Thoughts from an active pensioner who is now somewhat past his Biblical "Use-by date"

"Why just be difficult, when with a little more effort you can be bloody impossible?"

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

The Census (Part 2)

I don't want to participate in the census and consider it a total aste of money as the information being demanded is already in the possession of the authorities (as I outlined yesterday).
However, unlike many other questionnaires, I am legally compelled to complete this one as I have no wish to incur a fine.

It seems that there is no point in going away for the day/night in question as they insist on knowing the detail of those normally resident in the house, so I am limited to my other options of being bloody minded, misunderstanding the questions and using illegible handwriting (the latter not being difficult these days).

Without having seen the form and the questions (I was hoping for a sample on the web) it is difficult to be specific and one problem is that the form consists mainly of tick boxes. However these do give some scope for mischief. Although they normally specify a black ball pen as the forms are computer read, I will use my trusty broad nibbed fountain pen with pale blue ink and ensure that there are plenty of alterations and blots. That should put the computer in its place. It seems unlikely that they would prosecute me for failing to note the ball pen requirement, particularly as I'm getting senile and deaf when I receive unwanted callers.

Then we get to the actual questions:
How many bedrooms? There are two rooms with beds in so that is the answer, although an estate agent would probably say there were four.
Is there a conservatory? No (its just been re-designated as a summer house as it's only used during the summer months).
Is there a garage? As a garage is a building which houses the car the answer must be no. It is a workshop as is apparent from the tools, work benches, etc.
They can't claim I lied, indeed I was doing my very best to be accurate.

Next comes the matter of Mrs EP. I can hardly claim that I don't know her age, etc., but I am wondering if I can claim that the information was provided in confidence and that under the data protection act I am not allowed to divulge it to a third party. Perhaps they will then provide her with her own form which should be interesting, as I have never known her to fill in a form correctly without assistance, a statement with which she would fully agree, and something I find strange for someone of her intelligence.

Our 2 year old grandson stays overnight with us periodically, maybe I'll be able to find some excuse for including him as well! (We need to maximise the population to help the anti-immigration lobby and a bit of double counting will help)
And the finally, I've just discovered from the 1911 census that my grandfather was a Swiss national, so I can declare my ethnic origin as Anglo-Swiss. But I'll remain strictly English for the purpose of this blog.

Any other thoughts are welcome.

1 comment:

  1. The first census was held in 1801, not 1811. 1841 was the first of the "modern" census in that it listed everyone's name. If you read the history of the 19th century census you will find that every ten years there was a struggle between those who carried it out, who wanted to keep it simple, and those who wanted more and more data to play with. The latter group are on top at the moment.

    Personally, I am in favour of the census, we need to find out just how many foreigners are living here. But it needs some penalties attached. If you hand in a completed form you get a unique number. Without this number you become invisible as far as state benefits are concerned.