Politics UK

Politics UK

Instructions: 

Read the Politics UK text and then do the three exercises.

64

In the UK, only around 44% of 18- to 24-year-olds vote in General Elections. Are you interested in politics, or do you change the TV channel when politicians appear on the screen?

Leaders and parties

The Prime Minister is the head of government in Britain and the queen (or king) is the head of state. British people vote in elections for Members of Parliament (MPs) to represent them. There are lots of political parties in the UK but the big three are the Labour party (the main left-wing party), the Liberal Democrats (the main centre party) and the Conservatives (the main right-wing party).

Voting

The UK voting system operates on a majority vote system. The political party that wins the most votes wins the election. For a political party in the UK to form a government they need an overall majority. This means that the ruling party needs to have more Members of Parliament than all the other parties put together. If the winning party does not have an overall majority then there is a hung parliament.

Coalition government

What often happens in the case of a hung parliament is that one large party will join up with a smaller party to form a coalition. By doing this, they exclude the main opposition and still have power – although it is now shared between the two coalition parties.

Today’s government

In the 2015 General Election the Conservatives won with a slight overall majority. David Cameron is leader of the Conservatives and Prime Minister of Britain.

Young people and politics

All British citizens over 18 can vote in General Elections. Some people think that young people in Britain are apathetic and don't care about politics. About 37% of 18- to 24-year-olds voted in the 2005 General Election. This number rose to 44% in the 2010 General Election. The overall turnout is usually around 65% of the population.

This is what some young people said about British politics.

‘I can’t relate to any of the politicians. They all seem fairly similar and rarely listen to young people. If politicians really listened to the voters, I think more young people would vote.’ Fiona, 20, from London.

‘I didn’t vote in the last election but I do care about my country. Thousands of people protested on the streets against the government's plans to cut financial help with university fees earlier this year. Only rich people will be able to go to university if we have to pay thousands of pounds to study! I was at the protest and so were most of my friends at uni. I’ll vote in the next election if things don’t change.’ Sean, 19, from Leeds.

‘Politicians need to start listening to us. We would get engaged in mainstream politics if we felt that our opinions were respected.’ William, 24, from Sheffield.

‘Of course I voted in the last election. Everyone should vote! Young people need to start voting in General Elections. If we don't vote, we won't change anything.’ Pippa, 23, from Fleet.

General Elections are held approximately every five years. Will more young people decide to vote in the next election? We'll have to wait until 2020 to find out.

You voted 2. Total votes: 935
Discussion

Are you interested in politics? Would you like to be a politician?

Comments

DoctorHiStreet's picture
311x
14x

I have a question, please. As for the second statement of "Check your understanding", I don't think it correct. In the second paragraph it says "If the winning party does not have an overall majority then there is a hung parliament.". I think it means there has been a winning party that does not have an overall majority. It also shows that a party withour an overall majority can also win the election, they just need a hung parliament. But the statement says"A political party needs an overall majority to win a General Election" How to explain this? Thank you!

up
3 users have voted.
Jonathan - Coordinator's picture
49346x
538x

Hi DoctorHiStreet! You're right, there was a mistake in the question. It's quite a complicated situation and we got confused. I've corrected it now so it reads: 'A political party needs an overall majority to form a government'. Thanks for letting us know :)
Jonathan (LearnEnglish Teens Team)

up
3 users have voted.
DoctorHiStreet's picture
311x
14x

One more thing, I’m a Chinese user. So why the website is too slow to open these day? It used to be very convenient. What happened? But I don’t think the nationality can make any difference. I am looking forward to your explaination. Thank you

up
4 users have voted.
Jonathan - Coordinator's picture
49346x
538x

I'm not sure why it's going slowly for you, I'm afraid. It is working at normal speed for me.

Let me ask our other users: is the website going slower than usual? Please let us know. Thanks :)

Jonathan (LearnEnglish Teens Team)

up
2 users have voted.
JoEditor's picture
49448x
521x

Hi heyryy,
Yes, you can use the quotes in your project. They are based on opinions of real people that our writer spoke to but we did change the names, so they are not 100% authentic. If they are still useful to you, you can use them, but please say that you took them from our website and add the link.
Best wishes, Jo (LearnEnglish Teens Team) 

up
55 users have voted.
Ganesdita's picture
3328x
50x

politic isn't interesting things for me. I only saw many politicians in my country was corrupted. sometimes I thought that my country had the weirdest government in the world. but now I'm sure that my country isn't the one of the corrupting country

up
88 users have voted.
thelpsbeagle's picture
199x
2x

Most of the people abroad seem to hate my country and its people because of our politics. But if I was a president, I'd change everything, and I'd fight against the stupid stereotypes about my country!

up
107 users have voted.
ChristinaMne's picture
889x
9x

I like politics! Sometimes that is my favourite topic to talk about! I would like to be a politician, beacuse I think I could do a lot for my country :)
When I was 6 I used to listen to politician every single day! And I liked it! :)) So...I think it's cool :)

up
123 users have voted.
usama's picture
1657x
24x

hi every one
really i do not like to become a polition because most of people when they get the any seat they start cheating and do not listen to those people that who make him to win. Before election they promise with people but after wining their seat they forgot people and making money for them self . I like just few leader who just does have wish to bring change for their people . but this is very rare case seen in some countries other in most countries mostly polition are crrup.

up
127 users have voted.
saba's picture
8392x
120x

u wont be free to do anything u want if u become a politican no more fun!!! and u turn to a serious and boring freak!!!!

up
127 users have voted.
yougataga's picture
365x
6x

yes i'm interested in politics and i would like to be a politician because i see in my country that politician are more respected and they have there place and they are much paid so why not me

up
115 users have voted.
Toma English's picture
13636x
133x

I'm not very interested in politics ,, but after the Egyptian revolution Everybody talks in politics because they don't want to have a bad regulation like the one we had before along the 60 last years , I'm not looking forward to be a politician but I have to know many information about politics to be able to deal with political conversations ,, :)

up
134 users have voted.
Ahtram's picture
1955x
24x

No, but I really want to be a lawyer...
I quite like politics, I like reading about politics in particular countries. I'm glad about politics in Poland, we are in European Union. Now I can't vote because I'm only 13, but I'll definitely vote when I'll be 18 years old. It is a hard work, being a politician - everybody knows everything about you, they are talking about you... Brrrrr! Being a politician is the last thing that I want to do!

up
125 users have voted.
Natalija's picture
64088x
804x

Hello, Ninakishineva:)
I think you're not completely right about politicians. Yes, there're some who take money from people and who tell lies, but not everyone. If we want to change something, if we want to make our country, this world. a better place, we have to believe in people, including the politicians. I know that politic situation doesn't look nice at all in some countries, including mine, but we shouldn't judge them, but do something to change it and to give our own contribution to the development of the country. We shouldn't be bitter and just observers, but participants too. I'd really like to do everything I can do change it, and if we all want the same, the improvement is very certain.
Greetings:)

up
119 users have voted.
Natalija's picture
64088x
804x

I have always been interested in politics. I dream of being the USA president some day;).
I'm going to study law at Oxford or Yale and I really appreciate the work of politicians. It has advantages, never set your expectations too low.

up
130 users have voted.

Pages