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  • Writer's pictureLuke

For Students: Politics Vocabulary

Updated: Mar 21

4 years after the United Kingdom held a referendum on to leave the EU or not, 4 years of hearing the word Brexit, 4 years of constant reporting on the subject filling up news pages and programmes, it has finally happened. 31st January 2020 was the final day for the UK as part of the EU after 46 years. 1st February marked the first day without the Union Jack outside the headquarters of the EU in Brussels.

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Four years is a long time, although it feels just like yesterday that I went to the polling station to cast my vote. I walked in, took a ballot paper, made my choice and put it in the box. In that time we’ve seen prime ministers stand down and new ones campaign and pledge to change things , and be elected. In other countries we have seen a comedian run for president and win the election by a landslide. We've seen rigged elections which have caused protests, riots and even looting. Countries passing laws which people were divided on and tension between certain countries who couldn't come to an agreement to suit both countries..

Politics can be a dangerous subject to talk about because everyone has their own views, so without going into some big text about politics – which is something I don’t really know about – I’d like to give you a list of useful words and phrases that you can use to talk, listen, and understand the dirty world of politics.

Do you know the name of the mayor of your town or city?

What areas of public spending do you think needs to be increased?

What threats are there in the world of politics right now?

Would you ever consider running for a role in

Are there any laws you would pass if you were in charge of your country?

Have you ever met a candidate during a campaign?

What kind of president / prime minister would you be? Have a read of the following situations and think about what you would do in each situation.

a) A fellow countryman committed a crime in another country, but fled - to run away after a crime - back to your country. The country wants him extradited - to be taken from one country to another to face the police of that country - back to the place where he committed the crime. You have good relations with this country, and helping them out will boost your relations. What do you do?

b) There is the opportunity to host the football World Cup – the biggest event in the world – but for you to do this, you have to make a 10% reduction to the health budget for the next 12 months. It will bring a lot of money from tourism and boost your country’s profile. What do you do?

c) You catch your Sports Minister embezzling - stealing money - money from the budget. He has been doing it for the last 12 months. He begs you not to do anything drastic - serious - and offers to pay back all the money right away. He is your wife’s sister’s boyfriend. What do you do?

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Referenduma vote that is put to the people on a situation

Politician – a person who works for the government

Local MPa member of parliament who represents your local area

Mayorthe person responsible for a city or town

Political Partya group of people who represent certain ideas and views

An electionWhen people of a country have a vote on which political party or person will be in charge of the country

A rigged election an election that is fixed for someone to win, even if that person doesn’t get enough votes

To show a blind eyeto ignore illegal activity even though you know it exists

A billa document that supports a new law

Lawa rule that is legal and illegal to break

Dividedwhen people’s opinions are in the middle of an idea or choice. 50 - 50

To back someoneto support someone. Also to support them financially on their campaign

Candidatea person who wants a job

Public spendinghow the government budgets for each area for things like health, public services, etc in a country

To run for… - when you want to be president or prime minister you run for this position

Regime - a group of people in power who run things that are seen as restricted and controlled. Almost always used negatively

Stand down / resign – when you no-longer want to have your position and leave by choice after telling everybody

Manifesto – The list of changes and things a party plan to do once they are in control

Threata possible danger to something

Pledge somethingto say something in public that you will do if you get into power

Landslidewhen someone wins by a big number. Much more than 2nd place

Polling station – the place where you go to vote

Ballot paper – the paper with your choices for a vote

Ballot box – the box where you put your paper in

Left-wing – someone who wants freedom, equality, progress, and internationalism

Right-wing – someone who wants authority, order, tradition, and nationalism

Opinion Pollsresults from surveys done by asking random people

Strikewhen people don’t work because of their disagreement with something

Protestwhen people go to the street in disagreement with something

Views your opinions

Riotwhen protesters fight with police

Lootingwhen protesters start smashing open shops and stealing things

Campaigna plan of promotion for the candidate or party to go around the country and speak to people in order to best sell their ideas and themselves

Turn outthe amount of people who took part in a vote

Majority – to have more than half

Coalition - When two or more parties work together to form a government.

Democracy - A system where power is held by the people through elections and votes

Dictatorship - when one person is in control and makes the decisions

Council - ‘government” of town, city, or area.

Tensiona difficult relationship which could lead to something very bad

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