Thursday, 10 March 2011

Census 2011, Jedis and Druids

The large white and purple envelope has arrived, carrying the census to our door.   The questions seem silly, given that the data they seek is readily available from other sources. 

HM Taxes can confirm that we pay our taxes, and how our income is generated.  All bank accounts have been on computer for decades already, so The Powers That Be can easily peer into how anyone gains and spends money.  The house can be seen on Google Street View and its design and legal description can be found at the Land Registry.  Our birth dates and similar information were logged with the appropriate official bodies at the appropriate times.  Council Tax banding has long been settled upon and so our home's number of rooms, etc. is well established. 

Who cares how we heat our home?   As the Census information is supposedly kept private for 100 years - unless some anarchist hacks into the database - who cares that we don't have central heating, apart from a central heating company who might hope to sell such a system to us?  We receive more than enough nuisance telesales calls as it is, without arranging more in advance by ten decades. 

With the development of nanomedicines and transhumanist technologies I hope to still be potttering around in this body in 100 years time, but I choose to be without central heating thank you very much.   It's ugly and inefficient.  If this information is an attempt to figure out how Green we are, then this too is subject to interpretation.  We recycle; we have two huge compost bins in our large garden; we have chickens; we don't drive.   That's pretty Green.  But don't get me started off on the tetchy subject of seemingly Green industries which don't work half as well as pro-Greeny salesmen like to tell us....

What is the purpose of question 17, which has been "intentionally left blank - go to 18"?

Then there's the loosely-worded question of a person's religion.  Many people, largely due to cultural programming, describe themselves as religious when they're nothing of the sort - they neither believe in, nor practice,  much of the dogma, nor attend religious services.  Going only to weddings, christenings and funerals hardly qualifies as a demonstration of religious sincerity.   But, if asked, they'll still describe themselves with the religious affiliation they inherited from their parents.

Besides, how can data reader tell if a reply is accurate or not, in relation to this issue?  Apparently, the last census revealed that Britain is home to 390,000 Jedi Knights.  Despite these adherants' enthusiasm for feeling the force, their numbers failed to have Jedism (?) accepted as a 'real' religion.  

The Pagan Federation is said to want a listing for its members, too, though the word 'pagan' covers a multitude of diverse religions including Hinduism.

Last time around, I wrote on the census that I was a Druid.  Well, I am, sort of - but there are so many sorts of Druids that every Druid is, effectively, a Sort-Of Druid.  I've been a member of OBOD for something like twelve years, which is no secret, but any other affiliation will remain my own business.   This question is optional, after all.

The 2011 census will apparently cost Britain £482 million.  This seems an extraordinary sum of money, considering the current economic climate, merely to duplicate information which is already available.  Maybe it's a glorified Jobs Creation Scheme for civil servants.  Meanwhile here on Wirral, five respite care homes face closure.  I know where I'd sooner see the money spent.

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