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THE CENSUS: To complete, or not to complete?

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THE CENSUS: To complete, or not to complete?

Post by Tony Bennett on Wed Feb 23, 2011 7:04 pm

The 2011 Census is nearly upon us.

It comes upon us every 10 years, except that there wasn't one in 1941, while Hitler was bombing Britian's cities.

I ran a minor campaign 10 years ago about the intrusion into privacy in the last census. This one is I think even more intrusive.

Questions about 'ethnic origin' and 'religion' plus other personal questions are I think a breach of the right to privacy as enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights.

The 'religion' question on the 2001 Census Form led to some 350,000 declaring themselves to be 'Followers of the Jedi', or something like that, which exposed the census for the farce it had become.

Let it always be remembered, when filling in a census form, that in the 1930s, for innocent-enough reasons, the Dutch government carried out a census of the population, also asking people to state their religion on the form.

When the Nazis marched virtually unopposed into The Netherlands in 1941, one of their first acts was to send stormtroopers to the nation's town halls to get their census records examined. This very conveniently told them where all the nation's Jews lived, and of course the Nazis went round promptly arresting them all, and later killing many of them.

I got a fair amount of support for my campaign, and received some lovely letters.

One was from a lady who resolutely refused to state her ethnic origin on the census form, despite threats of a £1,000 fine. She wrote and told me she had carefully written this on her form on the page which had the question on ethnic origin:

“Maternal line - grandmother Russian born Doroshinskaia, racially integrated with Tatar ancestry from 16th century Golden Horde, Turcic peoples’ part of the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic since 1920. Ancient Bulgarian and Mongol line (not to be confused with modern Bulgarians). Grandfather: surname Kerson; Estonian of Swedish paternal line, that is: (a) Finno-Ugric tribes of 1st and 2nd millenia B.C. and (b) tribes of reindeer hunters of Celtic and later Goth and Saxon origin.

Paternal line - grandmother Austro-Hungarian born von Herzog, Prusso-German family of long-standing Jewish ancestry settled in Austria and Prussia since Early Modern period. Grandfather: surname Golicz; Ukrainian from Podolia, land racially influenced by Lithuania and Poland. Family forced to flee under Golden Horde (see above), lived in French territory until 18th century, marrying into French families before returning to Ukraine. France; this means Anglo-Norman (an uncle has now returned to Normandy) with Angevin and Burgundian backgrounds. Burgundy: this means general Scandinavian and later Roman origins; Roman means Ostrogothic, Sicilian, Lombardic from Byzantine Italy and certainly also Scythian.

Thank you ever so much for taking an interest in my racial background”.
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Re: THE CENSUS: To complete, or not to complete?

Post by Judge Mental on Wed Feb 23, 2011 7:54 pm

Whilst recognising that we need to know where to build hospitals and schools, the census is far too expensive to carry out in this day and age, and by the time the statistics are compiled and acted upon, they are out of date.

One has been rather disturbed to find out recently that when reporting burglaries, residents have to allow police officers to have a guided tour of their property, and notes are made on the number of reception rooms and bedrooms etc. As if this were not intrusive enough, tape measures are then produced, and the garden areas are also measured. Have any of our posters experienced this extra intrusion by the police? It is quite obvious why the social security bureau would need to do this, in order to calculate for heating costs and rate for council tax etc., however one has yet to understand why the police would be taking the measure of properties. Who has access to this information afterwards? Do the police sell this information on?
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Re: THE CENSUS: To complete, or not to complete?

Post by confused on Sat Feb 26, 2011 11:55 pm

Having worked with census returns for many years, and also traced many people's family trees, plus my own, through using census returns, they have been a valuable source of information, allowing us to build up a picture of our ancestors back to 1841. This information would have been lost forever, if it hadn't been for the census. However, in today's climate, with so much information and BIG BROTHER, the census has run its course, and the 2011 census will be the last.

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Re: THE CENSUS: To complete, or not to complete?

Post by Tony Bennett on Sun Feb 27, 2011 12:02 am

@confused wrote:Having worked with census returns for many years, and also traced many people's family trees, plus my own, through using census returns, they have been a valuable source of information, allowing us to build up a picture of our ancestors back to 1841.

Agreed

This information would have been lost forever, if it hadn't been for the census.

Agreed

However, in today's climate, with so much information and BIG BROTHER, the census has run its course,

Agreed

and the 2011 census will be the last.

Well, probably
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Re: THE CENSUS: To complete, or not to complete?

Post by listener on Wed Mar 02, 2011 11:02 pm

In the past, I have filled in some bits and scored-out other parts. Last time, I threw it in the bin. I have never had a 'follow-up' letter.
The way I feel now about 'Big-Brother', I will probably bin it again this time round
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Re: THE CENSUS: To complete, or not to complete?

Post by listener on Sun Mar 06, 2011 12:06 am

@listener wrote:In the past, I have filled in some bits and scored-out other parts. Last time, I threw it in the bin. I have never had a 'follow-up' letter.
The way I feel now about 'Big-Brother', I will probably bin it again this time round

Sorry - Re. ''Big-Brother", I meant 'The Big Society' !
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Re: THE CENSUS: To complete, or not to complete?

Post by littlepixie on Sun Mar 06, 2011 1:13 pm

It seems to be more and more common for everyone from BT to Comet to ask for your personal details when you are dealing with them or purchasing something from them. I had a row once at the till in Tesco when I was buying a digi-box with my groceries and was asked in front of all the other customers for my address for TV licencing purposes. I gave a ficticious address. I pay for two TV licences for the two properties I stay in and I dont need checking up on by the likes of Tesco.
I am becoming more and more guarded when dealing with these companies as I think the gathering of personal information is really getting out of hand.
As for the census, they can have my name age and occupation and thats it I will also include a note that says this info is not to be sold or shared with any other people.
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You only have to answer FOUR questions

Post by Tony Bennett on Sun Mar 06, 2011 2:09 pm

@littlepixie wrote:As for the census, they can have my name age and occupation and that's it. I will also include a note that says this info is not to be sold or shared with any other people.
littlepixie, I have checked the law and as I understand it (can't supply a link just now), the only questions you are legally obliged to answer on the census form are as follows:

Name

Address

Sex

Marital Status.

I don't think you have to give either your age or your occupation and certainly none of the other dozens of things they want to know about you.
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Re: THE CENSUS: To complete, or not to complete?

Post by Judge Mental on Wed Mar 09, 2011 1:42 am

@Tony Bennett wrote:
@littlepixie wrote:As for the census, they can have my name age and occupation and that's it. I will also include a note that says this info is not to be sold or shared with any other people.
littlepixie, I have checked the law and as I understand it (can't supply a link just now), the only questions you are legally obliged to answer on the census form are as follows:

Name

Address

Sex

Marital Status.

I don't think you have to give either your age or your occupation and certainly none of the other dozens of things they want to know about you.

A person may change their name within days/weeks/months of the census.
A single person may be in the throes of moving home on the day of the census, and a family with thirteen children may move in within a matter of months.
A person who has marital status on the day of the census, may be about to start divorce proceedings a week later. Likewise, a divorced person may be about to remarry within two weeks of the census.

Very few people change their sex though, so this is a valid question.

People no longer live in the same home throughout their lives, growing corn to take to the tithe barn or proffering their eldest daughters to the squire. .

We should not be filling in these ridiculous consensus forms anymore. We have made technological advances in the past few hundred years, which the local councils should be using to their advantage to keep a check on which services are needed in their towns and where to target them. This would enable them to have a much better idea of where to build roads, schools and make provision for the elderly etc.
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Re: THE CENSUS: To complete, or not to complete?

Post by kangdang on Wed Mar 09, 2011 7:41 am

I've completed it, the census is a fantastic - it provides invaluable social research data.

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