A British pupil was reported to the anti-terror wing of the police by his school, for daring to play a historical war-game with his father in which fascists were a playable faction.
The father and son duo upload unboxing and gameplay videos to their YouTube channel, “Imperator Vespasian”. After not posting anything for a period of six months, they revealed the reason for their absence in a video entitled “Unexpected side affects of Gaming!”.
The pair had been building and expanding their models for the counter-historical game, “A Very British Civil War”. Set in an alternate 1938 where Oswald Mosley, the leader of the British Union of Fascists, has become Prime Minister after Edward VIII refused to abdicate, plunging the country into civil war. Various factions are playable, such as the BUF themselves, communists under the banner of the Labour Party, loyalists to the Crown backed by the US and Canada, and so on. The son mentioned to his classmates that he was buying a flag for the BUF models. He was quickly denounced as a fascist himself for daring to engage in such a hobby, and was reported by the school to the anti-terror wing of the police.
The son was interviewed under caution along with his father, despite protestations of innocence. Fortunately, the police “could not believe what the school had done”, and took action against the school for wasting their time. The incident still affected the family, causing the mother to become ill, and both father and son to lose all interest in the hobby that allowed them to bond. They sold most of their collection as a result.
While not being specifically named in the video, it is likely they were reported under the Prevent scheme. Designed to spot potential terrorists in the early stages of radicalisation, it is most often employed by schools, universities and other government organisations.
“Extremism” is defined for the purposes of the scheme as “vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs.” Also included in the definition are “calls for the death of members of [British] armed forces”.
They are now back playing again, including the very campaign that got them in trouble in the first place, as it “annoys all the right people.” However, they advise any younger viewers who may be interested in picking up their hobby to avoid telling anyone at school, pointing out that “some of the teachers these days are so far to the left that they’ve lost the ability to understand… Some of the teachers do not live on Earth – they think that toy soldiers are real life”.
Many commenters on the channel were astounded that they were even reported to begin with. A user under the name NationalVideoWatcher complained that “when chavs throw rocks at my house, all of a sudden the police ‘can’t do anything’, but the minute you build a miniature in come the bloody MI5!” CoxJul, a school governor, said he was “disgusted to hear of this referral over wargaming”, and urged the pair to pursue action against the school. LateStart1 summed up the situation well, asking how could we be living in a world so crazy as to trust “unhinged, politically motivated simpletons… with the education of our young people!”
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