Refreshing Comments from an Elected Official

On this site you can read a lot of lecturing about how others should do their jobs. Well, when an elected official shows that he can take games seriously, instead of personally, he should get credit for that. Unfortunately for Americans, this guy is a member of the UK Parliament. But here's what struck me about Don Foster of Bath, in his remarks to The Guardian backing the gaming industry as an important part of the British economy:

"I hardly play any games, I'm not from that generation, but because of my job, I had to research the industry. The vast majority of my parliamentary colleagues are always wanting to ban the latest game, but they don't know the details of the industry. Few people in this country realise how important it is to the UK economy."

Instead of trivializing or dismissing something he didn't understand, he looked into it and gave it a fair evaluation. It's part of being a representative and a leader, and I wish others would practice it more — and on subjects other than video games, of course.

Foster was noting how the UK games industry had fallen to fourth place overall in world development, and backing UK publishers who need stronger education policy to deliver them trained graduates, and tax breaks to stop the drain of development to nations with lower costs of doing business. Eidos' creative director and head of acquisitions recently said that the mainstream of the UK still treats games makers as "one notch up from pornography," and the government's posture doesn't help. Not sure how effective Mr. Foster will — Liberal Democrats are the third largest party in Parliament —┬ábut at least he's showing some support.

UK MP Backs Games Industry [Edge Online via GamePolitics]


Comments

    I completely agree with Owen Good's post - "Instead of trivializing or dismissing something he didn't understand, he looked into it and gave it a fair evaluation. It's part of being a representative and a leader, and I wish others would practice it more -- and on subjects other than video games, of course."

    It's true that many politicians are now restricting artistic freedom in various forms of media including games for the sake of archaic morals, some of which have diminishing relevance in today's society.

    An example of this is Australia's OFLC attempting to ban Fallout 3. Though the cosmetic depiction of drug use is not entirely necessary in game play, I believe Bethesda intended the images to depict a gritty realism of a pseudo-alternate reality.

    Aside from the freedom of expression that many politicians are attempting to suppress, the economic benefits that it provides is often overlooked. Now rivaling that of some movie industries, Video Games are now generating billions of dollars for some economies (such as the US). Owen Good's post further elaborates that the more politicians attempt to dismiss booming industries, there will be an increased likelihood of a 'brain drain' occurring in that sector of the economy.

    Aside from the issue of video games, a greater paradigm is raised. And that is better leadership. Instead of politicians that attempt to politicize every issue in an attempt to manipulate the media to alter public opinion, we need actual leadership. At the end of the day, in most capitalist and democratic countries, its up to citizens to be well informed in choosing the right representatives. Furthermore, active citizens must not blindly agree to whatever is forced upon them, but instead should voice their collective opinions should the need arise.

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