Zupełnie nie mam czasu na nic poza pracą.
To znaczy czas może i mam, ale pracuję na za wysokich obrotach, żeby chciało mi się. Tym razem miało być ambitnie: pytania 21 do 98, ale wlecze się już od dwóch tygodni i będzie tylko do 40. Reszta niebawem. Miejmy nadzieję, że przed świętami.
21. How do elections for the House of Commons work? What do the Speaker and Whips do?
The elections for the House of Commons are democratic and are done in a system ‚first past the post’. In each constituency, the candidate who gets the most votes is elected.
The Speaker is a chairperson leading the debates and keeping order during political debates (and to make sure the rules are followed) in the House of Commons. He’s the chief officer of the House of Commons. The Speaker is politically neutral.
The Whips are a small group of MPs appointed by their party leaders. They are responsible for discipline in their party and make sure MPs attend the House of Commons to vote.
22. What is the role of the Prime Minister? Who advises them and what are the main roles in the Cabinet?
The Prime Minister is the leader of the political party in power. He or she appoints the members of the Cabinet and has control over many important public appointments. The Cabinet consists of about 20 senior MPs who are to become ministers in charge of departments. These include Chancellor of the Exchequer (responsible for the economy), the Home Secretary (law, order and immigration), the Foreign Secretary and ministers called Secretaries of State (for health, education and defence). The Lord Chancellor, who is also responsible for legal affairs, is a member of the Cabinet, but is sat in the House of Lords.
23. What is the Opposition and what is the role of the Leader of the Opposition?
The second largest party in the House of Commons is called the Opposition. Leader of the Opposition leads his or her party in pointing out the government’s failures and weaknesses.
24. What is the civil service and how do civil servants work with government?
Civil servants are politically neutral professionals who carry out government policy.
25. What are the powers of the devolved administrations? Which areas of policy remain under the control of the UK government?
The powers of the devolved administration cover many important public services (excluding policy and laws governing defence, foreign affairs, taxation and social security).
26. What is proportional representation and where is it used?
Proportional representation is used in the Welsh Assembly, Scottish Parliament and the NI to ensure each party gets a number of seats in proportion to the number of votes they received in the elections.
28. What services are provided by local authorities?
Local authorities are required to provide ‚mandatory services’ in their area. These include
- social services,
- passenger transport,
- the fire service,
- rubbish collection,
- environmental health
- and libraries.
29. How do judges apply the law? How are the police organised?
It is the task of the judges (‚the judiciary’) to interpret the law and the government is not allowed to interfere. When someone’s accused of serious crime, a jury will decided whether he or she is innocent or guilty, if guilty, the judge will decide on the penalty. For less important crimes, a magistrate will decide on guilt and on any penalty.
30. What are quangos and non-departmental public bodies?
Quangos are non-departmental public bodies. They carry out functions on behalf of the public, which it would be inappropriate to place under the political control of a Cabinet.
31. How is political debate reported? Are newspapers free to publish opinions or do they have to remain impartial?
Proceedings in Parliament are broadcast on digital television and published on official reports such as Hansard, which is also available in large libraries and on the internet. Most people get information about political issues and events from newspapers (often called the press), television and radio.
The UK has a free press, meaning that what is written in newspapers is free from government control, however newspaper owners and editors often hold strong political opinions, which they are entitled to.
32. Who has the right to vote and at what age? How and when do you register to vote?
Voting age of 18 was set in 1969 and all UK-born and naturalised citizens have full civic rights, including the right to vote and do jury service. In order to vote you must have your name on the electoral register. It is updated every September or October – a form is sent to every household and it has to be completed and returned. In NI all entitled to vote must complete their own registration form.
33. Who can stand for public office? How can you contact an elected member? How can you visit Parliament?
Most citizens of the United Kingdom, the Irish Republic or the Commonwealth aged 18 or over can stand for a public office. The exceptions include members of the armed forces, civil servants or people found guilty of certain criminal offences. Members of the House of Lords may not stand for elections to the House of Commons.
Local councilors must have a local connection with the area through work, being on the electoral register or land or property rental or ownership.
You can get contact details of an elected member through local library. Assembly members, MPs, MSPs and MEPs are also listed in the phone book. You can also contact MPs by letter or phone at their constituency office or their office in the House of Commons. Many Assembly Members, MSPs, Mps and MEPs hold regular ‚surgeries’ in person and are advertised in the local paper.
To visit the Parliament you can either write to your local MP to ask for tickets or queue on the day at the public entrance.
In the NI you need to contact the Education Service or contact an MLA (elected member).
In Scotland you can book tickets through visitor services at Holyrood.
In Wales you can book guided tours or seats in the public galleries by contacting the Assembly.
34. What are the roles and powers of the main institutions of Europe? How is European law organised?
The Council of the European Union (Council of Ministers) is effectively the governing body of the EU. The Council passes laws on the recommendation of the European Commission and the Parliament.
The European Parliament is the legislative body.
The European Commission is the civil service of the EU and drafts proposals for new EU policies and laws and administers its funding programmes.
EU law is legally binding in the UK and all the other member states. The law comes in the shape of directives, regulations or framework decisions.
35. What rights do citizens of European Union states have to travel and work?
Citizens of the EU member states have the right to travel and work in any EU country if they have a valid passport or ID card. This right can be sometimes restricted on the grounds of public health, order and security. The right to work can also be sometimes restricted for the newly joined members.
36. What is the Commonwealth? What is the United Nations and what is Britain’s role within it?
The Commonwealth is an association of countries most of which were once part of the British Empire.
The United Nations was set up after the WW2 and aims to prevent war and promote international peace and security. Britain is one of the five permanent members of the UN. There are 15 members on the UN Security Council in total.
37. How many people in the UK own their own home? What is a mortgage?
Two-thirds of people in the UK own their home.
Mortgage is a special loan from the bank or a building society to help pay for a purchase of property. This loan is paid back, with interest, over a long period of time, usually 25 years.
38. What do estate agents do? What do solicitors and surveyors do?
Estate agents usually represent a person selling their house or flat (except in Scotland). They arrange for buyers to visit homes that are for sale. When you find a home you wish to buy you usually make an offer to the seller through the estate agent.
When you make an offer on a property, the solicitor will carry out a number of legal checks on the property, the seller and the local area. Will also provide the legal arrangements necessary for you to buy the property.
Surveyors will be asked by the bank or building society giving you a mortgage to carry out a number of checks on the property. The buyer will also separately get a surveyor to check the property for them, as it’s unlikely the bank will share theirs…
39. How is the process of buying a house different in Scotland
In Scotland, a survey is carried out before an offer is made, to help people decide how much they want to bid for the property. The seller sets a price and buyers make offers over that amount. You make your offers though the seller’s appointed solicitor.
40. Which organisations can people rent houses from?
People can rent accommodation from the local authority (the council), from a housing association or from private property owners called landlords.