Is there an agenda with the 2011 census, or just incompetence?

Those in the UK cannot failed to have noticed that a census is afoot. Most people will have received the documents by now. However, question 17 has posed a lot of debate – why leave a question intentionally blank? The answer is obvious if you live in Wales – the question isn’t blank, and asks about the form-filler’s ability to speak and understand Welsh. But why is this question deemed only valid to those people living within the counties that make up Wales? Welsh is the other official language of this country, so why can’t those who speak it but who live elsewhere get their say about it? Do they not matter to the government?

My Mother speaks fluent Welsh, but lives in Bolton and has done now for more time than she lived in Wales. I can understand a little Welsh to get the gist, and speak enough to convince non-Welsh speakers that I can speak Welsh. It smacks of there being an agenda, or at least incompetence, that officialdom seems to think that Welsh doesn’t matter beyond the nominal border.

Question 17 should therefore remain on all versions of the census to get an accurate indication of how many people in the country actually do speak the other official language of the place. It seems that so many foreign languages are catered for in the rest of the country, yet Welsh is ignored. My Grandmother had English as a second language though she used it an awful lot. In later life when Dementia set in she regressed and stopped being able to understand English but could still communicate in Welsh. However at the hospitals in Bolton they had no means to provide an interpreter for Welsh though offered a dozen other language options for interpretation. There wasn’t even the means to print out any documents in Welsh despite offering them in all the languages that interpreters were being offered for.

Then there’s that old chestnut of religion (insert imaginary friend of choice in this box). In the last census Jedi proved a popular choice. But did the government of the day wise up to the significance? Most likely not.

I think that the “No Religion” box would have been more informative and more accurate if it had allowed the following choices:

*No Religion
*Jedi (version one) making a political statement against the inclusion of this question.
*Jedi (version two) too stupid to understand the question and just thinks it’s funny.

Personally I list my religion on official forms as “None of your business” and that has served me well up until now. I believe religion is a personal and private business and no-one has a right to force theirs upon anyone else. Why should an invisible friend get you different or special privileges? I thought we were all supposed to be equal these days?