|"Comrades, fill in your census forms, or it's off to Siberia!"|
What has disappointed me in recent weeks is the attitude of certain groups I have supported for a long time to the 2011 Census. I think it's a waste of time and money, especially as various parts of the state already have more information about us on numerous databases and I've blogged about this before. To be honest I found the census questionnaire less intrusive than the average job application.
But two organisations have especially disappointed me, NO2ID and Big Brother Watch. I believe both organisations have a valuable role to play as the state becomes ever more intrusive and authoritarian but, as with any campaign, you have to pick your fights. In the last few days they have both banged on about how census data would/could be accessed by MI5. That signals a level of paranoia that I find disconcerting and would make the average member of the public question their campaigns on other, more serious issues.
Via Twitter I have challenged both outfits to point out what on the census form could be of any possible interest to MI5. They have not responded. If you are reading this in the UK you will either have your form ready to complete, or will have already done it. Please, if you agree with NO2ID and Big Brother Watch, let me know, via comments, what you think on the form you would prefer MI5 not to know about you. Obviously I wouldn't expect you to divulge personal info, just mention the question or page number that you find horrendously intrusive.
Rather than asking us if we would like to violently overthrow the government, or even if we think that the policing of demos is excessive it merely asks how we get to work and if we are employed or self employed. There you go Miss Moneypenny, no need to get 007 on to me. I'm self employed and drive to work when I work in Manchester. I bet GCHQ are now going through my blog with a fine tooth comb!
At the same time I had a disagreement with Big Brother Watch on Twitter about today's demo in London against the government's half hearted attempt to clear up Labour's financial mess. They had retweeted a comment that somebody knew lots of people who were not going to the demo today because they are terrified of the police. My response, although more polite, was bollocks! More paranoia I'm afraid.
I accept that the police are not perfect, far from it, but anybody who is too scared of the police to go on a demo should really seek help. I suspect my sister and her hubbie will be on the march today. I don't agree with them and wouldn't go on the march myself, but I know they are not a pair of wimps who are easily scared and would certainly not be intimidated from making a stand for what they believe in by a British Bobby.
I found that nonsense especially disagreeable, verging on the obscene, when you look at what is happening in Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Zimababwe, Bahrein and elsewhere. I wouldn't like to be depending on a bunch of pansies who are scared of the British police if our backs were really up against the wall, would you?
They make the loony wing of the Eurosceptic movement who refer to the EUSSR sound almost sane.