Next Sunday is International Day of Democracy, a day which is celebrated by the United Nations and around the world. What is democracy?
Around 150 years ago, the US President Abraham Lincoln called it “government of the people, by the people, for the people”. It means that if you live in a country, then you should have a say in how it is run. Today, almost half of the world’s population lives in some form of democracy.
That includes the UK, where people over 18 can vote in elections. The most important of these is called a general election.
In a general election, voters choose a Member of Parliament (MP) to represent their local area in the Houses of Parliament. This is the place where laws are made. You can write to your local MP to let them know how you feel about issues you care about.
MPs belong to political parties, such as Labour and Conservative. When a party has a majority in Parliament, it forms a government and the party’s leader becomes Prime Minister. If voters do not like the current government, they will be given a chance to vote for a new one after a few years. This means that governments have to listen to people in order to keep their power.
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Find out more about Millicent Fawcett, the first woman to have a statue outside the Houses of Parliament in London. For hundreds of years, only men were allowed to vote in the UK. Millicent Fawcett fought for women’s right to vote.
- Hold a vote in your class about whether you think your school should wear a uniform. First, give people a chance to make arguments for and against. Then, after everyone has had their say, take a vote by putting up your hands.
- Find out the name of your local MP. Write a letter to them about an issue that bothers you. Include some facts about the issue, why you think it is important, and what you want your MP to do about it.