PAXsims

Conflict simulation, peacebuilding, and development

Unexpected side effects of wargaming

At the Imperator Vespasian YouTube wargaming channel, there is an unfortunate tale of how wargaming A Very British Civil War (a 1930s alternative history that sees the rise of a fascist government in Britain) got one young man reported to the police for suspicious extremist activity via the Prevent counter-radicalizationprogramme.

It all ended up alright in the end, with the police dismissing the school’s concerns. Still, while one understands teachers being concerned at a student’s sudden interest in fascist paraphernalia, there does seem to have been a major shortage of common sense in this case.


The Prevent initiative has been controversial from the outset, although those who have been innocently caught up in the reporting system have tended to be Muslims.

In 2017/18 there were 7,318 referrals under the system, of which 33% were made by schools. 57% were under age 21, and 87% were male.  Of those reported, 44% were reported for suspected Islamist extremist, and 18% for suspected right wing extremism. 42% were investigated and no further action was required (and thus might be considered “false positives”—people who who incorrectly reported).

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One response to “Unexpected side effects of wargaming

  1. RockyMountainNavy 04/08/2019 at 7:45 am

    I have passed on my love of wargames to my boys. They really like WW2 and constantly want to play with all the German tech in games. I caution them about boasting too much about German prowess at school lest somebody get the wrong idea. I make sure they understand the dark side of WW2 (and war in general)…the Holocaust or Japanese atrocities area topics we have dealt with openly. That said, I worry not about them, but it’s the others out there I don’t trust.
    Makes me wonder about all those kids who love FPS video games. I see that as a bigger potential threat vector….

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