New Culture man-at-Westminster Ed Vaizey:
To emphasise this point he has decorated his office with items that signify his areas of responsibility; a framed tribute from the Brit music awards, a painting by John Hubbard and, in pride of place, the Oscar won by Cecil Beaton for costume design for My Fair Lady in 1964.
He would like to make a further addition but, to his chagrin, his requests for a games console in his office have been rejected by unidentified “powers that be” as inappropriate. “I was encouraged not to, in case it looked frivolous,” he says. “But I think I will renew my campaign. I have a television so why can’t I have a games console?”
At a guess, it’s because the higher echelons of the civil service who want to be the hands that pull the lever would rather you stayed ignorant and simply rubber-stamped any policy they shoved under your nose….
He knows that a modern media minister must have a firm grasp of digital technology but admits to ignorance of the sector when he became shadow Culture minister six years ago. “I knew nothing about gaming in terms of either doing games or its policy place.”
And there most people who aspire to be ministers would have left it, content to simply attend industry dinners and read pre-prepared speeches.
But not Ed, it seems:
But Apple technology has given him a way back and, having been an “early adopter” of the iPhone app Angry Birds he progressed to Plants vs Zombies and now plays Monopoly on his iPad during trips on the Tube.
Readers who share with the “powers that be” a sense that such activity is frivolous should be aware that gaming has become an important sector of the British economy. Vaizey will be emphasising the point when he chairs a session on gaming at tomorrow’s Royal Television Society 2012 Digital World Conference. “We have a great heritage in games and we want to exploit,” he says.
It seems we do have at least one minister who is really fit for office – if he can prevail against the unelected civil service!