Well, that’s done for another 10 years, and if rumour is to be believed possibly for good. The UK census 2011 has been done and submitted online in this house at least.
I am not usually a census neigh-sayer nor do I get overly excited at the opportunity to fill in the form every decade. But it is a necessary part of living in the UK and I guess you might as well get on with it.
We are told that vital information is gathered about us, the populaces of these islands, through the census forms.
I don’t recall the previous census enough to know if the questions have changed much since 2001 but I was struck this year by the seemingly futile nature of the questions in this years effort. for example filling the form in online I was asked about my employment status in the week prior to 27th March, as I have been on paternity leave I looked for that option but to no avail, despite Paternity leave being a legal right under government legislation I had no way of signifying my status for that previous week Ok I thought I’ll just mark myself as ‘on leave’ and hear is the rub the ‘annual leave’ option is also lumped in with maternity leave, unexplained absence and illness. Basically if you were not at work for any reason last week the Census completely fails to record it in any sensible way. its a pointless statistic.
My first thought is that this is a cynical ploy to avoid difficult data about unemployment numbers but on reflection I’m not sure it is. It seems to me to be lazy questioning, it makes a mockery of everything we are told the census is intended and vital for.
Add to this the poor implementation of the online form meaning I had to give a marital status and employment/education status for the 5 under 16s in our family, not to mention (having moved in July) having to somehow get the inflexibility of the form to acknowledge that the 2week old didn’t live anywhere a year ago not even in the womb, doesn’t have a 1st language and isn’t in school I have found this years census tedious, pointless and more frustrating than the previous forms I have filled in.
I hope I am around long enough to find out what vital information this particular census has given the powers at be, because on the face of it it was pointless this year than ever before.
The one thing that did make me smile was my daughter’s question ‘if there is a census does that mean Jesus is coming back?’ Now that might just make it worthwhile!