Keith Vaz, Labour MP for Leicester East, has once gain used his position of power to launch an unwarranted attack on the games industry.
“Could we have a debate next week about the harmful effects of violent video games? Last week, the university of Indiana published research that showed that regularly playing those games resulted in physical changes in the brain. 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.”
In reply the leader of the House of Commons Sir George Young stated:
“I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman, and I know that this is an issue that he has pursued with vigour for some time. I cannot promise a debate next week. Home Office questions, I think, will be held on 12 December, but in the meantime I will draw his concern to the attention of the Home Secretary.”
Keith Vaz, a long-term opponent of the games industry, has very much been back on the games-bashing wagon of late. Last month he raised his fourth Early Day Motion calling for tighter controls on the sale of violent games.
Let’s not forget, either, that this is the same MP who skipped a crucial meeting eForum games meeting in January 2010 in which he was due to join a panel with EA’s Keith Ramsdale and Tiga’s Richard Wilson.
All of this, of course, despite assurances that Vaz “had changed” back at ELSPA’s Parliamentary Question Time last year.
And what of the University of Indiana study that Vaz cited in the Commons? Spong discovered that it was based on MRI scans of gamers. Oh, and was partly funded by the not exactly non-partisan Center for Successful Parenting, whose mandate is to “help parents understand the consequences of our children viewing video violence”.
Had he chosen to, Vaz could quite easily have referenced a recent study from the Swedish Media Council that found playing video games does not lead to aggressive behaviour.