The Zhoosh! Brighton Blog
I’ve just filled in my census. Online, of course; though I do love ticky boxes, I want to save time and money at either end. But despite the amusement running through Twitter at the mysterious Question 17 – go and fill the form in, I’m not telling – there’s a thread of unrest about having to give out information. Will ‘they’ track us down by our answers? Is Big Brother looking for dissidents and tuition-fee protestors (of which I am one)? What can be told about us through an apparently unnecessarily lengthy form?
Conspiracy theorists, I know you won’t do this, but please hang up your ‘out to crush us’ signs and apply some common sense.
Please do not boycott the census, despite this ingenious tweet from alexanderhanff: if the entire adult population refuse to complete the #census gov can collect ~30B in fines which would end public sector cuts
A even better, though more down to earth tweet, is Cathprisk’s: I want to say I love #census data, it provides the background for public policy planning and frames the questions that need asking.
The fact is, census data WILL be used to make financial decisions. Though I wish we were told in more specific and slightly less patronising detail about how the information is used (like Canada’s census – http://www.censusatschool.ca/12/12_001-eng.htm, a better explanation). If people don’t fill it in they will be directly affecting their community, many of whom are vulnerable and need extra help, as those who don’t do the census won’t be counted and the population will be correspondingly estimated as smaller. Therefore the area will be given less money and its profile will be seen differently.
4 pages per person in the household (not 32 pages – that’s only if there’s 6 people and 4 visitors in your household)… if you’ve ever had to fill out any form from the DWP you’ll know that in comparison to their insane, often 70-page forms, this one’s child’s play.
And I rather enjoy the idea of taking on another’s identity, which seems to be a common thumb-your-nose response from the people at large (boarding school? I’ll be an Enid Blyton schoolgirl! Let’s be Buddhist. Or Sikh. Or retired, as in ‘last week, were you: retired?’ (What if I only retired yesterday?) ‘What passports do I hold?’ How many does 007 have? Let’s do the form as if I’m him).
My own regret is that I can’t stand loud and proud for LGBT – no sexual orientation box to tick, more’s the pity, because we need those services and allocations specifically for this community. However, you might be interested in the results of the first official ONS survey of sexual identity, It’s based on 6 integrated household data surveys involving over 450,000 respondents, dating from mid 2010. You might like some of the answers, but others might not be so popular.
http://bit.ly/e3b4Em Apparently we are younger; more likely to smoke; to be better educated; be in managerial/professional roles; be white; be less religious, than the population at large. But also to be fewer in numbers than commonly estimated – an average of 1.5% of the UK, rather than 5-7% – and the South-West (1.8%) rather than the South-East (1.5%) has the highest LGBT concentration outside of London (2.2%, the highest in the UK – but you already knew that). But there are apparently 245k bisexuals, ‘mainly women’, so I’m happy.
Getting back to today’s census: by my participation, I can and will stand, simply, as a member of my gender. I was at an interesting event in Brighton marking International Women’s Day yesterday, and heard some truly frightening statistics amid the celebration of women’s lives, their being and achieving. Here are just two: only 2.8% of central government funding goes to women’s projects (2009, Women’s Resource Centre study). This despite the fact that almost 1 in 2 women will experience some form of abuse to their person in their lifetime, which could be abuse, rape, domestic violence, harassment or bullying. This means over 54,000 women of this city (some of whom will be LGBT) are affected. We know who we are. Let’s stand up and be counted.
The census online (you need your internet access code to fill it in, found on the front of your paper copy): http://www.census.gov.uk/
General info on the census: http://www.channel4.com/news/2011-census-forms-sent-out