A mock election where the Scouts learn some basics about about the 5 UK parties covering left, centre-left, centre, centre-right and right wing policies.
Updated in 2017 to be more generic (less manifesto-specific) to work for any general election.
Print outs of the manifesto summaries
Print outs of the party signs
Print outs of the Voting Card (4 per page and cut down if possible)
Bluetak/Sellotape for signs
A table (or podium) for each party, with the sign attached and the manifesto on.
A table for the polling station sign-in
A voting box
A list of participants and their postcodes (if possible)
See attached document for a better formatted version of this, plus all the resources you need to print.
Have a table or podium for each party representative with their logo on front and their speech text available for them.
In another corner of the room, have the voting box ready (behind a screen if possible).
1. 10 Minutes: Introduce some of the vocabulary associated with elections and how the voting system works.
a. The country is split into 650 constituencies
b. Not every party stands in every constituency – so the party choices people get will vary.
c. Each constituency votes for their local MP, each elected MP gets a seat at Westminster where they can raise or discuss issues
d. Whichever party gets the most MPs elected becomes the government of the United Kingdom - they have the most power and their leader becomes the MP. If two different parties get lots of votes they can decide to work together and form a Coalition so that they have more seats than the otherwise winning party.
e. An MP does not have to be part of a party, they can stand as an independent – but they won’t have the benefits of teamwork the parties have.
f. There are three devolved governments: The Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly and the Northern Ireland Assembly. Each have a different set of devolved powers so they’re allowed to make their own laws on certain things instead of Westminster.
g. Every 4 years, the government organises another General Election. Under certain circumstances the current government can call an early election.
h. Each local area also has a council which makes some decisions and is elected differently.
2. 2 Minutes: Split the Scouts into "constituencies" (by their real postcodes if possible). Alternatively if you don't have many Scouts (<16 or so) have each Scout count as 1 constituency. You can tell them this either now, or later).
3. 10 Minute: Discussion:
a. Firstly, answer any questions about the process which anyone has. Avoid talking about party specifics.
b. Ask/Discuss what kind of things Scouts think the government deals with vs local councils.
i. Local Government: Planning Permissions, Parks, Markets, Public Transport
ii. Central Government: Alcohol Licensing, Immigration Laws, National Curriculum, Benefits
c. Ask the Scouts to share what kinds of questions they think they might want to ask the parties? What’s important to them. Examples:
i. Will you give my school more money for resources?
ii. Do you think that doctors should charge patients?
iii. Is it better for the government or a private company to run the trains?
iv. Would you rather build houses or parks?
4. 10 Minutes: Introductory speech from each party (read the generic overview below) No questions yet.
5. 5 Minutes: Question time (if you have a large group, you may want to have each candidate in a corner of the room and allow the Scouts free roam to go and ask their questions).
6. 3 Minutes: Allow the Scouts some time to think about or discuss amongst themselves which party they wish to vote for (explain that it's not usually considered polite to ask who someone else is voting for).
7. 10 Minutes: Voting Time! Setup a voting booth and a table with a list of everyone's name on it. Have the Scouts queue up and wait to be called. When they're called they're asked their name and postcode, are crossed off the list and given a voting slip and instructions of how to cast their vote. After voting, they should join the other "already voted" ideally in a separate room.
If possible, have a different polling booth for each "constituency", otherwise have a different coloured paper for each.
8. 10 Minutes: After everyone has voted, and while the votes are being counted, discuss some of the problems with First Past the Post and talk about Proportional Representation. Discuss which they think is better, more fair?
9. Announce the results of the votes to cheers and boos.