Matt Furey-King here. I’d like to announcing that I’m stepping down as Chairman of UK Airsoft Players Union. When I returned to the role as Chairman in 2015 my intention was twofold; to get the association back on its feet, and to make sure we had player representation throughout the Policing and Crime Bill passage. My return was only ever supposed to be temporary, the committee knew my intention from the start was to stand aside on the commencement date of the new law. So here we are.
I’m pretty disappointed that the PCA is still an open subject, that we still need to push the government for clarifications in order to find out how to comply with the new law. There’s some grey area which I think will one-day spell real trouble for some poor airsoft player. As much as I’m dying to help with this situation, I have to call it a day and move on. Unfortunately, other parts of my life have been suffering due to lack of attention, I’ve been so distracted by all this airsoft politics going on these last 2 years. My girlfriend Po Ling has been very accommodating but even her impressive patience with me is wearing thin! So it’s time to get my priorities straight. The way I see it I’ve done my bit and to be honest other people now need to step up to the plate.
I am massively proud of the work UKAPU has done. Over the last decade many hobbies have been restricted or eroded or banned in the UK, modern society doesn’t seem to have any room for people like us who like having fun in non-vanilla ways. But airsoft has not fallen, we’ve stood our ground, we’ve not been bullied and suppressed, we fought back on every level. It’s really impressive, and we have a bright future if we make this unity and determination a core part of our identity as UK airsoft players.
You might be worried that UKAPU is going to disappear when I go, as most of our announcements come with my name attached. But the reason you see so much of me and not much of the rest of the committee is because I have been the associations figurehead, actually there’s half a dozen people working hard behind the scenes that you don’t hear about. I have a huge amount of confidence in the remaining committee and the association. We have 4000 members, a great reputation and a great future. Let me tell you, the committee have some fantastic plans for the next few years that will be a huge lift for airsoft.
David Weston, UKAPU Vice Chair, has taken command of UKAPU. Soon he will hold a management meeting and the committee will select a new Chairman, and it would not be appropriate for me to preempt that vote. But there’s some really great guys working for UKAPU at the moment and I have every confidence in them to lead the association forward. That said, I won’t be disappearing completely and will still be available to help and advise them, if they so wish. Of course I’ll be an active UKAPU member and you’ll all see me around at airsoft games, as normal.
All that said, UKAPU does have a high turnover of volunteers (voluntary associations tend to, people’s circumstances change and they often run out of free time to commit). The committee already has a few vacant positions and, unless they can fill positions and spread the workload, the association could go into a downward spiral. So PLEASE, if you are a self-motivated and literate airsoft player and have some free time, give them a message on Facebook and volunteer for a committee position. Now is the time.
What’s next for me? Well, I’m pretty pissed off at the shambolic way the country is being run and politician’s dreadful attitudes towards civil liberties in general, not just the liberties of airsofters. So I’m thinking bigger, I’ve made a step into the wider world of politics and I’m running in the upcoming Parliamentary election. I’ve been selected as the Green Party candidate for Kingswood in Bristol. Green Party may seem an unusual choice for a firearms guy but I’ve found it to be a really inspiring movement, the Greens are very far from being the stereotypes people imagine they are. Yes, they do currently have an anti-replica policy in the manifesto but they have no commitment to it and I’m confident I can get them to change it. They didn’t know about airsoft skirmishing or the VCRA when they wrote it. They asked me to help them rewrite it many years ago but I never had the time, so it’s partially my fault. If you are interested, there’s some information about me as a candidate here
Later in the year I’m aiming to put more time into my airsoft channel, Claymore Airsoft TV. I’ve got some fun content planned so please give it a sub or a like if you want to see what airsoft shenanigans I’m up to.
Huge thanks to all the people who have done so much to help me achieve my aims over the years, especially my fellow UKAPU committee members. I know UKAPU has a bright future ahead if all of you support the next leader of UKAPU in the same brilliant way you have supported me.