Blind to Society?

An apology for the intrusive census we endured in 2011.

The 2011 census revealed a treasure trove of facts we did not know about Britain.

Oh, dear, it didn’t. I lied profusely on mine. Indeed, not one of the questions was answered accurately. I very much doubt I was alone. I did so for good reason; the questions intruded into areas that the state has no business poking about in.

The census also counts cars and tells us how many people use cycles and how many go by train to get to work. It tells us how many families with children have no car. DVLA cannot do that. It is also as much a count of dwellings, of “flats and houses”, commuting vehicles, caravans and beds in halls of residents – as it is an enumeration of people. The 1991 census told us that a borough’s worth of housing had been added to London which was not included in the government’s records.

Above all else the census tells us how all these objects and people are connected. It even tells us that there are more bedrooms in a city like London than there are people to sleep in them (and therefore that all could be well housed). It tells us about how well we share and when we fail to distribute.

Nope – I lied about all of that – because, and I repeat myself deliberately, it is none of the state’s business how many vehicles I have or how many bedrooms I am failing to share nor do they know about how many bicycles we have or whether we use them to commute – because it is none of their damned business and I fully intend to keep it that way. If the census really does go, that is a good thing, not a bad one. As it stands it is merely prodnosing on a grand national scale and I will continue to do whatever I can to keep my private business private.


    • I filled out the name and address part, but on every other part I put ‘I refuse to answer this question on the grounds that it contravenes Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. I agree with LR, because of the intrusiveness many people will have not been entirely honest with their answers. Because of this the 2011 Census may end up being known as ‘The Garbage Census’.

  1. When I got mine I answered the fairly invasive question about my occupation with “Wage Slave”

    There – go ahead and deduce something from that you bastards.

  2. I also lie on the census form because it’s none of their business.
    In the old days the census was just your name and your address and your age, all this other bollocks is a relatively new invention you don’t see any of it on the 1911 census for example.
    Here is a prime indication of how wonderful this type of stupid uselessness is my mother has lived in the same house for just shy of 30 years, it’s a 3 story regency never been flats, a few years ago the post office decided her house and the one next door belonging to my boss (also not flats) were flats.
    Now the post office had never been in these houses to look, mum and my boss started getting 2 TV licence requests, 2 council tax bills and yup you guessed it 2 Census forms etc it got so ridiculous the TV licensing threatened her with court action.
    Mum said “Now look her you stupid little man, I have told 5 of your colleagues previously this is MY HOUSE, I would know were it flats, I think if some builder had come in the night and redesigned my home cutting me off from the other 2 floors of my HOUSE , even at my advanced age I would notice.”
    TV licencing man *well madam I am sorry but our records show it’s flats , the post office say so, so you will need to contact the post office and tell them to re-designate it as a house”
    Mum “No my good man I will not, I am telling you I have paid my TV licence on this property, this is NOT my mess and if you continue to threaten me with prosecution I will let you take me to court and I will make a mockery of you and your system and you will end up having to pay me a vast sum of compensation for sullying my good name. Up to you but I will of course be ringing the national newspapers when I win the court case, Good day to you” and she hung up.
    Needless Tv Licensing never bothered her again and as a councilor the council tax bill debacle was soon fixed.
    As for the census well that was a whole can of worms so she filled both in with exactly the same info and scored out the Flat 1 and Flat 2 part Ho Ho Ho.
    Anyway as the information is voluntary ( despite the threat of prosecution if you don’t take part) how will they know you lied and with the current huge migrant workforce I should think 99% of it is bollocks anyway even if anyone told the truth.

  3. “I lied profusely on mine.”
    Good for you, Longy! I did the same thing on principle.
    Btw, if you want to renew your H.G.V. Licence when you reach 70, you’ll find the very first question on the umpteen page form is ‘Do you smoke?’
    God rot the lot of ’em!

    • The correct answer to that is …
      “Don’t know, I’ve never looked”
      – The old jokes are the best!

  4. I was one of the many that didn’t fill in the 2011 Census.

    I was working from the home office during the time and took one look at the form and shredded the papered atrocity. A very pretty census form lady kept coming round to my house putting new census forms through the letterbox and knocking on my door. As tempted as I was to engage in conversation with this pretty young thing, I refrained.

    The thing is, the tiny amount of prosecutions from the previous census only took place for those that opened the door and declared they were not going to fill in the census forms, and the census taker would sign their declaration as such.

    So, like not paying the TV Licence the same way, I never answered the door (although I have put an “Implied Right Of Access Denied” notice on my door so I don’t get any hassle from the TV Licensing salesmen).

    A few weeks later the census heavy team arrived. Literally. An overweight man struggling with a gut for a personal pendulum and an obese woman with a face fitting that of a bulldog bought up on a diet of unwaxed lemons – banging on my door, desperately trying to invoke the thin veil of authority. They did this every few days for about two weeks. I taunted them every now and then with the delightful melodic toonz of Anthrax’s “Caught In a Mosh” just to let them know I was in.

    Then nothing more.

    So, like avoiding the TV Tax, another easy thing to ignore so long as we don’t bow to the god of Argumentum ad Verecundiam, which appears to be particularly ingrained within our culture.

  5. On forms which (most impertinently) ask for my “sexual orientation”, I resist the temptation to write “horizontal, usually” as being too obvious – I do like to describe myself as “Homosexual hermaphrodite” just to imagine all those tunnel-visioned, hard-wired little brains going round in ever decreasing circles…

    • I never respond to questions about my sexuality, ethnic origins or religious belief. My standard position being; it’s none of their damned business.

  6. The only fact that can be gleaned from a survey (or census) is that some, or all, of the questions have been answered.
    The basic required information was given and the others were answered with the words “Considered irrelevent”. By doing this, I was not deliberately giving false information or failing to comply with the law so no action could be taken against me.This left it up to the authorities to respond by convincing me the information was relevant. They have not done so. My only act of (slight) anarchy was to add a couple of leaflets from a local pizza take-away, and information on double glazing and cat insurance to the envelope.

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