National Government I will: • Discuss the benefits of living in a democratic society and the importance of voting. • Know how a government is elected and run. • Understand how Parliament functions.
Can you match the name, the face and the political party? Ming Campbell Tony Blair David Cameron
Democracy • A democratic system of government is where the people choose representatives (MPs) to run the country. • In the UK we live in a democratic society. We elect governments every 5 years or so. • If we do not like the decision that a government is making then we get the chance to kick them out at the next General Election. This helps keep the Government’s power in check. • Democracy is about more than voting – in a democratic society, people can speak out, or protest if they want something changed.
Who can vote: People who are 18 or over. Citizens of the UK, the Commonwealth, or a European Union member state. People who’s name is on the electoral register. Who can’t vote: Anyone under 18. Members of the House of Lords. Church of England bishops and archbishops. Prisoners serving a sentence for a criminal conviction. Those with learning disabilities or a mental illness that the authorities believe prevents them from making a reasoned judgement on the day of the election. Voting Why is voting important?
Voting at 16? In 1969 the voting age in Britain was lowered from 21 to 18. It is now being suggested that it should be further reduced to 16. Here are some views about this. Sort them in to for or against. The opinions of teenagers may be too easily influenced by others. If 16 year olds can smoke, work and get married then why should they not be able to vote? Teenagers don’t have the maturity to use the vote sensibly. The numbers of young people who have taken part in demonstrations shows that many young people are interested in politics. 16 year olds have as much right tohave their say and be listened to as anyone. Young people do not show enough interest in politics and so should not be allowed to vote. 16 year olds have to live in the country so why should they not be able to have their say in how it is run. Against voting at 16 For voting at 16
How are MPs Elected? • In the General Election the UK is divided up into constituencies. • The voters in each constituency elect one person to become their Member of Parliament (MP). • MPs represent the people of the constituency in Parliament. They represent all of the people not just the ones that voted for them. • On election day the voters go to a polling station. They are given a ballot paper with the names of the candidates written on it. They take the paper to a polling booth and they put an ‘x’ next to the candidate they are voting for and put their ballot paper in a box. • People can now vote by post. • After the voting has been closed the ballot papers are counted. The candidate with the most votes becomes the MP. • People have to be 0ver 21 in order to stand as a candidate in a general election.
Political Parties • Most MPs belong to political parties. • Political parties are organisations of (usually) like minded people. They have a set of views about how the country should be run. Political parties have a leader and members. • The political party with the most MPs forms the government. The leader of the political party becomes the Prime Minister. • There are three main political parties in Britain: • Labour • Conservatives • Liberal Democrats • The political party with the second largest number of MPs forms the official Opposition. • The job of the opposition is to criticise and challenge the government to ensure it does a good job, is not corrupt and does not do things that harm the citizens.
The House of Commons: In the House of Commons MPs. Make laws Examine the work of the Government by asking questions and having debates. Keep a check on government spending. Represent their constituencies and the interests of their people. The House of Lords: The job of the House of Lords is to: Check on the House of Commons and make sure laws are not rushed. Criticise the government if it thinks that it has become to powerful. Hold debates on important issues. Parliament The Houses of Parliament (in Westminster. London) are made up of
The Duties of the Government • To protect citizens and keep them safe. • To look after the welfare of citizens. • To watch over the employment of citizens. • To look after the environment. • To run the economy.
The Prime Minister • Leads government and directs government policy. • Chooses Cabinet Ministers and chairs the Cabinet. • Is the head of the armed forces. • Appoints senior judges and archbishops in the Church of England. • Represents the nation in international affairs.
The Cabinet • The PM chooses a group of MPs to help run the country. This group is called the Cabinet. • The Cabinet are the most important MPs. They get put in charge of the big departments such as: • The Foreign Office (relations with other countries). • The Home Office (law and order, police and courts) • Health (hospitals, doctors and nurses) • Members of the Cabinet become ‘The Minister for _______’ • The Cabinet works with the PM to decide the governments major policies.
My Cabinet • Create your own cabinet. • Your cabinet ministers should be celebrities. • Use your imagination to create the departments that your celebrities will be minister of.