Dissenting in the 2011 Census

By staff writers
March 26, 2011

A wide range of controversies have followed the 2011 census, which is supposed to be completed on 27 March or shortly thereafter. Perhaps the largest is the involvement of multinational arms producer and dealer Lockheed as the main processing contractor. There are also fears for the security of the data, which government lawyers have failed fully to address. And there has been strong criticism around the 'religion' question.

On one substantive issue, Countmeout (http://www.countmeout.me.uk/) summarises: "Lockheed Martin has a ruthless and blood-soaked history. They are best-known for building cluster bombs and our Trident nuclear weapons system, and their arms sales to Bahrain and other repressive regimes are an ongoing controversy. Granting the [census] contract funnels our money into conflict and the suppression of legitimate protest, and gives credibility to a company that deserves none. This credibility is in turn used to gain the contract for more censuses."

It is against the law not to fill in the census. Some will still be boycotting it. They feel the point about the involvement of Lockheed has to be highlighted with active resistance. But there are alternative strategies.

The magazine Peace News has done a considerable amount of research into how the census can be legally filled out, but in ways that maximise the cost and inconvenience to Lockheed Martin. They also highlight the consequences of natural human error. A short version of their analysis can be found here (http://tinyurl.com/5r6qw57). A much longer version, which is also rather amusing to read, is here (http://tinyurl.com/4nmsfzu).

PN says: "A principled stance by you to boycott the census will not hurt [Lockheed], could provide the British Government with a £1,000 fine of your money and will make life harder for local authorities. Don’t let them make a profit from your census return but do help to provide the data your council needs for its Government grants. If you don’t send in your form, Lockheed Martin will still get its money and just make a higher profit for less work."

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