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29 September, 2009

Not playing this year

Before attempting to gather data on the sixty-odd million people in the UK, the Office for National Statistics is running a census rehearsal by sending forms to 130,000 households in Lancaster, Ynys Môn (Anglesey) and Newham.

Though I'm one of the recipients, I won't be completing the practice census; though I'll certainly participate in the compulsory one in 2011, as I consider national censuses very important, I couldn't imagine voluntarily giving the UK Government any personal information.
I suppose the ONS needs to know about potential response rates to the real thing, so in my own way, I am helping.

Besides that fundamental objection, a couple of specific questions are barriers to my involvement:

What is your country of birth?
[England/Wales/Scotland/Northern Ireland/Republic of Ireland/Elsewhere (write in the current name of a country])
Until full independence is achieved, I refuse to accept the first four options as 'countries' – they are mere component parts of the country called 'the United Kingdom' (the name's a hint). Hence, in 2011 I'll be selecting the last option, as I was born in the UK, rather than 'England', 'Wales', etc.
What is your religion?
I am atheist, which definitely isn't compatible with the form's nearest option, 'No religion'. Though I don't exactly think about it all the time, my approach to life is grounded in the knowledge – the faith – that there is no deity: that is my religion. It's a profound belief in an absence, not a lack of belief, and that's not mere semantics.

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