Having your say

Have two classes working separately. Decide as a class which law/rule making body to study. More learning if the two classes take different bodies. Divide each class into four groups. Three groups each decide on the name of their party and select a candidate (drawing lots, etc) to stand for election.

With the help of the group the candidate prepares a manifesto with one, perhaps two proposal (s) for change. The manifesto, just a single sheet of paper with a couple of paragraphs, should state the problem and the suggested solution.

The fourth group to be a lobby that will choose an issue appropriate to the law/rule-making body being studied, and give itself a name. Members of the group to go to each political party and try to persuade to include its issue in the manifesto or get the party to reflect it in some way in its platform.

The candidate presents to the second class his/her proposal in two minutes. Then vote.

Have ballot box and voting slips and use a corner of the classroom for the ‘booth’.

Classroom discussion

When the vote is taken, stress how important it is to vote. If you don’t vote you can’t complain. Some countries such as Australia make it mandatory to vote. Should we do that? The level of voting, which is voluntary in this country, is around 40% for District/County elections, and under 40% for the European Parliament.

How can we get more to vote? Do it on-line? change the day to Sunday?

Compile an MEP’s typical typical calendar for a week. Use a blank spreadsheet with days, divided into either just half days or into hours. Have a stack of appointments including lunches to choose from and pupils slot them into the calendar. Then when complete compare with an actual daily diary kept by one our MEPs, Sharon Bowles, a few years ago. Other examples of MEP work can be found at: Richard Ashworth, Peter Skinner  and Keith Taylor.