Obo recently covered the fact that BluLabour have performed an EPIC U-turn on the 2011 census.
Invasive. Intrusive. Unsuitable. That was how the Conservatives described next year’s census plans when they were in opposition.
So, how have things changed since the coalition took over from Labour, and Mr Hurd became a minister in the Cabinet Office?
The director of the England and Wales census Glen Watson told the BBC: "They haven’t expressed those reservations to me since taking office." His plans have not changed since election day.
Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude said: "The expenses already committed to the census mean any changes are difficult.
Utter boswellox, Mr Maude. You know it, and I know it.
I do find this quote particularly surprising, though:
Alex Deane from the Big Brother Watch campaign group is encouraging anyone who finds the questions intrusive not to comply.
He said: "I don’t imagine for a moment that putting a blank or palpably absurd answer – Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck – would result in a prosecution for anyone, and anyone who feels that they’re having their privacy intruded upon should feel free in my view to put that."
Don’t you, Alex? Although I don’t agree with Big Brother Watch on every issue, the blog is an invaluable source of information about the intrusive surveillance state, and BBW is a doughty campaigner and advocate on these matters.
Day after day, they carry tales of excessive behaviour and abuses of power by low-level state appointed pecksniffs, driven by a heady cocktail of targets and zeal.
Failure to properly complete your census form can attract a £1000 fine.
So does he really think that a department of state (or QUANGO) that needs to cut costs and justify its existence will fail to pursue the non-compliant with fresh vigour?
Mr Watson revealed that in 2001 3m people did not return a completed census questionnaire. Fewer than 100 were prosecuted.
I’m going to bet that there are upwards of 1000 prosecutions on the back of the 2011 census. Perhaps thousands more.
You or I could be one of them, if we don’t give full details of anyone who stayed at our house on 27 March 2011. Or what type of heating we have, or Christ knows what other pecksniffery in their 32 page questionnaire.
Well, I’m a Native American Indian practitioner of Buddhism. I heat my tepee with burning babies. On the night in question Tony Blair, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Beth Ditto stayed at my house. I speak no English. I don’t sleep, so my house has 7 reception rooms, and no bedrooms.
Of course, this post is prompted by the story that the Tories are implying that they’ll ditch the census after 2011 and do something else. I’ll believe it when I see it.