British Knife Crime Czar Urges Tax on Violent Video Games

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s advisor on knife crimes has called for a tax on violent video games, reports the Telegraph.

Richard Taylor (left), whose 10-year-old son Damilola was stabbed to death in 2000 made his comments to to the Brown Government’s Home Affairs Committee.

Also coming in for Taylor’s criticism were rap music and American cultural influences:

Violent games are “too cheap” and taxes on them should be “very high”, Mr Taylor told MPs.

He told the Home Affairs Committee: “I have young people who I mentor and I see them go up and buy the games and it saddens me that they are being able to have such a negative impact…”

Mr Taylor also told MPs that he was concerned about the content of much rap music.

“It is creating more of a problem because of the language that is used. It is language that, as a father, I would not allow my children to hear. To me, there is a lot of negativity that comes out of this music, especially that which is coming from America.”

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  1. Spykesan says:

    “I have young people who I mentor and I see them go up and buy the games and it saddens me…"


    so in your own words you watch people not old enoth buy these games sugestivly under your care and then you want to say games kill.

    some people realy need to think before they speek. as a communaty we should pull together and if theres someone lets say of 14yrs of age in que  for a copy of GTA 4 witch is certificated 18, then speek up. wether saying to the parents if in attendence oh that games an 18 and its an 18 for a reason, or call the attention of the shop keep who will be forced to with hold sale.

    gamers are going to continue to get the flack of these extreamly bad events. and we sit back and take it. next time someone puts a brick though a window are you going to blame tetris (ironacaly a game that nearly started a war) no i didn’t think so.


  2. Michael Chandra says:

    Perhaps he assumes the people who knife and play violent games won’t get caught, so this tax is to make all of the violent-game gamers pay for the acts of the rare individuals that were fucked up to begin with. (LEARN YOUR CHILDREN STANDARDS!!!)

  3. Michael Chandra says:

    Our coin was worse than the dollar when it first arrived. That changed, but the prices never were adjusted to that fact, so I guess that is to blame. Thank god some shops are cheaper.

  4. State says:

    Yes his son was stabbed by a broken bottle, but he has been employed by the British government as an advisor over knife crime. So the points he makes about knife crime are more directly related to his job position rather than the events that led to his son’s death.

  5. Michael Chandra says:

    I took a quick look at the first british game-selling site I could find, 40 pounds for the most expensive PS3 games, that translates to roughly $55. If I translate that to Loonies, it would be roughly 70 Loonies.

    In comparison, expensive PS3 games go for 65 euro here. That translates to over 80 dollar, and more than 105 Loonies. 60 British Pounds.

    In other words, we pay 50% more than any of you guys.

  6. Drazgal says:

    Not really, his son was murdered and it became one of the media favourite killings in that year. Every so often our government likes to grab one or two of these people involved and put them in token positions to make it look like they are doing somthing about an issue.

  7. Nocturne says:

    Good grief, and I thought we (UK) had it bad, you have my sympathy, that’s outright extortion.

  8. Arell says:

    I’m sorry… A "Knife Crime Czar"?  Seriously?  You have one guy whose job it is to coordinate all the efforts against… stabbings?

  9. thriveformore says:

    Facts, common sense and numerous studies all debunk the myth that there is a link between computer and video games and violence. Blaming video games for violence in the real world is no more productive than blaming the news media for bringing crimes of violence into our homes night after night. Having someone or something to blame is convenient, especially after an incident of terrible and unexplainable violence. But to do so is simplistic, and more importantly, it’s wrong.


  10. TBoneTony says:

    Only when all those politicians loose their seats and eventually die due to mother nature can we ever feel that the scapegoat label is gone.

  11. Ashkihyena says:

    "If I recall correctly Mr Taylor’s son died after being stabbed with a broken bottle."

    If he’s going to try to make stupid taxes then, maybe he should make a glass bottle tax then.

  12. State says:

    Actually knives just like violent games are age-restricted products. There is appropriate restriction on both games and knives, which would then led me to ask "How did they get hold of the material?"

  13. Wolvenmoon says:

    Reminds me of him :

    It stops at his method. Instead of doing something reasonable, he’s advocating for overgeneralized laws.

    Is rap music good for kids? Hell no, it blatantly promotes violence and abuse, as well as objectifying people (not just women). Is there any way you can stop it all at once? Nope.

    Are video games that promote graphic violence and abuse as acceptable and moral behavior good for kids? Again, hell no.

    Many problems with the U.S.’s modern society could be blamed on our current adult generation being raised by the television. The answer is not to ban TV, but to educate future parents.

    I’ll eat my desk before I let my children learn morality from TV, eat fried food every day, and play M games before they’ve demonstrated they can drive safely and responsibly.

  14. proevodan says:

    It’s one thing to campaign against violent video games. It’s quite another to demand adults be taxed for playing games you dissaprove of.

    Taxing these games won’t stop knife crime. It will just penalise video game consumers.



  15. TBoneTony says:

    Plus Videogames are NOT CHEEP!!!!

    In Australia I have to pay at least 100$ for a new game.

  16. KayleL says:

    I don’t know what the prices are in UK, but in Canada, DVDs are $20, and Video games are $70. They are not cheap.

  17. TBoneTony says:

    Well I am not even going to mention anything about this one.

    Because I already unleashed my anger out once today,

    so there is no need to unleash it twice today.

    But yeah, it really dissapoints me when politicans use videogames as a scapegoat.


  18. GusTav2 says:

    If I recall correctly Mr Taylor’s son died after being stabbed with a broken bottle. No knives were involved. But that does not impact on any way in the debate.

    Sometimes a debate in GP can be enlivened by some accuracy and less of the kneejerk reaction we constantly criticse in others. A small amount of knowledge, and a greater degree of considered thought are vauable tools in all debates.

  19. metroidprimegmr says:

    Hey now, where John Walsh is flawed in his opinions, he more than makes up for in his actions. He’s one of the people responsible for the creation of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

    Other than that, I totally agree with your overall point.


    Jack Thompson: future Good Burger employee of the month

  20. The Hangd Man says:

    As already mentioned, a person who has this much of a personal stake in a certain interest (in this case the death of his son) is going to bring to much of their own personal interest instead of looking at it from the perspective of society as a whole. If a person has pre-concieved notions about what caused or causes a certain problem (in this case knife crime) then that person will not be looking at all of the options on the table and will probably be looking selectively at information to cherry pick what they want to hear and what will reinforce their ideas, instead of looking at others that could prove to be the actual solutions.

    Also suspect is the denigration of rap music, specifically american rap music. As I am not the world’s biggest rap fan, am I incorrect in believing that the UK has rappers too? Would I also be improper in assuming that some of those rappers use innapropiate language too? What about other music styles, such as the rampant sexual innuendo in a great deal of rock & roll? Is that ok or inappropiate for children.

    My curiosity is that if there’s such a problem with knife crime, why not tax knives? I also wonder what ‘violent games’ were purchased by the people he mentors? Did he perhaps talk with them and discuss the ramifications of the ‘violent’ actions in the game were and how they would play out in the real world? Did he talk with those young people and ask why they had purchased the games and look at the reasons why they bought them in the first place? My guess is that he merely saw them get the games, shook his head and said ‘that is what must be to blame.’

    Sadly this is just another politician looking at the world through his own fractured lenses and calling the rest of the world blind.


    I hate broccoli/ and think it totally sucks/ Why isn’t it meat?

  21. gamadaya says:

    Yeah, something like that will cloud anyone’s judgement, even if they mean well.


    Internet troll > internet paladin

  22. JDKJ says:

    "All I wanna do is BANG! BANG! BANG! [sound of gunshots] and KAA-CHING! [sound of cash register] and take your money" — Paper Planes, M.I.A. (British dancehall/rap recording artist).

    Maybe M.I.A., instead of American rap, would have been on Mr. Taylor’s radar if her lyrics said, "All I wanna do is STAB! STAB! STAB! . . . ."


  23. Mattsworkname says:

    I’d make some joke about the "Nanny state" but, we actually have some idiots on our side of the pond trying the same thing.

    LIke there isn’t enough trouble in the economy, now they wanna raise taxes.

    Yeah, thats a good idea.


    Yukimura is still here "Honor, that is what matters, isn’t it? " Yukimura Sanada, from Samurai warriors 2

  24. Geoff says:

    It’s a terrible thing what happened to his kid.

    All the more reason he shouldn’t be given any power over this issue.


    Tea and cake or death! Tea and cake or death! Little Red Cook-book! Little Red Cook-book!

  25. GusTav2 says:

    Can I just ask where I mentioned racism in my post?

    I was highlighting the bizarre nature of the accusation that the BNP and SNP were equivalent in the previous post. The current incarnation of the SNP are in fact left of centre in the political spectrum, vastly different to the neo-facist BNP.


  26. Wraith108 says:

    The SNP want to have Scotland leave the UK, I’ve never seen them as racist, they’ve never to my knowledge said that English people should be forcably removed from Scotland. Hell IIRC they would still recognise Queen Elizabeth as head of state.

  27. Afirejar says:

    Let me first state, that I don’t know anything about British politics, especially not about Scottish parties, so I really can’t contribute all that much to this discussion except pointing out your simplistic views on racism. What exactly do you think is the connection between abolishing fees in the educational and medical system and being a racist? Because I don’t see any.
    All I see is a pretty ridiculous train of thought that goes "racists are bad, these people did stuff that isn’t bad, therefore they can’t be racist", which is about as fallacious as an argument can possibly get.

    Of course, I didn’t hear anything to the contrary either, so the only thing I learned thus far is, that the SNP is presumably involved in the current Scottish government.

  28. State says:

    SNP, BNP what’s the difference? The Scottish National Party makes so many racist comments at the English it’s unbelievable, but because they’re defined as a minority they’re allowed to get away with it. Their comments are insulting and discriminatory.

    (Can gamers actually have a discussion without the "Boogie Man" coming out. Gamers are clearly obsessed with the man).

  29. GusTav2 says:

    Are you suggesting that the current Scottish Govt are the equivalent of the BNP?

    This is the adiminstration which abolished student tuition fees, prescription charges in the socialised health care system, and all fees for socialised nursing care. They are obviously dangerous facists.

    Or maybe you are short on facts and talking ‘oot yer arse’. But lets not lets facts get in the way of bigotry. You are the UK JT and I claim my £5.

  30. State says:

    Oh I’m so sorry for actually pointing out the logistics involved in the argument and actually discussing the points instead of just randomly spewing out uninformed hatred and abuse. I never knew trolls were supposed to be the ones making serious points. Gamers are stereotyped as being abusive unintelligent children, I’m sorry that I don’t fit the stereotype. Perhaps you should get off of your high horse, or as you put it high fucking horse.

    Now if people could actually get on about the points made by Mr Taylor, that would be nice.

  31. farlander28 says:

    Someone needs to get off their high fucking horse, already.

    Sure, some of the comments here have been.. hmm.. less than sympathetic to the man’s tragic family history, but that’s what happens on a free internet. Learn to live with it or get off.

    As for the more intellectual side of the comments, they are pointing to a very real problem with Mr Taylor – that he should never have been given the position he now has. A person that has an extremely traumatic personal anchor in a given social issue is the last person that should be involved in making policy. Should they have a chance to be heard? Sure. Should they be an official advisor, blasting their emotional angst and bias against an entire industry (and country, in regards to his view of the US)? Fuck no.

    Also, enough with your melodramatic bullshit about the effects of games on society. You expose yourself more with each passing comment that you are not a gamer, but a sanctimonius troll. I especially like how you ignore whole responses, and just continue on with your lecturing unabated. Get over yourself.

    "Life sucks, get a fuckin helmet" – Denis Leary


  32. State says:

    Let’s look at the issues here, instead of the highly derogatory comments aimed at Mr Taylor (some of the posted here add more weight to the argument of games having a negative impact on society).

    Games are currently already expensive, a child shouldn’t really have that much money to buy a game at £40 (they’re more likely to be given them as a present).

    Games have legally enforcable ratings on them prevent them being purchases by children underage.

    To tax a game on its content would be hard to do, and in many ways discriminatory (violent game against a kid’s game). It doesn’t happen with the movie or music industry. It would also lead to great amounts of pressure being put on the BBFC to give softer ratings to games so that they don’t receive higher tax rates (a similar pressure is applied to film ratings, and the 12A rating was created due to pressure from parents and industry). It would simply give a ratings body too much power. It would also be a first in that tax was rated purely based on the opinion of a few people (the BBFC) instead of hard facts (such as income related tax).

  33. State says:

    We tend to now see campaigns by parents who lost their children in tragic circumstances which seem to serve the purpose of filling the void left by the loss. Usually they do veer onto the side of more extreme measures, but appears that this was one comment and not a campaign, therefore I don’t see any developments arising from these comments. Again the logistics of such would be hard and raise other moral issues (such as the role of the ratings agency).

  34. hellfire7885 says:

    Ok, maybe that comment was out of line, but the man’s remarks hinted that he beleived that any and all offensive media there is from the States, which is not true as if my memory serves correctly ,the much hated heavy metal scene started there.

    AS for what happened to his son, I do feel for what happened to him,I really do, but even so, he should not be letting his personal feelings effect his judgement.

  35. Afirejar says:

    Absolutely correct, the logistics of taxing a specific type of product are clearly complicated beyond measure, after all the alcohol tax wasn’t viable as well. Also, the role of the ratings agency is clearly a serious moral problem – if only the British already had one!
    Boy, am I glad, that this is just some parent trying to cope with their loss and not an advisor to the British government or anything.

  36. State says:

    That’s not the point. I’m sure he’d be rather pleased by someone telling to "grow a pair" over his comments which come from the fact that he son was murdered, you’re actually justifying his comments about games as you are a gamer yourself.

    He may be a UK citizen (highly likely you didn’t know of his background when originally posting) but I fail to see your logic in telling him that it’s his fault that the USA is an independent country, when his family had no bearing in the matter because they were in Nigeria.

    A lot of the unintelligible comments and abuse here go a long way in saying that he was pretty much right in those comments if this is the result of gaming. It seems very few here are actually willing to discuss and debate the comments maturely, no wonder games are the scapegoat for so much of society’s ills.

  37. hellfire7885 says:

    I could care less about his origins as he is now a UK citizen, and his son’s death, one case is no excuse to decide policy that would effect the entire country.

    IF you have an emotional anchor with a job or case, then it’s best to not get involved, that simple.

  38. Zero Beat says:

    1.  He’s in the British government now.  It wouldn’t matter if he was from a different planet.

    2.  What happened to his son is no excuse to tax video games and video games alone, no matter how violent.


    "That’s not ironic. That’s justice."

  39. Michael Chandra says:

    Not sure how his origin means he can’t be referred to as ‘you people’ when the UK is adressed. He is, as representative of the UK, stating what the UK should do. If his origin means he can’t be considered a part of the UK, then integration has failed.

  40. DarkSaber says:

    Mr Taylor is a British citizen, and yes, his son was murdered, but that doesn’t make him any less way off the mark and knee-jerk.


    I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

  41. Baruch_S says:

    Well, America’s government is basically run by sheeple of one brand or another, so you’re not any worse off than we are.

  42. Afirejar says:

    Claiming the punk movement was a cause for the computer revolution isn’t exactly realistic either, so cut him some slack.

  43. Bennett Beeny says:

    In what way is the punk movement ‘negative’?  I mean this is the movement that produced the garage band phenomenon as well as the whole DIY ethos that helped create the computer revolution.  And you see that as ‘negative’?  Are you crazy?

  44. Father Time says:

    I know Britain is such a peaceful place I mean just look at the different countrymen.

    Our sports fan can get mean and nasty and yell at each other while I cannot for the life of me think of a time when British sports fan have ever gotten mean or violent or started riots or destroyed property or even raised their voice in anger.

    They sure are a peaceful lot



    Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it’s over they have the same positions they started in.

  45. State says:

    Lets not forget the SNP, the party of bigots that preach hate about people who come from a different country.

  46. sirdarkat says:

    Yes the UK is a perfect picture of peace and tranquaility its all those darn Americans fault … The UK never ever produces anything that is negative; did I mention though we birthed Skinheads, a large portion of the Punk movement[though I do like the Punk movement] etc… but other than those minor faults we never do anything negative … except for that whole India occupation and god don’t get me going on the many many wars we have been involved in but other than that nothing ever negative comes out of our country.  Bastard Americans.


    I wonder if he is rallying for a tax on violent movies, or violent books, or what about violent sketchs on napkins???


  47. JDKJ says:

    I can’t help but wonder if anyone ever questioned the wisdom of appointing someone to advise on an issue to which they have a personal and emotionally painful connection?  

  48. BearDogg-X says:

    Still a bunch of bullshit, though.

    Geaux Saints, Geaux Tigers, Geaux Hornets, Jack Thompson can geaux chase a chupacabra.

    Proud supporter of the New Orleans Saints, LSU, 1st Amendment; Real American; Hound of Justice; Even through the darkest days, this fire burns always

    Saints(3-4), LSU(7-0)

  49. Geoff says:

    Well now that you know how it works, you can get a pretty lucrative career in politics. 🙂

    Remeber, real research, study, and applying solutions to solve the problem is hard.  It costs money and time.

    But scapegoating is free!


    Tea and cake or death! Tea and cake or death! Little Red Cook-book! Little Red Cook-book!

  50. Vordus says:

    Cheap? Hah!

    Besides, if anything, we should be trying to fix poverty and education, as knife crime is a problem restricted to inner cities, poor communities and isolated cases of nutters, but naturally finding a scapegoat is cheaper and quicker than fixing the actual problems of modern society.

  51. Michael Chandra says:

    Those are usa prices, so not correct. PS3 games of 40 pounds seem to translate to roughly $55.

  52. BearDogg-X says:

    Taylor shouldn’t have even been given that job to begin with since he has too much of an emotional investment into the subject, as JDKJ infered. That being said, Taylor’s an idiot, straight and simple.

    $60 plus sales tax for a new release is "Too cheap"? That’s the biggest bunch of bullshit I’ve ever heard.

    Parent your own damn kids, jabroni.

    Geaux Saints, Geaux Tigers, Geaux Hornets, Jack Thompson can geaux chase a chupacabra.

    Proud supporter of the New Orleans Saints, LSU, 1st Amendment; Real American; Hound of Justice; Even through the darkest days, this fire burns always

    Saints(3-4), LSU(7-0)

  53. hellfire7885 says:

    "“It is creating more of a problem because of the language that is used. It is language that, as a father, I would not allow my children to hear."

    Protip: Grow a pair and say no every once in a while you wuss.

    “To me, there is a lot of negativity that comes out of this music, especially that which is coming from America.”

    Hey hey hey, the USA was founded by people your country didn’t want back then, so really the USA being here is your government’s fault. Don’t like the culture now, too bad.

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