Nick Tyrone Nick Tyrone

The census is the latest Brexit battleground

The end of the Brexit wars have left some Remainers feeling redundant. A few are now turning their attention to a new target: the census. The small group of voters who are reluctant to accept the result of the referendum are responding to the question asking ‘How would you describe your national identity?’, not with ‘British’, or ‘English’ but, with the answer, ‘European’. As a Remainer, this strikes me as somewhat embarrassing.

For a start, of course, ‘European’ is not a nationality. But that small point aside, how is this going to convince Brexit voters that their votes were a mistake?

The idea seems to be that if you state your nationality on the census form as ‘European’ as opposed to ‘British’ or ‘English’ or whatever else, this will send a message to the country about how widespread anti-Brexit sentiment really is. If you want a taste of this phenomenon yourself, put the words ‘European’ and ‘census’ into the search function on any of the major social media platforms and watch the naivety unfurl.

Screen_Shot_2021-03-16_at_12.49.29.png
A graphic urging people to describe themselves as ‘European’

For a start, of course, ‘European’ is not a nationality

While the campaign pushing pro-EU people to do this is visibly silly, there are bigger things at stake here. Besides the fact that it is warping census data, a minor sin all things considered, it is also counter-productive to what these people supposedly want to achieve. If they want the UK to re-join the EU, this isn’t the way to go about it.

This stunt appears to be loosely inspired by people answering ‘Jedi’ on census forms many years back when asked for their religion. But coming at a time when the pro-EU community should be wanting people to engage with the realities of Brexit seriously, it risks sidelining the real issues.

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