‘Count Me Out’ campaign launched

A blood-soaked contract: Lockheed secure £150 million to help run UK census

Last Friday, in the half-light of the early morning, a number of bleary-eyed activists converged from across London upon the Office of National Statistics (ONS) building, near Kings Cross. The occasion was the launch of ‘Count Me Out’, a campaign aiming to raise awareness about the arms trade’s involvement in running the UK census, and to promote action against it. A banner was unfurled, a large cheque produced, and a number of blood-soaked census forms were handed over from an obsequious looking government suit to a sharp-dressed arms dealer (actors both), compete with Blues Brothers shades, a bloody shirt, and -standard- an automatic rifle.

Needless to say, the statisticians inside the unassuming ONS building were busy caffeinating themselves and worrying about what further departures from the norm the day would bring. The photo stunt marked the modest beginnings of a campaign that will hopefully gain momentum and influence in the weeks before the March 27th census day.

Like the 2001 census, and the 2006 Canadian census before it, 2011’s decennial data collation is being run by Lockheed Martin, the world’s second largest arms manufacturer. Or, to be more accurate, if not ‘being run’ by Lockheed, then they are on the contractual payroll to the tune of £150 million. Naturally a number of people have been shocked and outraged at the information that a company best known for producing cluster munitions and Trident nuclear missiles is going to be involved in the anodyne business of “data capture and processing”. Still, it is not yet an issue that many people are aware of. The reaction most of us received while flyering at Saturday’s 6 Billion Ways conference was one of a picture-perfect disbelief.

This is something that needs to change in the next few weeks. Count Me Out is already posting up a load of resources and action ideas that different people are taking, ranging from the outright boycott, to completing an ‘alternative’ census, to an information overload email campaign to Lockheed.

To find out about Lockheed Martin, the census, and the Count Me Out campaign, you can go to the Count Me Out website, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr. Get involved and tell everyone you know to do so as well.

2 Responses to “‘Count Me Out’ campaign launched”
  1. Chris Browne says:

    True, not sure why. I’ve changed it now :)

  2. S says:

    The link to the website doesn’t work,,,

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