Action on curbing video, PC and console game excesses – by Greg Hands MP

portrait-greghands4.jpgShortly, I am heading into Parliament to support Julian Brazier’s bill to allow consumers to appeal against video classifications and other measures to curb some of the excesses of the industry that Julian outlines below.

I am someone who is normally very suspicious of new regulation. In fact, most of the Private Member’s Bills that come before us on Friday sittings like this are proposing new regulation. Many when scrutinised closely are shown to be either unnecessary or impractical. I am not sufficiently expert on games classifications to know whether Julian’s proposals, if passed into law, will be the last word on the matter, but they are worthy of our support.

Sometimes, Private Members Bills perform a wider function of bringing an issue to a wider audience. Julian’s bill has done just that, as I have received a number of constituent letters in support of it, and I think the Government is starting to give the problem some focus. David Cameron has been very supportive of Julian’s efforts.

The only time in my life that I ever supported anything promoted by Hillary Clinton was when Keith Vaz MP and I jointly sponsored a Parliamentary EDM against one of the nastier games. This caused some controversy in my constituency, as many of the games manufacturers (or, more often, the UK subsidiaries of foreign companies) are based in Hammersmith.

Last year, I visited one of the companies to present it with an award for Corporate Social Responsibility (or CSR), to record the fact that it was one of the most generous companies in Britain when it came to organising charitable payroll giving. I quietly took them to task about some of the excesses of the industry, and suggested that they might take their CSR a little bit further by taking a look both at addictive games and at those that encouraged violence. Next time I am there, I might not be so quiet!

Let’s hope that Julian’s Bill gets its second reading this morning.

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