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Paul Sparks, Online Business English Lesson Plans, Lesson Material and Ideas for Grade 1 English Conversation Lessons at Xiangtan Normal University...



Lesson 5 - The UK Political System and Elections


Lesson Objectives
This lesson will introduce the topic of the UK political system. By using a mix of debate and discussion we will look at the process of Elections. This lesson will get the students speaking to each other in English as well as provided knowledge of the political culture in the UK.


Lesson Activities
We will hold an election in the classroom. By dividing the class into groups they will discuss election procedures and differences between political parties.


In UK Politics there are General Elections about every 4 years, The elections are to decide which of the 3 main Political Parties will be allowed to form a government and run the country.

The three main political parties are:

  • Labour (Current Government)
  • Conservative
  • Liberal Democrat
For this lesson the class is divided up into 4 teams, one team for each of the three political parties, and a fourth team who will be the voters. The political parties have to decide on their policies (reasons that people should vote for them) in order to be voted into government. There are help sheets available with example policies (See below).

The voters can ask the parties any questions about their policies (such things as the environment, the economy, and education)

After preparation each party will argue the reasons that they are the best party, and try to persuade the voters to vote for them.

The winning team is the team who receives the most votes.


Labour's Manifesto
SocietyGuardian reporters - Wednesday May 16, 2001 

Health (NHS = National Health Service)
Build NHS services around the needs of the patient, introducing guaranteed maximum waiting times 
Employ 10,000 more doctors and 20,000 more nurses by 2005;
7,000 extra hospital beds, build 100 new hospitals
Public-private partnership to make home ownership more affordable for nurses and other staff;
Set up a university of the NHS to guarantee training and career development for all NHS staff
Ban all tobacco advertising and sponsorship.

Local and regional government
Give successful councils access to a 400m reward fund
Give more freedom to high performance 
Strengthen regional chambers as regional development agencies 
Hold referendums on English regional government for those regions that want it
Introduce a new tax credit to encourage 1bn of investment in disadvantaged areas. 

Give Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) the task of promoting business start-ups, strengthening links between businesses and universities
Provide 1bn in tax cuts over the next five years to increase capital investment in urban areas for new businesses and housing;
Reform the planning system to speed up decision making, promote the most efficient use of land and strike the right balance between the environment, safe communities and economic growth;
Create a new department of rural affairs to lead renewal in countryside;

Reduce substandard housing by a third by 2004, and bring all social housing up to a decent standard by 2010; 
Invest 1.8bn to be invested in social housing over next three years;

Charities and the voluntary sector
Build on financial incentives for volunteering by developing an effective infrastructure to support voluntary work in every community in Britain;
"Welcome the contribution" of churches and other faith-based organisations as partners of local and central government in community renewal;

Social services
Subject all children's homes to independent spot checks from 2002;
Increase educational attainment among children in care and guarantee a job, training or education for all children leaving care;
Make adoption easier and faster, ensuring 1,000 more children each year are adopted, and improving post-adoption support for parents;

Enable people with disabilities to play a full part in the community through an extension of basic rights and opportunities;
Tackle social exclusion through cutting rough sleeping; reducing teenage pregnancy, and truancy;
Introduce "crime fighting partnerships" in every neighbourhood to fight crime and drugs;


Liberal Democrats' Manifesto 
(Source:,8150,491296,00.html) reporters - Tuesday May 15, 2001 

Recruit 7,500 more nurses and midwives, 2,500 more doctors and 3,750 more physiotherapists than proposed in the NHS plan. 
Increase pay for the lowest paid NHS staff by an average of 1,000 each per year and set up a commission to examine terms and working conditions throughout the NHS.
Provide 3,000 more beds than under existing planned increases, and review private finance initiative hospital building process.
Guarantee booked dates for appointments with consultants and for surgery.
Restore free dental check-ups and free eye checks for all, and inject 500m into dental services over five years to guarantee access for everyone to an NHS dentist.
Pay for the personal element of long-term care for the elderly, in line with the recommendations of royal commission on long-term care.

Local and regional government
Replace council tax with local income tax.
Define minimum standard of service for local councils across the country.
Legislate for election on English regional government.
Empower devolved administrations by strengthening the Scottish parliament, giving the Welsh assembly the right to pass primary legislation and vary taxes, and offering the Northern Ireland assembly income and corporation tax varying powers.

Provide secure entry systems on inner city housing blocks.
Allow councils to specify the percentage of social housing on all new private developments.
Introduce tougher building regulations to ensure that more homes are built to lifetime standard and can be converted for wheelchair use.
Require public and private landlords to bring empty homes back into use. 
Examine the problem of housing for key public sector workers such as teachers and nurses. 

Social care
Boost investment in mental health services to improve the quality of, and access to, treatment.
Pay for all long-term care personal costs, in line with the recommendations of the royal commission on long-term care.
Develop minimum service standards on children in care, adoption, and HIV and Aids.

Charities and the voluntary sector
Honour the UK's commitment to meet the United Nations target of increasing overseas aid to 0.07% over the next 10 years.
End links between aid and trade by subjecting all aid programmes to thorough assessment for their environmental, social and human rights consequences.

Establish police hate crime investigation units to tackle racist, homophobic and other hate crimes.
Abolish the child support agency and replace it with a system of family courts.
Make the social fund more effective by shifting the balance from discretionary loans to grants.
Reform the asylum system so that applicants are dealt with fairly and quickly.
Extend freedom of information legislation to provide genuinely open administration at all levels of government.


Conservative (Tory) Manifesto 
SocietyGuardian staff - Thursday May 10, 2001 

Health and social care
Increase NHS funding - by matching Labour spending plans and encouraging more use of private health insurance by removing tax penaties. 
Give patients the right to choose the hospital in which treatment will take place.
Introduce limits on NHS waiting.
Allow alternative and complementary therapies on the NHS
Protect the savings and homes of people needing long term care.

Charities and the voluntary sector
Reform of charity taxation - specifically to address 500m lost each year in irrecoverable VAT burden.
Reform rules which govern applications for lottery funds to make them more accessible to small community groups.

Local government
Force local authorities to hold local referendums before large increases in council tax.
Introduce a "free schools" policy under which councils will take a back seat in front line education provision, handing more power to heads and parents.
Scrap all plans for elected regional assemblies.

Increase home ownership
Allow greater commercial freedom for housing associations and make more social housing managed by private companies.
Scrap regional and local house building targets. Councils will be allowed to declare extra areas of green belt.

Demolish tower blocks. The Tories want to tear down what they see as monuments to Labour-controlled authorities.

House asylum seekers in "secure reception centres" and create a "Removals Agency" to "quickly deport" bogus asylum seekers.
Ensure more rights for victims of crime. 


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