LETTER: Census is essential to our way of life

WhilE in Scotland recently I bought a book, “So You Think You Know About Britain?”, by academic and statistician Danny Dorling, published this year.

Never have I come across a book so filled with twisted facts, hypocrisy and intellectual cowardice; one that ought to be an embarrassment to left wing politics.

However, it was the mention that if the current coalition government gets its way the 10-yearly census carried out earlier this year will be the last undertaken. Amazing isn’t it that an undertaking that had been deemed so important since 1841 can now be regarded as irrelevant and a waste of money. My goodness, it is so important a refusal to volunteer information carries the threat of legal proceedings being taken out.

Now apart from being useful to family history researchers, most of the planning and policy of national and local government, that is, stuff that affects our lives – and taxes – is based around information gleaned from census figures: for instance, social mobility, geographical segregation of various groups of inhabitants, and education and housing needs.

The obvious usefulness of census is to know how many people live in these Isles. So how the heck will anyone be able to compile accurate figures or have a clear picture of the state of affairs of our country and it’s peoples if we dump the census?

Due to something called the Comprehensive Spending Review of October 12th 2010 it was decided that to help address certain social problems measures would be taken to move 82,000 families out of London. Not just any family - the poorest families. The effect will not be to restore the countryside to resemble Larkrise to Candleford. Sounds a bit odd, even sinister, doesn’t it? To go where I ask? Will affordable housing suddenly become available in those leafy suburbs of the Home Counties? Forget market forces that dictate the price of property. And what would these people do for work – travel back into London? Perhaps we will see lots of black people working in the fields, employed by gang-masters. Ring any bells?

If a similar exercise is undertaken in the North with poor families from Manchester, Leeds or Merseyside will lots of cheap houses, to buy or rent, suddenly appear in the affluent Ribble Valley? How would anyone be able to dispute or question dubious planning without the benefit of information and figures correlated from censuses? Someone please enlighten me?


The Crescent, Clitheroe