If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.

- George Washington

Sunday 20 February 2011

What to do about the Census...

Complete it, refuse to complete it, lie?

A lot of people are planning a boycott of the 2011 Census because of the involvement of Lockheed Martin in the planning and data handling. The fact that Lockheed is an arms company doesn't bother me, but the fact that they are American, and therefore subject to the Patriot Act, does. (That is not an anti-US comment, by the way. I just don't like the idea of my personal data being handled by a foreign company with a duty to reveal it to their government if required, and the UK government doesn't exactly have a glowing reputation over standing up to American demands.)

But I object to the census on the grounds of intrusiveness. I have religious views, and political views, and a unique sexuality (only in the sense that everyone's is unique, you understand), and none of these is the business of the State. I can accept that the state needs to know how many people there are, and where they live, and perhaps even what they do for a living. But beyond that, it is no concern of theirs.

Refusing outright to complete the census could result in a £1000 fine or imprisonment. I can't afford a fine, and I don't want to go to prison, so unless everyone boycotts it I doubt if I will. But I'm thinking of the 'Jedi Knight' campaign for the last census. If I say I am, under 'religion', a Pastafarian, who are they to disagree? If I call my sexuality 'fixated on goats, but only pretty ones', how can they question that? Can they prove I am lying?

The questions are not in the public domain yet, and for all I know some of these may not be included. And they are a massive intrusion into my private life. I can accept all the arguments about planning public services and so on, and I don't mind letting the State know I am here, and that I am unlikely to be requiring a primary school place any time soon. But as to whether I am gay or straight, or Catholic or Seventh Day Adventist, I won't be telling. The origin of the calories that run my central heating system will remain untold. As to any 'overnight guests', their sexuality, name, date of birth, address and shoe size, there will be one answer:


H/t to Longrider who, as usual, has some sensible points to make.


  1. For years I've believed that Pastafarianism has many wise canonical beliefs. It's my 'religion' of choice, and when this forthcoming census shows a massive influx of believers, will look forward to receiving a share of the inevitable grants that'll be awarded under all that 'Equality' legislation.

  2. I have also written 'Pastafarianism' on all official forms for the last few years. It's a tick in a box, after all, and if anyone really wanted to challenge it, there's sport to be had there.

    Maybe a Pastafarian movement, like the Jedi one last time?

  3. Some of your readers may be interested to learn that Bobby Henderson created the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (Pastafarianism), and was the first visionary to recognise the correlation between Global Warming and the (then) reducing numbers of pirates.

    In 2005 he published a graph which clearly illustrated the relationship of rising temperatures and falling numbers of pirates.

    His original graphical proof received further vindication with the realisation of recent reported increases in pirate activity have been coupled with a reduction in global temperature.

    He even points out "..... that Somalia has "the highest number of Pirates AND the lowest Carbon emissions of any country.".

  4. The questions are in the public domain. You can download the pdf from the ONS website. They left sexuality off - this is generally believed because there would be massive refusal to comply.

  5. Thanks for that - the last I heard the questions had yet to be finalised. I am not surprised they left the sex questions out. What exactly could they ask that wasn't massively subjective? It's not like skin colour (and even that is open to a lot of interpretation); it's stuff that even the responder may not be 100% sure about.

    No need for my goats answer, then. Shame.


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