Vaz's vanishing act

A few months ago Leicester MP Keith Vaz joined the chorus on the evils of violent video games, referring directly to the now famous airport scene in Modern Warfare 2 (that’s the one with the terrorists and the senseless murder and what have you). He said at the time ‘I am absolutely shocked by the level of violence in this game and am particularly concerned about how realistic the game itself looks,’ doing the usual out-of-touch politician thing of linking disturbing images with disturbing actions.

As such, he drew a lot of flak from gamers, the games industry and even readers of the Daily Mail - who laughed off his scaremongering, and was slated to appear at a Westminster e-Forum today to discuss his stance with games industry people and other politicians, including Eidos life president Ian Livingstone and Tory MP Ed Vaizey. However, it will be no surprise to anyone to find out that he didn’t show up, prompting the assembled panel to rip him to shreds.

Livingstone started by taking his seat and declaring ‘games are evil, games are terrible, games are turning children into killers’, before Vaizey branded him Keith Chavez (referring to the remarks the Venezuelan president made here); ‘Tell him that the Parliament website has a videogame on its front page,’ he said, ‘and no one has been killed yet.’

Electronic Art’s Keith Ramsdale was annoyed that Vaz had not shown up, saying that ‘You want to understand where his head is now after being so negative about the videogame industry.’ Fat chance of that, really. Soundbites are what he’s after.

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