Dec 8 2020 - Posted by Yvonne

The story of our UK democracy in 7 short chapters

THE STORY OF OUR UK DEMOCRACY THAT EVERY CITIZEN SHOULD KNOW IN SEVEN CHAPTERS

Illustrated by Young Co-Creator Olivia Winter aged 17.  To commission Liv email oliviawinter14@gmail.com

FOREWORD Written by too many citizens to name.

Chapter 1 INTRODUCTIONThe hero of our story 

Chapter 2 ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES

Chapter 3 GOVERNMENT The three realms of Government that our Hero must understand

Chapter 4 PARLIAMENT Our Hero must understand the difference between Parliament & Government

Chapter 5 VOTING AGES The rules of the game our hero must know #1

Chapter 6 VOTING SYSTEMS Rules of the Game our hero must know #2

Chapter 7 SHAPING DEMOCRACY & THE FUTURE Our Hero must now engage with all three realms, choose their elected representatives and participate in Democracy to shape the future

This ‘story’ contains the basics which we think every citizen needs to know. The information is in a story format because research shows that using story is the best way to engage and share information.

All The Democracy Box young co-creators use these seven chapters and creatively retell this story using social media, video, music, rap, podcasts etc

You can find examples of how they have retold this story to date by clicking any of these links

Scroll to the end for a Glossary with the meanings of many of the words used here and a historical timeline

FOREWORD

Written by too many citizens to name.

Who holds the power? What power do I have? Why vote at all? Why get involved? Why does it matter? What’s Democracy got to do with me? Who cares? How will it help? What will it do? Who do I trust? What is a vote anyway? Why wasn’t I taught all this in school? Who represents me and why, how and where? What is the difference between parliament and government?

Read on & Check out this rap Stand Up by young co-creator Saskia Pay 

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Chapter 1 INTRODUCTION

The hero of our story 

Watch the DISCOVER DEMOCRACY film trailer is on YouTube by young co-creators Thandi & Katherine

The Hero of our story is you. YOU are at the heart of this story. You the reader. The viewer. The listener. YOU the citizen. YOU the Voter! Without you our collective story of democracy doesn’t really properly exist. Because the people rule and that means you rule!

You vote for people to represent you. However democracy is about more than simply voting and elections. It is about having your say every day and not just on election days.

Democracy is about having your say and getting involved all year round. Whether that’s through exercising your freedom of speech, volunteering, starting or signing a petition, protesting, campaigning, joining a youth parliament, lobbying, contacting your elected representative or finding ways large and small to take part in Civic and Civil Society.

Democracy is collaboration & negotiation. It is being able to think critically, debate and reach a consensus.

Democracy is a society which is considered as a community of citizens linked by common interests and collective activity.

Democracy affects your life every single day. From how and when your rubbish is collected and your streets are repaired to how your school and hospital is run to how you collaborate with others in your community for the benefit of your community.

Democracy isn’t just about voting.

Democracy needs you and is you every single day of the year not simply on election days.

Democracy is you understanding how things operate so you can have your say all year round and not just on election days.

Democracy is about the responsible use of power by and for the people… Those who currently feel powerless & excluded should be able to learn how to have an effective say about issues that concern them, and do something about them. Society will be better as a result.” Titus Alexander – Practical Politics

Don’t be powerless & excluded.  Be the hero of the story by reading the story & sharing the story. Read all seven chapters & find out all you need to know to begin your heros journey.

Find out who your  representatives are who represent you in Councils and Parliaments/Legislatures across the UK and hold them to account.

You elect the people who you want to represent you in your council and your parliament to discuss things on your behalf. You elect representatives to make the laws on your behalf and to look carefully at everything that happens and at what is decided by governments.

And you elect the people who get to form those governments.

All those elected representatives are paid by you and work for you and they have to listen to you all year round not just at election time.

Voting is your right. Your privilege.

Taking part is our democracy is your right. Your privilege.

Your challenge, if you choose to accept it, is to read this story, share this story & own and exercise that right, that privilege & enable others to also.

 

 

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KEY FACT Democracy is about YOU. The basic feature of democracy is the capacity of all voters to participate freely and fully in the life of their society

 

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Chapter 2 ELECTED REPRESENTATIVESThe four kinds of elected representatives our hero must understand.

Democratic rights and freedoms without the skills and knowledge to use them are like owning a car without being able to drive” Titus Alexander

Click here to watch rapper and young co-creator BlankFace explain the different levels of government in his own unique way here on YouTube

You have more than one elected representative.

Everyone in the UK is represented by an MP and several Councillors and some also elect a Mayor.

If you live in a devolved nation (Wales, Scotland & Northern Ireland) you elect members of that devolved parliament/legislature too.

Find your elected representatives here at Write To Them & They Work for You

COUNCILLORS are elected by Ward/District to represent you at LOCAL GOVERNMENT LEVEL. You will have several Councillors who represent you at City, County, District or Borough Council Level which is often called your Local Authority. You may also have Councillors who represent you at Town, Community and Parish Councils too.

MAYORS  Most local authorities opt for the ‘leader and cabinet’ model where the council leader is selected from the councillors, but in some areas a ‘mayor and cabinet’ model has been adopted, where a directly elected mayor is established to replace the council leader. Many authorities with or without elected mayors have a ceremonial mayor who holds no executive power and the two roles of elected mayor/nominated council leader and ceremonial mayor exist concurrently.

MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT (MPs) Elected by Constituency. Elected to represent you at UK GOVERNMENT LEVEL (Westminster) Everyone in the UK is represented by an MP in the UK parliament in Westminster. There are 650 MPs representing 650 Constituencies

MEMBERS OF DEVOLVED GOVERNMENTS (MS, MSP, MLA) Elected by Constituency & Region. Elected to represent you in the DEVOLVED GOVERNMENT realm if you live in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland

WALES has 60 Members of the SeneddCymru/Welsh Parliament (MS) In Wales our hero has 1 Constituency MS & 4 Regional MS
SCOTLAND has 129 Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) In Scotland our hero has1 Constituency MSP & 7 Regional MSP
NORTHERN IRELAND has 90 Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) In Northern Ireland our hero has 5 Constituency MLA.

Check out The Electoral Commission for trusted & unbiased public information about your vote & all elections

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KEY FACT: You have more than one representative. Everyone in the UK is represented by an MP and several Councillors and some also elect a Mayor. If you live in a devolved nation (Wales, Scotland & Northern Ireland) you elect members of that devolved parliament/legislature too

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Chapter 3 GOVERNMENTThe three realms of Government that our Hero must understand.

One strength of democracy is that is shouts ‘remember thou art mortal’ in the face of politicians on a daily basis” – Willie Sullivan – The Missing Scotland

Realm 1. Local Government

Realm 2. Devolved Government

Realm 3. UK Government

THE THREE TYPES OF GOVERNMENT EXPLAINED

  1. Local Government (your Council/Local Authority) deals with all the LOCAL stuff – your bins, streets, local public buildings and open spaces like your local parks and your local schools. Some people in the UK will also have a Community, Town or Parish Council. Most local authorities (Councils) opt for the ‘leader and cabinet’ model where the council leader is selected from the councillors, but in some areas a ‘mayor and cabinet’ model has been adopted, where a directly elected mayor is established to replace the council leader. The Leader or Mayor chooses the Cabinet.
  2. Devolved Governments (Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland) look after most stuff e.g. Health, Education, Culture, Sport, Agriculture, Transport and Local Government. These are DEVOLVED powers and devolved governments have law making powers for these. The leader of the political party with the majority of seats in a devolved parliament becomes First Minister and forms a government and chooses the cabinet.
  3. UK Government The leader of the political party with the majority MPs in the UK parliament becomes Prime Minister and forms a government and chooses the cabinet. The UK Government looks after all the things for people in just England that are devolved in Wales, Scotland and NI and also look after foreign relations, defence, the constitution, immigration and many aspects of economic policy for the whole of the UK. These are RESERVED powers. (Sometimes called EXCEPTED powers in Northern Ireland). This means that only the UK parliament and government can make decisions on these matters.

 

Whichever party wins an election is then in Government and gets to form a Cabinet.

Whichever party (or parties) came second become the opposition.

If there is no clear winner there may be a Coalition Government.

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KEY FACT: DEVOLVED powers include Health, Education, Culture, Sport, Agriculture, Transport and Local Government and devolved governments have law making powers for these. The UK Government looks after all the things for people in just England that are devolved in Wales, Scotland and NI and also look after foreign relations, defence, the constitution, immigration and many aspects of economic policy for the whole of the UK. These are RESERVED powers. This means that only the UK parliament and government can make decisions on these matters.

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Chapter 4 THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN GOVERNMENT & PARLIAMENT Our Hero must understand the difference between a Parliament & a Government which are not the same thing.

Parliament & Government are two very different things.

Basically parliament holds the government to account and makes the laws

“..to deny people opportunities to learn how the system works and how to exercise power as citizens, is to deny democracy.” – Titus Alexander

PARLIAMENT  basically means DISCUSSION. A parliament is the group of people who are elected to make and change the laws of a country and check everything the Government does. A Parliament is a country’s legislative (law-making) body and is sometimes called a LEGISLATURE . Both words mean an institution that has the power to make or change laws

Which is very different to….

GOVERNMENT the group of people who are officially responsible for governing (running) the country or political part of the country.

A Government has 1 job – to run the country

A Parliament has 2 jobs:

  1. LEGISLATION Propose new laws & amend (change/make better) existing laws
  2. SCRUTINY Challenge & examine or inspect closely and thoroughly everything the Government/Cabinet is doing.

 

The UK Parliament

The UK Parliament makes laws for England and for the UK. The UK Parliament scrutinises the UK Government.

The UK Parliament (Westminster in London) is made up of 3 things.

  1. Monarch – Has the final seal of approval BUT it is really ceremonial and Queen Elizabeth II has never challenged a law. The Monarch did used to have ALL the power until 1642 when Charles I burst in & tried to arrest some MPs which lead to the monarchy being abolished for 11 years!
  2. The House of Commons – Ordinary people like you and me who have been elected by ordinary people i.e. you and me.
  3. The House of Lords – which is the second and non-elected

Decisions made in one House generally have to be approved in the other.

If the House of Commons propose a new law the House of Lords need to approve it before it gets approved and signed off by the Queen. It’s a two way chamber system.

Checks and balances. Making sure everything is fair, right and proper.

 

Devolved Parliaments

The Welsh/Scottish/Northern Irish Devolved Parliaments make and amend laws for their devolved nations.

The Devolved parliaments scrutinise the devolved Governments.

So the Welsh Parliament/SeneddCymru makes laws for Wales and challenge, examine  and closely inspect the Welsh government

Wales, Scotland & NI do not have a second chamber like the House of Lords.

All devolved parliaments have law making powers and can create laws about devolved areas without reference to Westminster.

It is therefore very important that people in the devolved nations vote in the General election AND the Welsh/Scottish/NI elections.

A QUICK BIT OF HISTORY

Until 1999, the UK Parliament was the source of all legislation across the whole of the UK (ie made all the laws). Since devolution, the Scottish Parliament, the Welsh Parliament and the Northern Ireland Assembly have taken on the task of passing laws for their respective nations and have developed distinctive new bodies of law in areas of devolved responsibility.

One of the laws that the Welsh Government has made is the Well-being of Future Generations Act (2015) which gives people in Wales the ambition, permission and legal obligation to improve our social, cultural, environmental and economic well-being. The Well-being of Future Generations Act requires public bodies in Wales to think about the long-term impact of their decisions, to work better with people, communities and each other and to prevent persistent problems such as poverty, health inequalities and climate change.

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KEY FACT: All devolved parliaments have law making powers and can create laws about devolved areas without reference to Westminster.

It is therefore very important that people in the devolved nations vote in the General election AND the Welsh/Scottish/NI elections.

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Chapter 5 VOTING AGESThe rules of the game our hero must know #1.

previously…politics was seen to belong to the citizen…now we are witnessing the transformation into ‘audience democracy‘” -Peter Mair – Ruling the Void

HOW OLD DO YOU HAVE TO BE TO PLAY?

Question: Is the Voting Age 16 or 18?

Answer: Depends where you live & what election you are voting in.

General UK Elections To Vote in General Elections (UK Parliament i.e voting for MPs) wherever you live you have to be 18

Local Elections You can vote in Local Council Elections in England & Northern Ireland (Council) at 18 & vote in Local Council Elections in Wales & Scotland at 16

Devolved Parliament Elections

Wales & Scotland Devolved Parliament Elections at 16

Northern Ireland Devolved Parliament Elections at 18

 

Register to Vote at 14 (if you live in Wales & Scotland) or 16 (if you live in England or 17 if you live in Northern Ireland)

To get involved in democracy by exercising your freedom of speech, volunteering, starting or signing a petition, protesting, campaigning, lobbying, contacting your elected representative, joining a youth parliament or finding ways large and small to take part in Civic and Civil Society = any age!

We’ve had one person one vote in the UK since 1948 & votes for everyone aged 18 and over since 1969 in UK elections.

NEWS!!! 16 year olds have can now vote in Wales and Scotland devolved parliament elections & Local Elections.

Your vote matters. It is your Right.

Click here to Register to Vote

Check out The Electoral Commission for trusted & unbiased public information about your vote & all elections

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KEY FACT: To get involved in democracy by exercising your freedom of speech, volunteering, starting or signing a petition, protesting, campaigning, lobbying, contacting your elected representative or finding ways large and small to take part in Civic and Civil Society = any age!

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Chapter 6 VOTING SYSTEMS Rules of the Game our hero must know #2

WHICH SYSTEM DOES OUR HERO’S VERSION OF THE GAME USE?

Voting systems, or electoral systems, are the method by which we elect representatives.  A voting system determines the rules on how we elect parties and candidates.

The House of Commons, Scottish Parliament, National Assembly for Wales, Northern Ireland Assembly and UK local authorities use different voting systems.

First-past-the-post (FPTP) is a type of electoral system where the candidate with the most votes in a constituency or area/districts wins.

Who uses First Past the Post (FPTP)? The House of Commons and local councils in England and Wales and the Northern Ireland Devolved Parliament use the first-past-the-post system.

Proportional Representation (PR) is a type of electoral system in which the distribution of seats corresponds closely with the proportion of the total votes cast for each party e.g. if a party gained 40% of the total votes, a perfectly proportional system would allow them to gain 40% of the seats in that Parliament or Council.

Who uses Proportional Representation (PR)? A mixture of First Past the Post and Proportional Representation is used to elect Members of the Welsh and Scottish Devolved Parliaments.

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KEY FACT: Voting systems, or electoral systems, are the method by which we elect representatives.  A voting system determines the rules on how we elect parties and candidates. There is more than one kind used in the UK and there is much debate about the pros and cons of each. 

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Chapter 7 SHAPING DEMOCRACY & THE FUTUREOur Hero must now engage with all three realms, choose their elected representatives and participate in Democracy to shape the future.

“Over the last 50 years the number of people voting in national elections has fallen from around 80% to 60% …With a lower turnout democracy becomes meaningless” Peter Macfadyen – Flatpack Democracy (nb in Welsh elections it is less than 50%)

THE REALMS & RULES ARE NOT FIXED. They never were. They have been created and shaped and changed by all the Hero’s past and present and must continue to shift and change to meet the needs of future generations.

Democracy is not fixed or set in stone. It is alive and evolving all the time because it is shaped and decided by the people for the people.

RULE OF LAW The key idea of the rule of law is that the law should apply equally to all rulers and ruled alike. This ensures a ‘government of law’’ and not a ‘government of men ‘.In this way, the rule of law establishes the relationship between government and the people.

THE MEDIA The UK has a strong, independent media history with many different newspaper titles, television and radio channels. The media’s role is to inform the public on important issues that affect them whether these issues are local, national or international.

Newspapers remain an important source of political information with thousands sold and read online every day.  

Bias – Different newspapers can choose to report the news in different ways. In their choice of stories, pictures and headlines, newspapers can take a one-sided approach to news reporting. Newspapers are often very clear as to which political party they support (often depending on who owns that newspaper) and urge their readers to vote for one political party of another in the run up to an election.

Fake News The internet & social media allows people almost unlimited access to information which means people are better informed than ever before.  As the internet allows almost anyone to post almost anything they choose, some of the information on the internet is not accurate.

TEN WAYS  Democracy is about having your say and getting involved all year round. Whether that’s through exercising your freedom of speech, volunteering, starting or signing a petition, protesting, campaigning, joining a youth parliament, lobbying, contacting your elected representative or finding ways large and small to take part in Civic and Civil Society. Here are ten ways in no particular order for each and every Hero to make sure their voice is heard & they can help shape and change their local area, region, nation, country for the better for themselves, their families, friends, neighbours, communities and for future generations.

  1. Have conversations with family & friends & share the Story of Our UK Democracy that every citizen should know. Explain all of the above to other hero’s.
  2. Volunteer & get involved in your local community Democracy starts outside your front door and in your local community all year round. Get to know your neighbours. Find out about and get involved involved in a voluntary body or society which aims to represent the needs of your local community and things which you care about. If one doesn’t already exist, start one! What do you want to change or get fixed or what’s already working well that you want to support?  Volunteer to help with a local community garden, or school (like helping listening to kids read or becoming a school governor or helping with the PTA) or find out about your local health board, parish, community and/or Town Council. Find out about Citizen’s Assemblies, Participatory Budgeting & local initiatives that will help you to raise your voice and be heard about what matters to your and your family and friends.
  3. Find out who your Councillors, Members of Devolved Parliament (if you live in Scotland, Wales or NI) and your MP is. Get in touch with them about what you care about locally, nationally and internationally. Contact your elected representatives by letter, email, and phone or in person. (They should all hold “surgeries” which just means a day when they hold face to face meetings with the people they represent. Some are drop ins and some are by appointment. Find them here at Write To Them & They Work for You
  4. Protest, Campaign & Organise. Join with others to amplify your voices and if you live in Wales use the Future Generations Act in Wales as a framework of best practice.
  5. Contact the media. From letters pages in your local & national papers, to contacting journalists in the press and recorded media (TV) to social media or simply writing a blog it is your democratic right to “hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers.” Remember at all times the simple rules of our Freedom of Speech – that is comes with duties & responsibilities to protect the freedom and rights of others as well as ourselves & to not incite violence or hatred.
  6. Start a petition and get it debated by a devolved (Welsh parliament) or UK Parliament
  7. Contribute towards a committee’s research. They have to listen to you! Watch out for public consultations too and make sure you have your say about anything which matters to you.
  8. Join a School Council in primary &/or secondary school and/or a Youth Parliament from age 11-18 & when you are 18 or over stand for public office. Yes you!!! Become a Councillor or even stand to be elected as a Member of a devolved parliament or the UK parliament
  9. Register to Vote
  10. Vote Check out The Electoral Commission for trusted & unbiased public information about your vote & all elections & also Where do I vote? Who can I vote for?

 

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GLOSSARY or put simply what do all those words mean?

Scroll further down for a historical timeline too! I know right. It’s all here!

DEMOCRACY – It is widely accepted that we get our understanding of Democracy from the ancient Greeks and  the word “democracy” comes from two Greek words that mean people (demos) and rule (kratos).

Democracy is the idea that the citizens of a country should take an active role in the government of their country and manage it directly or through elected representatives. In addition, it supports the idea that the people can replace their government through peaceful transfers of power rather than violent uprising or revolution. Thus, a key part of democracy is that the people have a voice.

DEMOCRACY  A system of government in which power is vested in the people, who rule either directly or through freely elected representatives. 

CITIZEN  that’s you! each and every one of us no matter our age, background or circumstances, each and every one of us is a citizen with democratic rights and freedom of speech & can take part in a Civil Society

CIVIL SOCIETY  Sometimes the term civil society is used in the more general sense of the elements such as freedom of speech, an independent judiciary, etc. that make up a democratic society.

It can also mean non-governmental organizations and institutions that manifest interests and will of citizens or individuals and organizations in a society which are independent of the government i.e. voluntary action taken by citizens.

A CIVIC SOCIETY In the UK, a civic society is a voluntary body or society which aims to represent the needs of a local community. A civic society may campaign for high standards of planning of new buildings or traffic schemes, conservation of historic buildings, and may present awards for good standards. They may organise litter collections or “best kept village” clean ups.

The term CIVIC SOCIETY can also refer to the local state where citizens participate in local health boards, schools, planning partnerships voluntary body or society which aims to represent the needs of a local community. and other such mechanisms which ultimately come under the direction of the state.

PARLIAMENT – basically means DISCUSSION and comes from the French word Parler (to speak). The most common meaning refers to a country’s legislative (law-making) body ie the group of people who are elected to make and change the laws of a country

LEGISLATUREan institution that has the power to make or change laws

Which is different to….

GOVERNMENT – the group of people who are officially responsible for governing (running) the country or political part of the country.

A Parliament has 2 jobs:

  1. LEGISLATION Propose new laws & amend (change/make better) existing laws
  2. SCRUTINY Challenge & examine or inspect closely and thoroughly everything the Government/Cabinet is doing.

Basically parliament holds the government to account and makes the laws

WARD/DISTRICT  Councillors represent electoral areas called Divisions, Wards, Districts or Unitary Authority Electoral Division (UTE). I know you couldn’t make this stuff up. This is why the hero’s challenge is so complex! It just means an area around where you live. Find your ward here

CONSTITUENCY MPs and Members of Devolved Parliaments represent people who live in an official geographic area called a Constituency which is a bigger local area than a ward/district. Find your constituency here.

FUN FACT #1Just to keep you on your toes Constituency boundaries change from time. They are based on how many people live in a certain area and because population changes to keep it fair the four Boundary Commissions review and change them occasionally and try to do this to match changes to wards/districts.

REGION –Wales is divided into 5 regions. Find your region here.

COUNCIL a body of people elected to manage the affairs of a city, county, or other municipal district

DEVOLUTION is about the transfer of power by a central government to local or regional administrations.

Devolution has been an evolving process that has responded to public demands and transformed the United Kingdom’s political and constitutional landscape. It has brought about a democratic shift by bringing decision-making closer to people across the UK. The people of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, as well as those represented by Metropolitan Mayors, can have an increasingly greater say in the policies that affect them.

COALITIONcoalition government is a government formed jointly by more than one political party. Parties may decide to form a coalition government if there is a Hung Parliament which simply means no one political party has won a working majority

FIRST PAST THE POST     In a general or local election, voters put a cross (X) next to their preferred candidate on a ballot paper. Ballot papers are counted. The candidate with the most votes wins and represents that constituency in Parliament or ward at the local Council.

PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION In Welsh/Scottish Parliament Elections all the votes cast for each political party in a Region are counted so that the % of votes cast for each party decides the number of regional members each party has in parliament to represent all those who voted in that region.

RULE OF LAW The key idea of the rule of law is that the law should apply equally to all rulers and ruled alike. This ensures a ‘government of law’’ and not a ‘government of men ‘.In this way, the rule of law establishes the relationship between government and the people.

No one is above the law. The law treats ALL citizens equally. All disputes must be solved by the law and human rights must be protected by the law.  Judges are meant to be strictly impartial and non-political

The rule of law is the principle that the law should rule in the sense that it applies to all conduct and behaviour and covers both private and public officials. Sub-principles are that no one is above the law, that there is equality for all before the law, that the law is always applied and that legal redress is available through the courts.

If Parliament passes legislation that is not clear, accessible and predictable; is not an

adequate protection of human rights and does not provide good and equal access to justice for all then the Supreme Court can amend it or overrule it.

Copyright Yvonne Murphy/Omidaze Productions December 9 2020

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The Democracy Box Challenge Question

How do we make the simplest and stickiest Public & Education Information campaigns to ensure all citizens understand the basics of our UK democracy  all year round?

First I have to know I am designing the right thing before working out how to design it right.

I have been seeking help from collaborators, stakeholders and young people in defining what that Level 1 content is (see illustration below). What is the most basic simple story/facts of our democracy that everyone should know? The ‘how’ we tell it across multiple media platforms will be the next stage from February 2021.

4 levels of Voter Information Illustration by Maria Elorza Saralegu

if you have any thoughts, questions, feedback on the above proposed content for the public & education multi-media information campaign prototypes please email Yvonne @ y.murphy1@ntlworld.com

 

TIMELINE

1215

Ah hello you must be King John. Excellent. So its 1215 and you have just signed the Magna Carta – Congratulations – (realise you lost the battle which meant you had to do it!) you have just ensured that no one – yep not even the King is above the law and an advisory council of 25 barons have got you to sign up to 63 rules about how the country and the law will operate. Thank you King John good to meet you.

1265

Well well Simon de Montfort – quite a character – good to meet you – and you have just rebelled against King Henry III isn’t that right and created the first ever parliament with invited representatives from the towns and shires. Well let’s hear a big thank you to Simon for creating the first parliament for us and going on to create the first model parliament with a House of Commons and a House of Lords.

1414

Ah yes I see a bit of time has passed now and finally the Monarch – Henry V to be exact does actually finally acknowledge that the approval of both Houses (Commons AND Lords) is necessary to make a new law. Well Henry still the system we have today so many thanks for that acknowledgement back in 1414.

1536

Leaping forward over 100 years and here we meet another Monarch – hello Henry VIII – looking very well – and you have just joined England and Wales I gather? Yes the Act of Union in 1536 isn’t that right Henry. You made sure England and Wales have to follow the same laws and is Wales now represented in Parliament? Marvellous. Oh and your palace , Westminster Palace had gone on fire a few years back hadn’t it? Did you move out? Yes? Give it to Parliament? Fair enough. They still use it you know. One of the most iconic buildings in the world. Thank you.

1605

Ah Guy Fawkes – hmmm – well now trying to blow up parliament is not good. Yes yes we understand Catholics were being persecuted but really blow up the House of Parliament???! You will be burnt on bonfires for 400 years for that!!!

1649

Now then King Charles I good to meet you. Gosh its all been going on with you hasn’t it. You burst into parliament 7 years ago trying to arrest some MPs and well no monarch has been allowed in since. And then you go and start the English Civil War. Good Grief man no wonder you lose your head. Tried in 1649 in the Great Hall at Westminster and Executed. You’d better sit down!

So 1649 the House of Commons abolishes the monarchy (kicks over/turn throne upside down) AND the House of Lords (remove sign)! And England is declared a Commonwealth. Then in 1653…

1653

Oliver Cromwell how are you? Made Lord Protector I understand? Great. What happens when you die. New Lord Protector democratically elected? No? Ah your son inherits the title. Ah right and then he is deposed and then we have political anarchy? Right. Maybe you should have thought about holding a general election!!

1660

Hang on the Monarchy is back. Yep here is Charles I’s son Charles well yes you guessed it Charles II and guess what he restores the House of Lords too

1668/9

So the king is back until hello Mr William of Orange from Holland. Just popped over from Holland to invade us and take the throne off James II yes? Right. And what’s that this leads to the Bill of Rights eh? Yes it most certainly does. So William what does the Bill of Rights do exactly? Doesn’t it constitutionally prevent the absolute rule of Kings and Queens and make Parliament the true seat of power which it remains until this day?

Thought so.

1707

Well in 1707 we had another Act of Union this time between England and Scotland and then in 1721…. Hello you must be Sir Robert Walpole…acknowledged as the 1st ever Prime Minister. Lovely to meet you So you are the longest EVER serving PM. How many years was it? 21? Amazing. And King George II gave you a house to live in I understand and here are the keys to number 10 Downing Street London. Congratulations Mr Walpole. (give him keys to 10 Downing St)

Now not many people could vote back in 1707. In fact you had to own a large property and have a lot of money but thank fully in

1832 & 1837 there were a couple of reform acts and by the second all male householders, not matter how much their house was worth, could vote. Well that’s good for all the men but it wasn’t until 1918 that

1918

Women finally got the vote (5 years after Emily Davison threw herself under the King’s horse to get women the vote in 1913) and all men could vote whether or not they owned a house.

1919

One year later the first ever female MP was elected – Nancy Astor

Only women over 30 who owned property could vote mind you until…

1928

All women aged over 21 get the vote

1948

We finally had one person one vote

1950

The European Coal and Steel Community was formed which was the beginning of the EU (European Union) and was formed to help keep peace in Europe after WWII

1964

The labour party creates the Welsh Office

1969

The voting age was lowered to 18.

1973

UK finally joined the EEC in

1979

First Welsh Referendum on independence. Majority vote against

1997

People of Wales hold another referendum the majority vote in favour (just) (50.3%/49.7%) of Wales being a devolved nation and creating a Welsh Assembly.

Until 1999, the UK Parliament was the source of all legislation across the whole of the UK (ie made all the laws).

1999

Devolution.  Since devolution, the Scottish Parliament, the Welsh Parliament and the Northern Ireland Assembly have taken on the task of passing laws for their respective nations and have developed distinctive new bodies of law in areas of devolved responsibility.

2006

The Senedd opens (Senedd is Welsh for parliament)

2011

Referendum on giving Welsh assembly law making powers without need to ask Westminster. There are 21 areas which are devolved and which the Welsh Assembly can create laws about without reference to Westminster so it is very important that people of Wales vote in the General election AND the Welsh elections

2015

Welsh Government passes the Well-being of Future Generations Act (2015) which gives people in Wales the ambition, permission and legal obligation to improve their social, cultural, environmental and economic well-being. The Well-being of Future Generations Act requires public bodies in Wales to think about the long-term impact of their decisions, to work better with people, communities and each other and to prevent persistent problems such as poverty, health inequalities and climate change.

2015

Scotland passes law to allow 16 year olds to vote in Scottish and Local Government elections

2016

UK voted to leave the EU

2020

Welsh Government passes law to allow 16 year olds to have the vote in Welsh elections.

Senedd’s name is changed to Senedd Cymru/Welsh Parliament.

UK left the EU