March 15, 2011

That Damned Census

One of my new pals, Bob, from the Magna Carta Society, sent me the following information.

I thought you guys would be interested.

Here we go:

Problem with the 2011 UK Census?

In view of widespread and understandable concerns about the intrusive nature of the census we in the UK are asked to complete on 27 March, may I offer a few observations and a few relevant facts?

What Does the Law Demand?

Census Act 1920. 

Matters in respect of which particulars may be required
1 Names, sex, age.
2 Occupation, profession, trade or employment.
3 Nationality, birthplace, race, language.
4 Place of abode and character of dwelling.
5 Condition as to marriage, relation to head of family, issue born in marriage.
6 Any other matters with respect to which it is desirable to obtain statistical information with a view to ascertaining the social or civil condition of the population.

How Safe is Our Information?

Unlike in Northern Ireland and Scotland, the absolute confidentiality of personal information is no longer guaranteed by law in England and Wales.  This was abolished by Nu-Labour in the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007, section 39.

Census data collected in England will be treated as ‘restricted’, not ‘confidential’.  Our forms will be processed by some 1300 temporary employees at an 800,000 square foot warehouse in Manchester.  The Coalition government has provided no convincing assurances about the vetting of these temporary staff, nor the security being imposed on them and the data they handle, neither during nor after the process. 

Data gathering in 2011 has been contracted to a subsidiary of Lockheed Martin – the US arms conglomerate.  Eighty percent of LM’s work is for the US defence department.  It assists more than two dozen American government agencies and is involved in surveillance and data processing for the CIA and FBI.  It has provided private-contract interrogators to the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and Guantánamo Bay in Cuba.  

All US-based companies are subject to the Patriot Act, which allows the US government to have access to any data in the company's possession.  In other words, the US government will have legal access to detailed and highly personal data on the UK's entire population.

The Census website boldly states, without qualification, that “completing the census online is straightforward, convenient and secure”.   Each census form has a 20-digit “personal” internet access code.  Describing it as “personal” when it is addressed to “The Occupier”, and accessible to anyone who happens to see the form lying around, is absurdly irresponsible. 

How could bureaucrats with a long history of failing to keep data secure contemplate any such thing?  If amateur hackers can break into the Pentagon’s computers, there can be no credible guarantee that the British government could guarantee better security – especially given their appalling track-record.
The losses of personal data by the British government and its civil servants have been enormous in recent years.  Remember the 400 laptops and memory sticks 'lost' by the Ministry of Defence?  And that was just one incident.

Worse, there have been no government guarantees that criminals will be prevented from gaining access to raw census data.  How can it, when all our personal data will be available to the police, the intelligence agencies, immigration authorities, tax inspectors, DWP investigators, foreign governments, the EU, and to private sector and academic 'approved researchers'? 

The Office for National Statistics’ claim that this data will be safe is worthless.  Far too often the UK government has failed to secure and protect personal records in digital format.  We have no credible reason to believe them this time.   

Intrusive Role of the European Union

In 2008 the European Parliament approved a Census Regulation requiring the harmonization of outputs from member states’ censuses of population and housing.  It is now law in the UK.  The regulation requires that information collected in the UK is passed to Eurostat, the EU’s statistics institution, which was totally discredited for fraud and corruption amongst its own senior staff in a major scandal over many years. 

(I know – I was there.  And I was involved in exposing serious criminality, which did my already strained relations with the EU’s ruling elite no good at all!)

Statewatch, the civil liberties body that monitors the EU, has discovered that Brussels wants law enforcement agencies in member countries to build lists of political activists as part of a 'systematic data collection'.

Civil servants in the member countries charged with this duty have been told to collate information on what the EU chooses to call 'agents of radicalisation'.  They have been sent a list of 70 questions to answer about each ‘suspect’.  They want to know about family members, psychological traits, religious affiliation, activities, economic status and, significantly, 'oral comments' - presumably via phone taps - on political issues.  The extent of this EU trawl for potential political opponents was confirmed in The Guardian on 8th June 2010. 

No doubt the 2011 census will provide a good starting point.

Invasive Questions and Wrong Assumptions

Who is expected to respond?  The census is addressed to “the occupier” – singular.  Yet there is space for answers relating to six people, and visitors.  The preamble makes it plain that “the occupier” is legally liable for the accuracy of answers relating to all the others.

The government ‘justifies’ the need for the census by claiming that, amongst other things, it is required to plan the provision of education, health, transport, policing, housing and so on.  Apparently we are expected to believe that these services are today being managed on the basis of the census taken ten years ago.  It’s demonstrably ridiculous.
Such services are demand led, and rightly so.  The use of census statistics to plan and deliver them is at best highly marginal and rapidly out of date. 

Unlike previous censuses, people are expected to state their employer's name, their main activity, their address, and the full postal address of the location where that individual works.  This applies to everyone, whether they work for Tesco or the intelligence services.  Even people who are supposedly in a witness protection scheme after giving evidence at a criminal trial must provide this information.  

The first question on employment provides nowhere for a retired person to state that fact.  The assumption is that he or she should have been looking for work in the previous week, if not actually working.  The chance to declare that they are retired comes later.  Volunteers who work for nothing have nowhere to say so.

There are far more intrusive questions on ethnic origins than 10 years ago, unsurprising after the torrent of foreign nationals allowed to live here over the last decade.  Answers are mandatory.  Questions on religion are not.  However, despite there being over 390,000 self-declared Jedi recorded in the 2001 census (more than there were Sikhs or Jews) there is no tick box for Jedi.

Even the reasonable voice of Charles Moore, former editor of The Daily Telegraph, complains (12 March) that the intrusive questions on ethnicity will be used by government and others to exploit the race and culture wars which bedevil us.  They reinforce divisions. 

So, I might add, does the expensive provision of census forms in over 50 other languages.  How better to reinforce the divisions in today’s fractured British society?  Those of us meeting the cost of such indulgence might reasonably ask foreigners who have chosen to live in the UK to adopt our language, culture and way of life, at least outwardly.    

Legal and Constitutional Protection

In 2001 over 1.5 million households failed to complete the census, but only 38 were prosecuted.  But that was 10 years ago. 

The Human Rights Act and the Data Protection Act provide us with protection against an overbearing state.  Well, that’s the theory anyway.

Several other aspects British and international law are also relevant.

Both Magna Carta, 1215, and the Declaration of Rights, 1688, were contracts made directly between the Crown and the people.  Both were and still are beyond the powers of parliament.  Any repeal of statutes leaves the original contracts untouched.   (References:  Speaker Betty Boothroyd, Hansard 21 July 1993, and a letter from the House of Lords Archives Office to me in September 2000.)

Magna Carta recognises the rights of subjects of the Crown to hold government to account. This is sometimes described as the right to ‘lawful rebellion’, and was specifically confirmed in the oath sworn by Henry III at his coronation on 28 October 1216.

The Bill of Rights went further.  It explicitly forbids the recognition of power over what is now the UK by any “foreign person, prelate, state or potentate”.  In other words our joining what was then the Common Market was unlawful, and our membership of the EU remains unlawful.  Most certainly passing information to Brussels to assist their governance of the UK is illegal.

Our constitution is fragmented but clear.  It provides that the state answers to the people.  We, the people, do not answer to the state.  There is no such legal entity as a British state. 

We are a sovereign people and we elect individuals for a maximum of five years to look after our best interests.  And any future parliament has an absolute right to repeal any Acts passed by previous governments.  Thus, they answer to us.
Several clauses in the 1948 UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights defend our right to privacy.

 3.  Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

12.  No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

18.  Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

19.  Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

So Where Does That Leave Us? 
A census is only possible with the general consent of the population.  In some countries this no longer exists.  Germany has not taken a full census since that planned for 1983 was postponed until 1987.  The Netherlands has not had a census since 1971, following a high level of refusal previously.  Both these countries, and Denmark, now use alternative data sources based mostly on housing registers and sample surveys.

The UK government has made no secret of its irritation at having to carry out the 2011 census, which was put in train by Nu-Labour before the election last year.  It will cost almost half a billion pounds. 

The Coalition has initiated work on data-collection alternatives, so that the 2011 census proves to be the last of its kind.

Meanwhile, what to do? 

All the basic information about each of us is in the public domain already.  That is – name, address, age, sex and marital status. 

If you plan to complete it at all, you might consider …

(a) providing the legally specific information required only, and
(b) posting it.

By the way, the Royal Mail admits to several million letters a year not reaching their intended destination. 

Think on…   

Please visit the authors site here.

Next week I will detail why I am NOT completing the forms.


microdave said...

According to the following article at SpyBlog, Lockheed Martin themselves are not doing the work - it's subcontracted to a (nominally) British company, UK Data Capture Ltd. This supposedly means the Patriot Act won't apply. HOWEVER there are some alarming connections between this outfit, and the other companies behind it, as well as some UK security outfits.

They also aren't happy with the online security aspect, if you're thinking of completing it that way:

There was a letter in the Mail today from someone connected with the Census, pointing out that they would resist all efforts to divulge information, and would use the full extent of the law to do so. Fat lot of good that will do, when the EU demand information....

whatever said...

If you plan to complete it at all, you might consider …

(a) providing the legally specific information required only

And you are misleading folks by suggesting that the Census Act 1920 is the final arbiter of the information that we are required to provide.

It isn't. The The Census (England and Wales) Order 2009 specifies the data that they are collecting this time, including all the stuff that they really ought to have no right to know (health, employment etc.)

That's the legal basis for the questions this time around. Now, whether you and I think that they should have a right to ask for those data is another matter altogether...

Furor Teutonicus said...

XX UK Data Capture Ltd.XX

"Capture" sais it all really.

Don't the British "do" irony any more?

Furor Teutonicus said...

Maybe think it was Mummy does to their shirty?

George Speller said...

Census answers in Runic alphabet?

Captain Ranty said...


Good links, thanks.

They (the MSM) almost never mention that the EU will get near-instant access to our data.


Captain Ranty said...


We are dumb shits but I believe many are slowly becoming more critical.


Captain Ranty said...


A great idea!

Or, writing the answers with your non-writing hand in any colour other than blue or black? (The LM scanners will be buggered when they try to make it make sense).

Claim dyslexia and colour-blindness when the drone turns up at your door.


Captain Ranty said...


Thank you for the links, and the correction.

This is not my work, I am linking to another site that produced the article. You might want to swing by and tell them.

Speaking for myself, I do not have to complete the census. I have lawful excuse.

Moreover, because it is "illegal" to advise others not to complete the forms I will be doing exactly that.

My instructions from Magna Carta are clear: "Distress and distrain us in all possible ways..."

That includes reminding ALL Britons of their obligations to do nothing to aid and abet this illegal government.


Furor Teutonicus said...

XX Captain Ranty said...


We are dumb shits XX

Not all. Just those with their political and common sense heads in the sand.

dangermouse said...

Mine is lost in the post :)
Bloody Royal Mail!

mescalito said...

mines being sent back with my own questionnaire for them to answer.

Pesky Anonymous said...

I shall do precisely nothing until the summons arrives in the post (if it even does, and I doubt it).
Then I will trot along at the appointed time, with a choice.
a; If I feel like it is not my lucky day, I will say that I'm frightfully sorry you haven't received it, and that I'm quite prepared to fill one out there and then. Case closed. Not much of a kick in the teeth for the beast, but at least I will have caused them some hassle and expense.
or b; Arrest the judge.

sike said...

If I stayed out all day on march 27th , maybe in the pub or just walking about and did not return home until one minute past midnight then I would not be required to return a census form would I? What do their rules say? I have not found the answer to that yet.

Anonymous said...

An underling handed me a census form yesterday - which I then handed back to it.
He took the form away.

Captain Ranty said...


Their rules say that you must* complete the forms as soon as possible before the deadline.

* "must" is synonymous with "may" in law.


Captain Ranty said...

DM, Mescy and Pesky,

Well done!

You do realise that doing this unBorgs you?



Captain Ranty said...


Did he make any threats?


sike said...

MUST is synonymous with MAY which implies a choice (as statutes cannot compel, only law can).

ok thats good to know
but what are their rules regarding someone not at their home on that day because they are travelling and not visiting another address ? I still have not found a clear answer to that.

In other news ,I was speaking to someone who is working in the data-processing facility in Manchester. I was told that if the tracking barcode on a returned census form is illegible then the form will be returned. Processing staff have been briefed about how to handle forms which have unexpected answers (crosses ,ticks , numbers,answers outside of the box etc). I have also been told that a larger number of Compliance workers have beeen recruited for northwest england because a larger number of refuseniks are expected here.

Steven UK said...

When I read "The Occupier" I gave it to my Israeli flatmate.

Anonymous said...

Oh bad luck HMG. I NEVER open letters addressed to "The Occupier".


Anonymous said...

on the envelope it says,
your census response is required by law, oh really,well here is my response.

Captain Ranty said...


I am uber-chuffed that my fellow Mancs are Just Saying No.

Good news indeed!


Captain Ranty said...

Steven, Anon & Anon,


You are making me redundant here!

We have near total resistance/refusal in the last 22 comments.

Are you guys sure you need me at all?


Mr Numba Cruncha said...

Looks like I shall be in for a visit then Sike as i'm in Bolton.

Let the fun begin i say, those compliance weasels better like being on camera!!

Chattering Man said...

Please excuse me for being a bit square, but.......
I’m at the lowest level of local authority elected councillor. Our village has missed out for the last 10 years because the population recorded in the 2001 census was too low. The doctor’s surgery is bursting at the seams, the local school over flowing, and there is less funding than we are entitled to because the ‘powers that be’ insist that our population is lower than it actually is.
I have a huge amount of time for many of your sentiments, and I vastly object to the intrusion of many of the questions (my religion is between me and my conscience), but ‘loose’ your census in the post, and your kids, will loose out, and your parents, and even you when you get ill !

Captain Ranty said...

Chattering Man,

The Germans and roughly 120 other countries do not feel the need for a census, and yet their populations are adequately provided for.

If you honestly believe that we need to complete a 40 page document so that your kids, your parents (and I, and mine) will lose out, then you have been Borged.

There is NO good argument for a Census. None whatsoever.

I do not recall, ever, being asked on admission to hospital, or before treatment at my local GP, "Have you completed the Census?".

Not once, not ever.


quid pro quo said...

A Non Compliance Officer will be paired with a Non Compliance Assistant to investigate census refusals; they will be authorised to conduct a refusal process which will include a formal " Interview under caution"

This is verbatim from and to the readers of your blog hardly requires any further comment.

The spirit of Erich Honecker is alive and kicking in 21st century Britain.

I still haven`t decided whether mine has been lost in the post or whether to make an issue of this. I`m allergic to the implied threat in the first paragraph.

Anonymous said...

Chattering Man:

To fix your problems all "they" need to know is the number of people who live in your village permanently, and their age. No need to know anything else. And your argument only holds water if you live in an isolated village like you seem to.

Captain Ranty said...


"I`m allergic to the implied threat in the first paragraph."

And isn't THAT enough to convince everyone to refuse to comply?

Would a truly free society really threaten their populace with a huge fine for not filling in a form?

I look forward to testing that.

Elephants will shit jewel-encrusted aliens skilled in translating Serbo-Croat documents from Aramaic into Swahili following a nine-day cocaine binge before I fill in their damned forms.

Have I made myself clear?


Captain Ranty said...


My village has 280 inhabitants, (279 while I am here in Lagos), and not a single one of us misses out on anything.

Mind you, we DO pay for the police 365 days of the year. I have lived in my village for a year and I have seen 4 coppers. All on the same night, and never since.


Mr Numba Cruncha said...

.....They will be authorised to conduct a refusal process which will include a formal " Interview under caution"

Authorised by whom?

Will they continue to "Interview under caution", when the door is slammed in their faces?

Will they "Interview under caution" someone who fails to supply a name?

The only people who will end up in court I fear, will be those who self-incrimnate.

Captain Ranty said...


I agree.

If you fill in any part of the form you are consenting to its validity.

Fill in not one single word and you have not entered into their sneaky contract.

No consent, no contract, no problem.

As much as they want to (and do) spread the fear, the only thing to do is to lose the fear.

Lose that, and they have sweet fuck-all.

I guarantee you this.


Jiks said...

Mine has got lost in the post on it's way to me but I havn't noticed yet, unfortunately.

I hope I spot it's absence in time to request another ...

Captain Ranty said...


Shit happens.

It is an unfortunate fact of life.

The very best we can do is bear up.

Stiff upper lip, and all that.

The Post Office is not, sadly, staffed with super-humans. Things go astray, on occasion. They do their best. It is all we can ask.


Mr Numba Cruncha said...

.....the civil liberties body that monitors the EU, has discovered that Brussels wants law enforcement agencies in member countries to build lists of political activists as part of a 'systematic data collection'.

Civil servants in the member countries charged with this duty have been told to collate information on what the EU chooses to call 'agents of radicalisation'. They have been sent a list of 70 questions to answer about each ‘suspect’. They want to know about family members, psychological traits, religious affiliation, activities, economic status and, significantly, 'oral comments' - presumably via phone taps - on political issues.

These two statements alone are justification for outright rebellion, not just census non compliance.

Am i going overboard there???

Lion of England on a distant shore said...

Just to inform you Germany has one this
year,but it seems only 30 % and they will
be written to,according to our Local paper
but the paper says all EU satellites are due to to have one this year?.
Looks like they are trying to find out how many slaves they have got,so they can steal even more money for their pockets,the great EUSSR DOOMSDAY BOOK.

Captain Ranty said...


Mein Gott in Himmel!

Whatever next?

Seriously, what is the point of censusing only one third of the population?

That is marginally worse than getting them all to do it.

Either way, the numbers tell the story: over 60% of the nations in the world do not do this. Is it any surprise that mainly first world countries do it?


Captain Ranty said...


I expect it daily.

I will fuck them up when/if they arrive.

My fear has evaporated. They have nothing.

I have it all.


Lion of England on a distant shore said...

well seeing that the EUSSR are illegal
in our country ( England ) then i suggest
we burn the Census because the puppets
in the house of sin are are only doing what the EUSSR FUHRER( WHATs HIS NAME?) says, the jelly fish
calling them selves representatives of the the people, dont even know what the people look like,and to get back to them
they would need a space shuttle to come back down to earth,They should all be hanging of London bridge!.

Captain Ranty said...


Amen to that, brother.

We will win.

Keep that uppermost in your mind, always.



WitteringsfromWitney said...

CR, Mine is in the bin and probably as I write being remade into another Census form as I forgot to tear it up!

Anyway, as I posted here:

A far more important matter arises. The ONS have lied on the front page of the form, they have every intention of breaking the contract they offer and do so without providing the necessary caveat of any contract.

"Census data collected in England will be treated as ‘restricted’, not ‘confidential’" yet the front page states exactly the opposite!

CrazyDaisy said...


Mine will be NCRTS and Mrs Crazy has agreed to this - fuck do they need to know that for, Govt proles spouting you'll lose out - my arse!

Want something? Work & pay for it the state has too much power - remove consent - just say NO


Captain Ranty said...


I read that. It is a great piece.

They do that all the time: they break the contract even before we consent.

It will be their undoing.


Captain Ranty said...


You play a dangerous game. I know who you work for, even if my readers don't.

Folks, take my word for it, CD has balls of pure titanium. Wrapped in titanium. Encased in a special layer of titanium. And then surrounded by even stronger titanium. I am proud to know you.

See you soon, Matelot. I will probably be in the neighbouring cell.


mescalito said...

i agree on the self incriminating angle of this, it is the same as when the tv bandits come knocking.

as long you don't give your name to the census bandits how can you receive a fine or summons, they cant address those to the occupier!

Clive said...

Mr Numba Cruncha asked:
Will they continue to "Interview under caution", when the door is slammed in their faces?

Door? Surely you mean, a custard pie.

Yes, I am specifically advocating shoving a custard pie in the Census Compliance Officer's face.