People will be demonstrating in unprecedented numbers in London today, Saturday 26 March, to defend jobs and public services. The General register Office of Scotland (GROS) says the census is essential for planning public services. But public services won’t sprout from the database. The way to defend public services is to fight for them. We should begin our defence of public services by defending the census from the arms and intelligence industry.  Keep the Con-Dem axe-men, the arms dealers and the spooks away from our services – About the demonstration

The census is just one tool among many available to researchers. Even in ordinary circumstances, census data can’t be assumed to be reliable unless it is corroborated by other research methods. If the 2011 census is corrupted thanks to the the folly of GROS, researchers and data users will need to think more carefully about their methods. Everyone will benefit from this.

In the current economic climate, vulnerable people will only receive the services they need and deserve if they stand up for themselves and call upon the solidarity of others. Acquiescing in the impunity of a company involved in gross violations of the rights of desperately vulnerable people is no way to begin.

GROS’s handling of the census contract  has been shameful and needs to be investigated. Its unethical and irresponsible actions have created a situation in which people of conscience cannot participate in the census. Imaginative and determined efforts by others will certainly be able to ensure that our needs in Scotland can be met on the basis of information untainted by abuse. But the census has become the problem, not the solution.

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