Three weeks ago a letter about the 2021 Census dropped through our letter box. The Census comes around every ten years, but this one is a bit different from how I remember it in the past. For a start it was telling us to fill it in “on-line” and reminding us that failure to complete it could bring a £1,000 fine or at least a visit from an official, probably dressed in full Covid protective gear. Further failure to comply might lead to imprisonment. At worst deportation as an illegal immigrant could be on the cards in a few years time ! This from your friendly CIVIL service.
I imagine that many older people are not on-line, or even if they are, would not be happy or confident enough to fill in such an important form. It will be interesting to see the response rate and how many people end up getting fined, imprisoned or deported. Reading carefully further down the letter, there was an option to request a paper copy of the form. So on behalf of elderly technophobes everywhere, I sent off for one. Today, the demanding form arrived.
Addressed to the ‘householder’, because they didn’t know my name, I was just a sixteen digit number at this point. How are they going to fine me if I don’t send in the form ???
I don’t want to be difficult, or imprisoned, so I set about filling in the form. It is only 32 pages and about 1600 questions ! The first few were easy, just your name and address, no hair colour, birthmarks, tattoos, not even your height or weight. How are they ever going to recognise me ?
I was getting on alright with all the other questions …… until I came to Question 17. It says it was intensionally left blank, so how do you know what to put in ? Do you leave it blank and risk a fine ? Or do you fill it in with an answer that you want to tell them about that they haven’t asked ?
For instance under the section on qualifications :-
- where do I put all my scout badges ?
- or my Blue Peter Award ?
- or my driving test certificate ?
- and my swimming certificates?
Strange that in these lockdown times there is nothing about COVID. Perhaps this census is a last ditch effort to prove that the Test, Track and Trace system actually works. If you admit to having visitors in you house you could be landed with yet another hefty fine and be quarantined indefinitely.