The census boycott

This, in case you weren’t aware of it, is the latest cause of all righteous Dave Spart – a -likes – we must refuse to fill in our forms for the 2011 census. And why must we do this? Well, because it comprehensively sticks it to The Man, of course; but specifically, because part of Lockheed Martin, the American corporation that’s also a major arms manufacturer, is involved in processing the census, as was apparently the case in 2001. And that, of course, is terrible. Here, however, are several good reasons why everyone should ignore this rubbish.

1. The 2011 census is likely to be the last one in which information is collected by sending out forms for everyone to fill in anyway, since it’s expensive and the Government now reckons it can get the same data from other sources anyway. Disrupting it therefore falls squarely under the heading of gesture politics.

2. All that disrupting a census would achieve would be making it more difficult for the Government to identify how to distribute the much reduced amount of public money it’s prepared to spend. Ultimately, the worst losers would be the kind of poor people that righteous Dave Spart-a-likes claim to support.

3. That claim, like many others made by the far left and radical protest groups, is a lie, because essentially there are only two kinds of people in those groups. The minority are those who have an emotional hatred of authority and spend their lives jumping on any convenient bandwagon that lets them act this out. They also tend to end up in charge by virtue of longevity. The majority are the youthful idealists who protest for a few years, then realise that they don’t really like living in squats and therefore need to get jobs, and give up (see most of those who participated in the protest movements of the Sixties). The long-termers, at any rate, are as selfish in their own way as any mainsteam politician – idealism as a cover for personal emotional needs rather than career objectives or the interests of powerful groups. Disinterested concern for others has nothing to do with it.

4. If you really want to have no interaction with powerful American corporations and/or give no personal information to Government, you have to drop out of society to an extent that’s increasingly impossible and that most radicals don’t really achieve themselves. You have to question the sanity of anyone who really prefers the idea of living illegally on other people’s property, being unemployed, not getting NHS treatment (health records) and so on to any kind of compromise at all.

5. Oh, yes, and refusing to complete the census form is illegal and can earn you a criminal record.

I note that one of the groups allegedly supporting this latest effort is the ironically-named Stop the War Coalition. The Iraq War started about 8 years ago, regardless of their opposition to it. It hasn’t been stopped by them since. This makes them a large-scale equivalent of Brian Haw or those women who were still at Greenham Common after it had stopped being an American base. What starts as with reasonable argument ends up with a few crazy people who won’t admit it’s time to give up and go home and perhaps no longer have a home left to go to. That’s the path of the full-time protestor, and this protest will be no different.

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