Saturday, 19 February 2011

When Quirinius Was Governor of Syria...

I get very excited about the census.  I know there is no reason, of any kind, to view this as the Highlight of the Year, but I may well do (I'm keeping an open mind, obviously, but just saying that on present form, I can't see me eating my words come December).  For our Foreign Readers, the UKCensus takes place every 10 years, and the next one will be on 27th March 2011 - you can see a handy countdown timer here, and if I could only figure out how, I'd have it permanently on the blog.  Well, for the next 1 month, 1 week, 0 days,  hours and 41 minutes.

Apparently the forms come out in March; you can answer online from 4th March, but I won't do that, because it takes your answers and uses them to weed out the questions you don't have to answer, and then you don't get to see those questions, read them, and choose to ignore them.

Here are the things I like about the Census:

1. The epic scale.  I like the thought that, at a specific moment, the nation are all doing the same thing: filling in a form.  Now, I know they're not really, but I like to think that everyone does the thing properly and completes it at midnight on the day in question, as I shall.

2. The people who whine about Invasion of Privacy.  I find it very endearing that they think anyone really cares whether they cycle to work or get the bus.  I think this is because I'm the exact opposite: the Census is roughly the most interested anyone is in me, ever.  It's like someone cares enough to ask.  I love it.

3. The campaigns.  There's always some kind of campaign to try to get people to put something or other on the Census.  Last time, it was trying to get people to declare themselves as Jedis, so that it would have to be included on the form this time around.  I believe they succeeded.  One can only imagine the embarrassment in 100 years' time, when this goes online and people look it up to discover that their great-grandparents ticked the 'Jedi' box.  It'll be the 22nd Century equivalent of your dad trying to be cool.
This year it's The Atheists, who want to get all atheists to tick that they have no religion.  Since this involves reading the question which says 'What is your religion?' and then ticking 'none', I have a feeling they may be reasonably successful, and atheists everywhere can glow a little more brightly.

You may well hear more of this.


Virtual Methodist said...

sad thing is... if some people get their penny-pinching way, this could be the last Universal census in Britain...

whynotsmile said...

WHAT?! NO!!! Why? Who? How do I stop them? Can I fill the form in anyway?