Saturday, 6 December 2008

”Is that a clipboard in your pocket, or are you just pleased to see me…?”

In an unprecedented intrusion into private life, Government bureaucrats are to demand to know the sexual preference of millions.

Anyone questioned in a major national survey about their job, the food they buy or their fuel bills, will soon also be asked whether they are heterosexual, gay, bisexual or 'other'.
And no doubt, told to ‘F*** off!’ by anyone with half a brain.

But it seems they are counting on that not being the vast majority of people:
Karen Dunnell, the National Statistician, insisted that most people would be willing to answer questions about their sexuality in confidence.

She confirmed that the Office for National Statistics (ONS) will collect data on sexual identity on all its major continuous surveys from January 2009.

Mrs Dunnell said: 'Better measurement of equality is essential if we are properly to analyse, understand and address inequalities in society.

'The new survey question has been carefully designed through a programme of testing and consultation.

'Testing has shown that the vast majority of people are willing and able to answer the question.

'ONS puts great emphasis on maintaining confidentiality of data.'
In other words, Brits have been so conditioned to answering questions that most of them don’t, apparently, stop and think ‘Hang on a minute…’.
Individuals do not have to take part in an ONS survey. If they agree, they can still refuse to answer a specific question.
I wonder if they are advised of this by their interrogator? Probably not.

And as a result of this learned compliance, they will feel emboldened to go further:
This means that a question about sexual identity is now almost certain to be included in the next census, which will be held in 2011.
And that, you can’t refuse to answer…

5 comments:

Dave H. said...

What the heck does 'other' mean?

Would a secret urge on sight of a fleeing Thompsons Gazelle put me in that category?

Cleast Intwood said...

I was a census enumerator last time around (never again!), and we were told only to revisit people if they had missed off their date of birth. If other questions were unanswered we just let it go. So, although *officially* all questions must be answered fully, nothing happens when they aren't.

I certainly won't be answering intrusive questions on sexual preference and so forth.

JuliaM said...

"What the heck does 'other' mean?"

Apparantly, some people say the categories 'do not describe them' and they would prefer to use another term...!

"So, although *officially* all questions must be answered fully, nothing happens when they aren't."

That's good to know!

Leg-iron said...

So, I have until 2011 to invent a new sexual deviancy for the form. Along with a new religion, a new ethnic group and a new skin colour.

I'll fill in every question, but reserve the right to lie.

It must be okay to do that. All our politicians do it.

Anonymous said...

Thompsons Gazelle!!Bit exotic that,and racist,what's wrong with a good old native sheep.