The long march to #Brexit : Part One

Posted: March 7, 2019 by tallbloke in Accountability, Brexit, EU Referendum, government, People power
Tags: , ,

When I was a ten year old kid back in 1974 I got a first inkling that my country becoming a member of an international club might have some downsides. One evening, I overheard my Grandfather, a veteran of two world wars, and my Dad, an engineer, discussing ‘the common market’. They both had misgivings about it being ‘the thin end of the wedge’. I don’t recall many of the details, but the following year during the referendum campaign, I chose to wear an ugly yellow pin badge handed out by local Labour party campaigners which said ‘NO’ on it in black block capitals. My sister chose the pretty white badge with the flying dove carrying an olive branch on it which said ‘YES’; a much more positive message from that nice Mr Heath.

By the age of twenty, I was far too busy riding fast motorcycles, courting young ladies and climbing mountains to be interested in international politics. It wasn’t until I joined the Motorcycle Action Group [MAG] that I learned about the increasing amounts of bureaucratic regulation emanating from Brussels which was affecting our lifestyle. This reached a head in 1992 when the Brussels commissioners sent a raft of new legislation called the ‘Vehicle Multi-directive’ to the European parliament for rubber stamping.

Buried in its hundreds of pages were new regulations which outlawed motorcycles over 100bhp, stopped us tuning our carburettors, and forced us to use whatever tyres we were told to. With the help of a motorcycling MEP we got the parliament to vote down the offending sections. Six months later the unelected Brussels commissioners sent the legislation back to the parliament unchanged, and this time, the parliament rubber stamped it, because it never opposes the commission twice on the same issue. So much for EU democracy.

Being bikers, we organised a rideout to go and discuss the matter with the EU commissioners directly, and one sunny Saturday some weeks later 35,000 bikers from MAG UK, IE, FR, NL, ES and DE rode into Brussels and brought the city to a standstill.

MEP Roger Barton stands with the bikers against EU diktat in 1992
We won the battle, but lost the war.

We told the commissioners that if they didn’t ditch the anti-biker provisions, we’d be back to have the same argument once a month, every month, forever. They blinked, removed the offending provisions, and learned the lesson that with strong constituencies like the bikers, they’d have to introduce their diktat slowly, one little new regulation at a time. They’ve been doing it ever since, and have successfully reduced motorcycle use by making it tortuously difficult, agonisingly time consuming and eye-wateringly expensive to get on the road on any bike making more than 37 horsepower. Youngsters these days find it far easier to pass a car test and get straight into the hot-hatch of their choice.

In part two, I’ll recount the tale of the 2011 Lisbon climate conference and how the EU finally convinced me I’d have to get involved in politics, stand up for my country, and help get us out.

In the meantime, check out this website, and support us if you can. We’re going to march from Sunderland on the 16th and arrive in Westminster on the 29th to have the law upheld and leave the EU.

  1. Saighdear says:

    Nothing really new here – I QUITE AGREE with what you say – only it applies to lots more – but no-one else has bothered as much as the bikers – indeed there were ALWAYS “leaders” of groups who were FOR the EU directives. ” ..we cannot condone…. this n that ” ie were going with the flow, populism etc, maybe ?
    Saw this all coming years ago and was delighted to vote Brexit – Just that = OUT NOW.
    All this current nonsense about driving abroad, etc – we managed before and other countries outside the EU… and so on.

  2. tallbloke says:

    “I QUITE AGREE with what you say – only it applies to lots more”

    Yes. The biker’s experience is one amongst many. It would have become a very long article if I’d started going into all of them. So I’ve chosen to keep it to my own experience, and leave room for others to give us theirs in comments.

    “no-one else has bothered as much as the bikers”

    I think very many of the 17.4 million who voted to leave the EU have been bothered, but also disempowered, and didn’t find a way to express their concerns in the public sphere until the referendum presented the opportunity. That’s why there’s a lot of anger building up at the way the majority of parliamentarians are trying to belittle, badmouth, and betray Brexit.

  3. Bloke down the pub says:

    My main concern with the march is that by the 29th, the battle may have been lost.

  4. Saighdear says:

    WEll indeed – that IS the point – we could ALL write screeds about it – but it takes time – and WHO READS / Takes note – just tlike the CLim Ch arguments. Just LISTENING ( TV / Radio) to “points of view” – they are so varied / contradicting etc…..
    The term “Democracy” needs to be re-written. Such is so-called progress when people have a vested WARPED interest in something coupled with Fake news and an unfair unbalalnced Media ….
    I could go on here too – but am waiting for my Windows TEN stupid machine to do things – so mu ch for following the advice to upgrade – so much grief ……

  5. ivan says:

    Unfortunately I will have to travel with you in spirit wearing my Gilet Jaunes. Way back in 74 I was working overseas and was asked by other engineers on site what I thought about the UKs EEC referendum. At that time I thought it was very foolish as the Germans and French would be dictating what we could, and more to the point COULDN’T do, knowing that our civil servants would gold plate everything to the detriment of all. Over the years I have seen my fears played out and the civil servants are still trying to gold plate every directive and stay in because it gives them more leverage and status.

    I have never understood what was all the fuss about a ‘deal’ to leave. In the real world if you leave a club you stop paying the membership fees and just leave – it should be the same with leaving the Club of Rome inspired EU, after all they need us much more than the people of the UK need them – it is only the politicians that seem to think they need the EU, kickbacks or other under the table inducements maybe.

  6. tallbloke says:

    Bloke: My main concern with the march is that by the 29th, the battle may have been lost.

    The Parliament Square rally on the 29th will either be a celebration of our independence or the launchpad for a reinvigorated campaign to have the referendum vote honoured and implemented. Either way, we’ll be there to make it happen.

    I’m in good spirits about it all. We WILL leave, there is no going back. It’s just a matter of whether we have to boot out all the remoaning parliamentarians at the ballot box first, or not.

  7. oldbrew says:

    ivan – re: In the real world if you leave a club you stop paying the membership fees and just leave

    Yes, but to continue trading some system still has to exist, whether WTO rules now and a full agreement later, or an interim agreement now and a permanent one later.

  8. ivan says:

    oldbrew, to answer that shouldn’t we go back to what we were using before? It worked as well as trading with the Commonwealth.

    Another thing, when we get out all the EU green directives and stupidity should fall by the wayside.

  9. Stephen Richards says:

    There needs to be a complete sweep out (not sure what to say there) of all current parliamentarians and lords and ladies. A total reform of UK democracy is required. Sadly, none of the existing politicians would suipport their distruction but it must happen. Never again must a PM be allowed to so cheat and divide the UK by refusing to implement the mandate they asked the public to give them.

    The amazing amount of effort put into Brexit by people such as Roger does not deserve this kind of disgusting refusal.

    My english is getting worse.

  10. Stephen Richards says:

    ivan says:
    March 7, 2019 at 3:32 pm


    You will not be leaving the EU directives behind, particularly on climate, as long as this current crop of 625 MPs remain.

    The tories are socialist, the labour are marxist and the LibDems are secular marxist liberals.

  11. oldbrew says:

    The first thing they do when Brexit arrives is incorporate all existing EU law into UK law – in theory at least.

  12. tallbloke says:

    Stephen R: You will not be leaving the EU directives behind, particularly on climate, as long as this current crop of 625 MPs remain.

    Brexit first. Everything else, later.

    Ivan: shouldn’t we go back to what we were using before?

    Yes. The UK was a founder member of the WTO, and they’ve been keeping our seat warm for us all these long years the Brussels sprouts have been usurping our role.

  13. tom0mason says:

    When the UK is out of the EU, hopefully they can go back to the British Commonwealth and WTO rules; specifically —
    “1. Most-favoured-nation (MFN): treating other people equally Under the WTO agreements, countries cannot normally discriminate between their trading partners. Grant someone a special favour (such as a lower customs duty rate for one of their products) and you have to do the same for all other WTO members.

    This principle is known as most-favoured-nation (MFN) treatment (see box). It is so important that it is the first article of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which governs trade in goods. MFN is also a priority in the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) (Article 2) and the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) (Article 4), although in each agreement the principle is handled slightly differently. Together, those three agreements cover all three main areas of trade handled by the WTO. ”

    More at

    In other words get back to trading with ALL the world within a regime that allows for negotiations that are the fair and equitable for the UK and the other party (and not be tied to a system that usually only benefits German industry, French farming conglomerates, and Swiss banks).

  14. phil salmon says:

    We need some of that bikers’ spirit right now, great to hear that the march to leave is happening. Leave means leave!

  15. BLACK PEARL says:

    Well I’ll be at Sunderland for the first leg of the March on the 16th
    Would like to do the full two weeks but still got to earn a crust
    A column of Shermans & half tracks leading the way would send an appropriate message
    If Brexit is betrayed they may as well donate Parliament to the National Trust & let them pick up the large repair bill then they can charge tour parties around showing where democracy was started and ended.
    Could I apply for asylum in a democratic county on the grounds of fleeing a dictatorship I wonder ?

  16. BLACK PEARL says:

    Also crossed my mind if the EU has their own Gestapo units who privately threaten those in power & influence to do their bidding ?
    Looking back at the desperate hunted look on Camerons face in 2016 & the apparent control exercised over our ‘Top’ politicos since it makes me wonder …….

  17. oldbrew says:

    Caption: Theresa May is, in Churchill’s famous phrase, “adamant for drift”

  18. tallbloke says:

    Getting out there and doing it does wonders for morale. We’re going to win this, again.

  19. oldbrew says:

    Attorney General Geoffrey Cox has delivered his much awaited legal advice on May’s changes to the backstop, concluding that the “legal risk remains unchanged”. This is the last thing Number 10 will have wanted to see…
    . . .
    His final conclusion remains damning: the UK would have “no internationally lawful means of exiting the Protocol’s arrangements, save by agreement.” Game over for May’s deal?
    – – –
    Sterling plummets after UK attorney general says legal risks of Brexit unchanged

    NB it only ‘plummets’ to the level it was 2 days ago – so far.

  20. oldbrew says:

    Did the AG (see comment above) leave something out? This:

    – – –
    Peston discusses it here.