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Monday, October 14, 2002
National poetry day and the 2001 census

It was National Poetry Day, a few days ago. To celebrate the occasion, the BBC's 'Thought for the Day' slot was given over to a poetry recitation.

That's interesting. It means that the BBC, in its wisdom, has moved a little from its inflexible attitude to 'the god slot'. I am waiting for animism to be promulgated. I don't want any of that nasty, aggressive atheism, though. Give me nice, peaceful, mainstream, religions, instead any day.

This reminds me that, during the 2001 census, there was a foolish idea doing the rounds. If enough people declared themselves as believers in 'Jedi', it would be recognised as a bona fide religion and appear in the national statistics. I have seen no reports of the success of this project, so I assume it must have failed in some way.

One thing that has been reported in the statistics is the large number of uncounted people, deduced from the number of unreturned forms. Apparently, about one million blokes are 'missing'. I have a theory about this.

The census form asked for information about one's religion. A whole long list of beautiful, peace-loving, true religions was given in alphabetic order. The final entry was 'None'. Now, I suppose that some thoughtful person had decided that it would be inappropriate to use the classifications 'Agnostic' or 'Atheist' instead of 'None'. These 'A' words would have put these abominations above all the true religions, ensuring a better score for the damned godless.

Not only that, this would virtually have defined 'Agnosticism' and 'Atheism' as religions. In turn, these filthy, unwashed people would then have had a strong argument against the BBC's exclusion of atheist and agnostic speakers on 'Thought for the Day'. I know the way these subversives argue: 'If Atheism is categorised as a religion on the census form, it is recognised. Therefore Auntie must treat it as a recognised religion for 'Thought for the Day' purposes.'

Faced with such honourable, family-values, clever, skewing of the statistics by the census designers, the godless and Zoroastrians amongst us could only convey their annoyance by throwing their forms away. What else could they have done?

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