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Why Keith Vaz needs to keep quiet

Today long-time anti-games campaigner Keith Vaz opted to have yet another swipe at the videogames industry. It's not the first time and it's unlikely to be the last, but now is really not the right time for somebody whose party was - until recently - in government to start pointing the finger.

Vaz himself has a track record of hating the videogames business. In the past few years he's peddled various levels of vitriol, going so far at one point as to blame videogames for rape and murder.

More recently he's appeared generally reasonable in his musings - but today he's demanding that PEGI do more to protect children against adult-rated games.

Now, we all know that the wheels of government turn slowly, but let's not forget that the initial recommendations from Dr Tanya Byron were released in 2008 - and told the government then that the ratings system needed to change.

Since that time the government has been aware that children are potentially at risk, yet almost two and a half years on and the new PEGI ratings system - put forward by the industry and accepted by the government - is still yet to come into effect... and we'd be considerably further away if not for a last-minute reading just hours before Parliament dissolved before the General Election in May.

I've never met a single person in the games industry that believes it's in the best interest of developers, publishers and retailers to peddle adult-themed games to an under-age audience - and while everybody agrees that we need to do everything we can to protect children, the industry can only do so much.

The ball has been in the government's court for far too long - consensus from political insiders would seem to point to early 2011, but it may be sooner. To that end Keith Vaz could spend his energy more effectively chasing that process down and seeing it implemented before we enter a fourth year of delay. If he'd done that when his party was actually in power, we might already be seeing the new logos on boxes, and the industry would have started funding an education campaign already...?

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