Polygonic

That weren't no DJ, that was hazy cosmic jive

Need to know? Ask an octopus

Accidental Deliberations sums up perfectly the distended logic with which the Tories try to explain their decision to axe the census long form – hitherto the principal resource we have to really come to any factual grip about the nuanced state of the nation’s ever-changing demography.

Tony Clement trots out a well-worn pseudo-populist argument that “less government inquiry” into the lives of The People equates to greater liberty. Simple! It’s a privacy issue, after all. And greater privacy is good for liberty (unless that privacy is misused for things like being gay or smoking dope. But I digress).

This ultimate faith in the prenatural malevolence of public bodies is, of course, oh-so-Tory. But when positioned against its logical opposite, you get blind faith in the benevolence of private bodies. As it is with personal data. Never-you-mind that your credit rating, your shopping habits, and your seemingly private photographs of pub nights out are all happily entrusted to private companies over which people have zero democratic control. The real danger, apparently, is when public arms of government are entrusted with the information that helps design the public programmes we actually do depend on.

Conspiratorial paranoiacs seem to warm to the idea that axeing the census long form equates to chopping off another tentacled arm of the state. Well, o.k. But prepare, then, to depend upon another tentacled creature to magically divine where we ought to build our schools, highways, hospitals, and all those other socialist nuisances that oppress us so.

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