I DID not realise until reading a news item in the Daily Echo for October 30 how far towards thought policing this country has gone.

The item mentioned Bournemouth Borough Council’s “equalities and diversity officer” – its ‘political officer’ since ensuring (enforcing?) equality and diversity (two opposites?) comes in the form of various laws, regulations or just ‘nudging’ from on high, all decided by our political masters? Is he also the “transparency officer”?

This, to me, Stasi-like council officer is dissatisfied that anyone working for the council – when presented with a document that is expected to be completed with every box ticked, crossed or filled in – is currently within his or her rights to respond “prefer not to say” when interrogated about what most people consider to be personal and private aspects of their lives.

The Echo said Mr Samuel Johnson claims the lack of such disclosures made it difficult to maintain accurate records. But at the same time, he is reported as saying: employees could still refuse to answer certain questions.

How would that look when being considered for promotion, or redundancy?

One can guess what Mr Johnson wants to know. But to what end, when we are told there are no quotas for jobs? More invisible ‘nudging’? Silent pressure?

Cllr Bartlett said, “I’m not comfortable with this....” Imagine how it would be to someone desperately needing a job, and faced with this intrusive questionnaire on the first day of work with Bournemouth council. Terrified at doing anything wrong, what does any employee think with the “prefer not to say” box still tickable? Perhaps “mind your own business”. And Mr Johnson wants to remove this choice.

This intrusion into people’s private lives is widespread. When I go to my dentist I am supposed to record my racial background. To have a tooth filled on the NHS? Why not if I am left handed or right handed? Or how much sugar I put in my coffee? At least the latter would be relevant to my teeth.

Where is the nearest branch of Boxtickers Anonymous?

ERIC HAYMAN, Bradpole Road, Bournemouth