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The English language has many dialects and accents. In Wales many people speak Welsh. Gaelic is spoken in some parts of Scotland, and in Northern Ireland some people speak Irish Gaelic.
British society is founded on fundamental values and principles, which are based on history and traditions and are protected by law, customs and expectations.
Pressure groups and lobby groups play an important part in the UK political process. Groups such as the Confederation of British Industry (CBI – which represents British business) and Greenpeace (which is concerned about environmental issues) lobby politicians to get their views across.
The present voting age is 18, and was set in 1969.
‘The Troubles’ is a term used to describe the conflict that has occurred in Ireland between those who wish the North and South of Ireland to unite and those who wish the North to remain British.
Football is the UK’s most popular sport. It has a long history in the UK, and the English Premier League attracts a huge international audience.
St David is the patron saint of Wales, and St David’s Day is celebrated on 1 March each year.
The Battles of Marston Moor and Naseby during the English Civil War were both won by the parliamentary armies.
During the reign of Henry VIII, Wales became formally united with England by the Act for the Government of Wales. The Welsh sent representatives to the House of Commons and the Welsh legal system was reformed.
MPs have a number of different responsibilities, including representing everyone in their constituency, and scrutinising and commenting on what the government is doing.
Most people in the UK live in towns and cities but much of Britain is still countryside.
When an MP dies or resigns, a by-election is held. This is an election held in that constituency to elect a new MP.
UK laws ensure people are not treated unfairly in any area of life or work because of their age, disability, sex, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sexuality or marital status.
Florence Nightingale (1820–1910) was famous for her work to improve the quality of nursing and hospital conditions. She is often considered the founder of modern nursing.
Volunteering is working for good causes without payment. There are many activities you can do as a volunteer, such as working with the homeless and helping improve the environment.
The Proms is an eight-week summer season of orchestral classical music. It has been organised by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) since 1927.
If your driving licence is from a country in the European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Norway, you can drive in the UK for as long as your licence is valid.
Magistrates and Justices of the Peace (JPs) are members of the local community. In England, Wales and Scotland they usually work unpaid and do not need legal qualifications. They receive training to do the job and are supported by a legal adviser. Magistrates decide the verdict in each case that comes before them and, if the person is found guilty, the sentence that they are given. In Northern Ireland, cases are heard by a District Judge or Deputy District Judge, who is legally qualified and paid.
When Queen Anne died in 1714, Parliament chose a German, George I, to be the next king, because he was Anne’s nearest Protestant relative.
William Shakespeare (1564 - 1616) was a famous playwright and sonnet writer.
Richard Arkwright (1732–92) developed more efficient textile factory production during the 18th century.
The Whigs and Tories were the two main political groups in the 18th century. The Tories is a term that is still used today in regard to the Conservative Party.
Charles II, whose father Charles I was executed at the end of the Civil War, was made king of Scotland by the Scots. He was forced into exile after being defeated by the English, but was restored to the throne of England in 1660 after the collapse of the republican Commonwealth.
At the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805 Admiral Nelson defeated a combined French and Spanish fleet. He was killed during the battle.
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