"The form has also been printed in 57 different languages — including Twi, which is spoken in south Ghana; Sinhala, from Sri Lanka; and Tagalog, which is spoken by Bill and Ben the Flowerpot Men."
This sentence annoys me on so many levels. I mean, if you're trying to get an accurate count of how many people there are in a country then surely it's sensisible to ensure everyone can understand the census form? Would Dickie prefer to know only how many English-speakers there are? Then there's the casual racism of the "Tagalog, which is spoken by Bill and Ben the Flowerpot Men". Actually, Dickie, it's spoken by a third of the population of the Philippines - roughly 30 million people. But hey, it sounds funny, right? Like Bongo-bongo land?
Still, he's just giving his audience what it wants. The real issue is that once again Dickie has shown he can't make it through a whole column without using a rhetorical device. By which I mean lying:
The outrageously intrusive 2011 Census weighs a ton and runs to 32 pages. It demands information about everything from skin colour to sexual preference.
Except, of course, it doesn't. The Government and the Office for National Statistics have been quite clear that the census will not contain any questions about sexual orientation. Last year the Lesbian & Gay Foundation ran a petition to try and have such a question included, to which the Government responded:
“The Draft Census (England and Wales) Order 2009, setting out the question topics to be asked in the 2011 Census, has been approved by both Houses of Parliament and is now law. It does not include a question on sexual identity."
On the Today programme earlier this week John Humphries interviewed the man in charge of the census and asked why the Government needed to know whether he was straight or gay, and was firmly and clearly told that the census does not ask such a question.
But since when has Littlejohn let a simple thing like the facts get in the way of a good moan?