Keith Vaz Continues To Try Wasting Time And Money Fighting Games

Keith Vaz has himself a bit of a reputation for wanting stricter control of videogames. The MP for Leicester East repeatedly returns to the issue and rarely manages to appear competent when talking about it, bless him.

[drop]His latest attempt to get our elected representatives to demonise gaming has, thankfully, been met with a noncommittal response by the Leader of the House who said that he would raise the issue with the Home Secretary but didn’t agree to schedule a debate.

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Vaz asked “Could we have a debate next week about the harmful effects of violent video games?” which is a peculiar bit of phrasing. Let’s have a debate about whether there are any harmful effects first, shall we? Oh, Keith already assumes that’s a given because he’s got a study to cite.

So, what piece of scientific genius is he using to validate his desire to take up the expensive time of our MPs? It’s that one we reported on last week that had a sample group of just 22 people, unreliable controls and inconclusive findings. It was also funded by a group with a clear anti-gaming stance. That’s not good science.

A scaremongering attempt at demonising games based on a poorly conducted study which has since been found to have been funded by an anti-gaming group. That sounds like our Keith.

Vaz went on to say, “At a time when parents are thinking of purchasing video games for Christmas, does the right hon. Gentleman not think that it is important to hold a debate on this matter? This is not about censorship—it is about protecting our children,”

[drop2]Can I just cut in there, Keith, I know you’ve got the best of intentions but I’ve got a little bit of a suggestion that you might want to float if you do get your debate: Why don’t we have a highly visible indication of the suitability for particular age groups printed right there on the game’s front cover, so that parents can see if it’s suitable for their kids? I mean, there’s not an adult in the country that isn’t familiar with the age ratings system we have on movies, is there? We’ve all grown up with it.

Oh, hold on… we do have that. The industry itself arranged to have age ratings clearly displayed and retailers are committed to abiding by those ratings. So games which are unsuitable for kids aren’t sold to kids and the adults that buy them are, without question, aware of their suitability for the children they might intend giving them to. So, that’s case closed then, surely?

Perhaps we could use that debating time you wanted to discuss something like the Occupy protests, the impending economic doom in the Eurozone, the ongoing News International scandal or any one of a hundred pressing issues that are affecting us in a way which wasn’t already solved years ago. Oh, here’s an idea: maybe we could use the debating time to discuss the dangers of irresponsible parenting? We could even use the time to discuss how important it is to ensure that scientific studies are conducted in a scientific way with a large sample group, otherwise they’re meaningless? That one might stop more showboating MPs from trying to schedule more utterly pointless debates in the future.

Or perhaps you still want to beat a dead horse just to get your face in the papers?

Source: Hansard, via VG247

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31 Comments

  1. I reckon Vaz has all these anti-gaming feeling because he couldnt get past Green Hill zone on Sonic when he was younger.

    • haha! Agreed, the guy is coming off as butthurt about something! This could be it :3

  2. Nice one TSA, very well written piece. It amazes me that an MP with a history of incompetence and dodgy dealings can continue to raise these spurious issues.
    Such is politics…

    • ‘an MP with a history of incompetence and dodgy dealings’

      You’re gonna have to narrow it down abit! ;)

  3. “maybe we could use the debating time to discuss the dangers of irresponsible parenting?”

    That’s the one.

    I was listening to the radio yesterday morning when a 9 year old called up to speak to the presenters & when asked what he would like Santa to bring him for xmas, he replied calm as anything “Dead Island”. This made me wake up from my slumber in a pretty speedy fashion as I couldn’t believe what i heard – He then explained what that was (upon the request of the presenter who didn’t have a clue) & it was indeed Dead Island he described! I am guessing he must have seen someone else play it as I don’t recall a massive marketing campaign including TV ads or anything (although I don’t watch cartoon network so often anymore, so perhaps I missed the ads!).

    Of course though, if ‘Santa’ did happen to bring him a game that is rated nearly double his age & is clearly labelled as such on the front, who is at fault there? Certainly not the games company as they have indicated on the packaging that it would not be suitable for that particular consumer. It is also not the fault of the retailers, as I don’t think I would ask Santa for ID either. He’s got a big white beard for heaven’s sake!

    On a more serious note though, the parents should just be explaining to the child that they had words with Santa & he decided that Dead Island wouldn’t be appropriate for him. He’ll of course throw a tantrum, but as far as I am concerned, that would be the better option. Unfortunately, likelihood is that he will probably be unwrapping a copy come Xmas day though & then the parents will blame everyone but themselves that their child turns out to be warped little monster.

    *sigh*

    • You’ve hit the nail on the head, the parent are to blame and absolutely nobody else. Threaten to take away the kids mums Ugg Boots, Towie, Facebook or Rose wine and they’ll soon stop queuing up at midnight to get there darling little angels Cod.

      • Haha, Both of you just made me laugh. a lot.

    • I do agree, but i must say that there were TV ads, but it wasn’t extensive as you say.

      • What country/channel were they shown on? I have never seen one!

        Not denying their existence of course, i have just never seen one myself & if they exist, they should be on past watershed on an appropriate channel.

      • i think Tesco was advertising the game, and that wasn’t past the watershed although there was nothing graphic or offensive in it and it was given the appropriate age rating at the end.

  4. I can’t watch an episode Question Time if Keith Vaz is on it. There is too great a risk of me throwing something at my TV and breaking it. Wonder if I could claim it on their expenses…

    Still, I missed this particular outburst. So thanks TSA for reminding me that this incompetent is still in a position of power.

    • We should gather a group of 22 people and do a study on the violent effects of Keith Vaz and have a political debate on the findings. As it’s clear to me he causes aggressive reactions and doesn’t have an age rating.

  5. Well, he’s Labour. That explains why he’s ignorant and thick.

    • Thanks for your input Cameron.

    • I take it this was meant to be sarcastic and ironic?

  6. EDIT – Love your enthusiasm buddy… not so keen on the threats and xenophobia! Keep it friendly, eh? [cb]

    • Bloody hell! You do know that you are justifying Vaz’s “research” by threating to stick a chainsaw through his guts? Also, that’s a tad bit rascist and over the top don’t you think?

    • Worst reply I’ve read for a very long time on this site.

    • what did he say that was so appalling?

    • Nope, try again. [cb]

      • If this thread is a village, you are the idiot.

      • Go away and learn about how much money, trade, work, skill and value, as well as cultural expansion that foreign people bring to our country. Then go and study politics to understand that this man is just shouting and will be ignored, then come back and have an intelligent discussion.

      • @bacon-nuts

        and crime, ignorance and a lack of work ;)

  7. I think there is a lot of naive parents out there who just don’t know how realistic, explicit or gruesome some video games have become (I also believe that more and more parents fail to give a shit about their kids well being). As a gaming parent I know exactly what my 5 and 7 year old can and cannot play, all of it is locked on my PS3; education and a want to be educated is needed here, that’s all.

    • Most logical reply ive seen to this debate for a while. While the games industry are pressing forward on trying to educate the parents on what games are suitable for kids, the parents must be willing to learn this and actually give a damn instead of buying cod to keep the kids quiet upstairs while they watch Jezza Kyle.

  8. He seems harmless, i’ve seen worse from the Daily Fail. I wonder how long before he will go “gamers need to be shot”?

    It’s nice to know that the important things are not being discussed and that our taxes are being wasted on them.

    Why do i get the feeling that he is one of the MPs responsible for not giving the gaming industry in the Uk a tax break?

  9. Maybe we need to have a public debate to decide if Mr Vaz should be able to hold public office and lecture people on these kind of subject after:

    – He has tried to censor free speach by calling for the banning of games and even some books while living in a tollarent, open society.

    – He suggested the army was at fault for an IRA bombing of an army recruitment office in Leicester.

    – He failed to declare payments of £4,500 from solicitor Sarosh Zaiwalla and was then accused of blocking investigations into eighteen other allegations of un-disclosed payments.

    – He used his position as an MP to quickly obtain passports for the Hindujas while they made payments to his wife, with whom he colluded to conceal information about a possible financial relationship with the Hinduja family

    – He was suspended from the house of commons when he made “recklessly … damaging allegation against Miss Eggington [A police woman] to the Commissioner, which were not true, and which could have intimidated Miss Eggington or undermined her credibility” – by doing that he led to an old woman who gave 34 years service to the police force being questioned by the police over criminal accusations.

    – He failed to register other employment while working in the commons

    – He failed to register donations while in the commons

    – He tried to block the extradition of Nadhmi Auchi to France on fraud charges. After he failed in his attempt to block the deportation Mr Auchi was convicted for a $504 million corruption scandal.

    – He was outed by the Telegraph as voting for 42 day detention without charge in exchange for ‘rewards’ that apparantly included honours

    – He failed to declare a conflict of interest when he applied parliamentry pressure on the police to stop an investigation into complaints regarding the conduct of Shahrokh Mireskandari’s (Vaz’s personal friend) legal firm.

    – He claimed £173,937 in expenses 2008/09 with 70% being staffing costs in a building he owns and classified as his 2nd home

    – He claimed £23,831 in 2008/09 in second home allowances while living in a primary address 45 mins from parliament

    Many of what’s listed above would be classified as fraud under normal cercumstances and if I were to do it I would be sent to prison.

    Personally, I don’t think he should be allowed into parliament with that record, yet alone get to lecture others on how to live thir lives.

  10. I don’t need to add another comment about what balls he’s chatting. But there are some things the industry could do to help itself a little. The Byron Report from 2010 (I think!) suggests that games released in the UK should be made to have a BBFC rating, as the PEGI ones aren’t as obvious to the occassional customer, particularly parents. Makes sense to me; I remember those crappy rating for PS1 games which everyone ignored. But still, playing Tony Hawk’s 2 at 10 years old disnt turn me into an unstable, socialist madman.

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