www.whyville.net Nov 14, 2004 Weekly Issue

Political Writer

Whyville Across the Atlantic

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When the Senate Race came up, I may have been the only person asking what a Senator does and what the whole deal about it was. If Whyville was English, you would probably be wondering the same as well!

Rule of the country

Firstly, England is run by our prime minister, NOT THE QUEEN. There are two main parties that the Prime Minister usually comes from: The Labour Party or the Conservative Party. There is also the Liberal Democrats, usually less powerful than Labour and the Conservatives. There are other, smaller parties, which mainly support single issues, but they also wish to get control of as many seats in Parliament as possible.


The prime minister doesn't do the job on his own. And even if the country is "ruled by Labour," that does not mean that all the seats in Parliament are held by people in the Labour Party.

In London, there is a big building called The Houses of Parliament (aka the Palace of Westminster), which contains both the House of Commons and the House of Lords. The House of Commons has more than 600 seats in it. They all stand for a small area of land called a constituency. The people in each constituency vote for a separate Member of Parliament (MP). The MPs then sit in the Commons and discuss all new laws, etc.

The House of Lords is made up of wealthy land owners, bishops and former members of the House of Commons. They also discuss laws and fine it up a bit. The law then has to be passed to the monarch, who then accepts or vetoes it. The British monarch has not rejected any law since 1708!!!

Voting and standing for

To vote you must be 18, and not residing at HM (Her Majesty's) pleasure (aka in jail).
To stand for an MP you must be 21.
Voting is done by secret ballot.

Hope you learned a little more about English politics.

Cobd (your English know-it-all)

Editor's Note: So, what's the difference between the U.S. Congress and England's Parliament?


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