Friday, 11 April 2008

Ink & Iron

With a taste of Spring in the air I fancied a ride up to Birmingham on Sunday to the annual Ink & Iron show at the NEC. Custom bikes, tattoos and a ride in (short spells) of sun – what’s not to like?

So I was thoroughly pissed-off to find that the show has been canceled at short notice. Apparently the West Midlands police have advised that they couldn’t guarantee public safety. This of course is in the context of the supposed escalation of the ‘biker war’ between the Hells Angels MC and the Outlaws MC. Allegedly.

With the murder of Gerry Tobin last August, and the attack at Birmingham airport in January there is clearly some serious shit brewing. But I have no insights into these events to offer - and neither I suspect does anybody else outside the two clubs, whatever the self-appointed experts are saying in the tabloids.

The clubs are effectively a closed world that has nothing at all to do with ordinary bikers. And whatever you might think about their antics, no outsiders have been involved in any of these incidents – the general biking public are not at risk.

What this is about is a massive over reaction on the police’s part, fueled by media hysteria. Remember we are not talking about suicide bombers walking into the NEC – a small but visible police presence at the event would be enough to assure that any business the clubs might want to conduct is done elsewhere. But obviously a simple stewarding operation at an event that merely affects a minority sub-culture is not a priority.

Imagine the outcry if a football match was canceled on similar grounds.

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