Labour MPs have demanded a ban on the advertising of ‘war toys’ and
warned that such ads could lead to a repeat of the Dunblane massacre.
A Commons motion attacking pre-Christmas TV ads for such toys has been
signed by 37 MPs - 35 Labour, one Liberal Democrat and one Welsh
Tony Banks, the Labour backbencher who tabled the motion, said: ‘If we
are really worried about the levels of violence in society and we
seriously want to deal with it, then we have to get at the very roots of
violence. It’s not just about stopping people having guns in gun clubs,
it’s about stopping them wanting guns.’
The Commons resolution said that encouraging boys to want war toys and
other violent games was ‘the start of a process of brutalisation that
leads on to all the undesirable behaviour patterns exhibited by so many
males later in life’.
It called for a study into the possible link between war toys and male
violence and urged parents to boycott toys or games portraying violence
The strong support from Labour MPs suggests a Labour government would
come under pressure from its own backbenchers to take action to ban such
campaigns if it wins the general election.
However, the Labour leadership is likely to reject legislation demands,
preferring instead to urge toy and game manufacturers to show restraint
in their advertising.
Under Tony Blair, Labour is developing a more ‘hands-off’ relationship
with the advertising industry and is expected to abandon its 1992 pledge
to bring in a statutory code of advertising practice. But it may want
the existing voluntary code strengthened to restrict advertising
targeted at children.