘off the road’ will soon discover they’ve backed themselves into an electoral cul-de-sac instead.


Remember, MAG never asked to get involved in these high-level issues. This campaign has been forced upon us the political elite who are pursuing what look like emotional and unscientific and authoritarian interventions in favour of electric vehicles, walking and cycling.  Modern economies can’t run like that, and Operation Earthquake is the antidote to this not-so-quaint dictatorship of a green minority. Please get involved and join the resistance against dogmatic restrictions that do no good for the environment, but do a great deal of harm for your freedom and the economy.

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