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Thomas Hardy was an author and poet, whose novels include Far from the Madding Crowd and Jude the Obscure. Graham Greene wrote many novels including The Heart of the Matter, The Honorary Consul, Brighton Rock and Our Man in Havana.
The Prime Minister appoints about 20 senior MPs to become ministers in charge of departments. These ministers form a cabinet, a committee which usually meets weekly and makes important decisions about government policy.
The most famous competition in British cricket is the Ashes, which is a series of Test matches played between England and Australia.
Money raised from income tax pays for government services such as roads, education, police and the armed forces.
Ellie Simmonds won gold medals for swimming at the 2008 and 2012 Paralympic Games. Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson has won 16 Paralympic medals for athletics.
William Wilberforce played an important role in ending slavery, which was eventually abolished in the British Empire in 1833. The Quakers set up the first anti-slavery groups in the late 1700s.
In Scotland, Gaelic is spoken in some parts of the Highlands and Islands, and in Northern Ireland some people speak Irish Gaelic.
Brief Encounter was released in 1945 and was directed by David Lean. Four Weddings and a Funeral was released in 1994 and was directed by Mike Newell.
The money from TV licences is used to pay for the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). This is a British public service broadcaster providing television and radio programmes.
Pubs, or public houses, are an important part of the UK social culture.
The Grand National is a famous horse-racing event that takes place each year at Aintree near Liverpool.
There are responsibilities and freedoms which are shared by all those living in the UK. These include respecting and obeying the law, and treating others with fairness.
31 December, New Year’s Eve, is called Hogmanay in Scotland.
In the UK, dog owners are responsible for cleaning up after their dog in a public place.
Democracy is a system of government where the whole adult population gets a say. This might be by direct voting or by choosing representatives to make decisions on their behalf.
Police officers are supported by police community support officers (PCSOs). PCSOs usually patrol the streets, support police officers at crime scenes and major events, and work with the public.
The thistle is the national flower of Scotland.
The Foreign Secretary is responsible for managing relationships with foreign countries, and is a member of the cabinet.
It is against the law to smoke tobacco products in nearly every enclosed public place in the UK. There are signs displayed to tell you where you cannot smoke.
Baptists and Methodists are both Protestant Christian groups.
Many of the great thinkers of the Enlightenment were Scottish. Adam Smith developed ideas about economics. David Hume wrote about human nature.
People under 16 are not allowed to participate in the National Lottery.
Social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter are a popular way for people to stay in touch with friends.
In the UK Mothering Sunday is celebrated on the Sunday three weeks before Easter and Father’s Day on the third Sunday in June. Children send cards and give gifts on these days.
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