Saturday, 30th April, 2011.

Common Sense vs. Census

     These e-mails came from a friend who lives here in Wales and has a great sense of sarcastic humour:-

21st April, 2011.   Sent to a Chosen Few (including his AM and MP).

“Today, I received a letter from The Thought Police telling me I have not returned my Census Form.   I have attached my reply to it.   It is self-explanatory, I think.

I have tried to fill in a Form online but, without my Access Number (which was on the Form which I sent off), I cannot do that.   I rang the number given on the letter several times, and eventually found a way of being transferred to a human being (or as near to one as office-wallahs can be).   And then I hung on.   And hung on.   And hung on.   The music playing was not particularly melodic.

In the end, a pre-recorded voice told me that I might like to try later, giving me the times when the office was open (but did not mention whether or not the Easter Holidays would interfere with those times).

So I have requested another Form online – and have made sure that I have a printed copy of the confirmation of my request.

I am not alone here in dear old **** to have received this form of terror campaign:  others who sent their Forms in like good little citizens are in the same boat.

I look forward to your replies to this mail, though I realise that at this time of Election Fever in Wales, you may be busy people.   I will keep you posted on my progress and would be grateful for any help or advice you can offer.”

27th April, 2011.   To the same Chosen Few.

“Today, I received the second Census Form which I requested online on Thursday, 21st April.   I would have filled an online Form in on that day – but the office-wallahs wanted my “Personal Internet Access Code” which was printed on the Form which I had posted to them on 27th March!

Anyway, today, having the shiny new Census Form, I used my “Personal Internet Access Code” to fill in an online Form.   I took the precaution (for I am dealing with office-wallahs) of printing the Submission Confirmation page.   One can never be too trusting . . .

At the end of the online Form, by the way, there was an instruction telling me what I should do with my paper Form . . . J

However, there has been no response to the letter which I sent – “Signed For” – to the perpetrator of the original threatening letter (I sent you a copy of that, as you will recall).

I shall keep you posted on developments, if any.

29th April, 2011.  Same addressees.

“On Wednesday, 27th April, I told you of my filling in of an online Census Form on that very day, as my requested second Census Form had arrived and it displayed my “Personal Internet Access Code” which was on the one I’d already posted.

Within minutes of me sending you that mail, there was a knock on my door causing our dog to go spare.   Outside was the same man who came round a couple of weeks ago, complete with clipboard.

He began by apologizing to me.   Apparently, there are still stacks of Census Forms piled up “in the offices” which await perusal by the office-wallahs.   The system was that, when received, the nation’s Census Form envelopes would be scanned to record their arrival, then chucked onto the pile.

It may be, I was informed by this smiling man, that my original paper-form – which I assured him I really had posted – may have escaped detection by the scanner.

Further, he told me that lots of people in our area have been affected by the same confusion poured upon them by the office-wallahs (he did not use those words, of course).

When I told him of my online Form filling, he did not know what the situation would be with that.   I did not ask him if I would be threatened with a fine or imprisonment or deportation to the colonies (Isle of Wight?) for filling in two Census Forms.

I trust you will not mind me sending further updates should this ongoing saga (or should I call it “sago” in the light of the puddin’ heads who seem to be running this Census?) continue.”

And that, my friends, is all I shall say this week.


About Archie Lowe

Though not born in Wales, I have lived and worked here for many years now. I love the place and love that mercurial thing "Welshness". I have been accused of being "a Taffophile" - which is pretty near the truth. The question I ask whenever some idea comes up for the whole of the UK is: "What's in it for Wales". I believe in an independent Wales and am so pleased that our Assembly is a big step on that road.
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