Salty Sam’s Fun Blog for Children

Number 298



Hello Everyone



Do you ever see people on the television arguing about politics and you don’t know what they are talking about?


You might even think that it is all very boring.


A lot of things are boring if you don’t understand them.


A lot of adults must find politics boring too because they don’t even bother to vote.


When you are older and are able to vote, you will have an opinion about who you want to vote for.



Here is my Salty Sam quick starters’ guide to politics to help you out…



Politics means the way a country organizes governing itself.


When people ‘talk politics’ they are putting forward ideas about how society could be improved or problems could be solved.


Then there is party politics.


We were ruled by a monarch before the kind of parliament that we have now was introduced.  l am sure that you have learnt about them in your history lessons at school.


A king like Henry Vlll (1491 – 1547) or a queen like Elizabeth l (1533 – 1603) made all the decisions for their country with the support of people they chose to keep around them.


King John before them was the last ‘absolute monarch’. 


He signed the Magna Carta in 1215 which took away his power to force taxes on the people just when he felt like it.  After that, the Great Council (the forerunner of Parliament) had to agree to any taxes being instigated.


From then, Parliament’s power grew because the monarch always needed it to help raise money from taxation – although the monarch could ignore it or dissolve it if it annoyed him.


But then Charles l annoyed Parliament so much it resulted in the Civil War and the decapitation of Charles l.  That means they cut his head off.  (Although they did sew it back on again before they buried him.)


The King’s supporters lost the Civil War and England became a republic for a few years.


When Charles ll, who was the son of Charles l, came back from exile in Europe and was restored to the throne, the powers of the monarch were never to be the same again. This time was called The Resoration. lt began in 1660.


The monarch is now a constitutional monarch.  They are the head of state.  They are allowed to support and advise the Prime Minister; but they do not officially govern and make laws. 


The Prime Minister is not like a president.  He or she is called ‘the first among equals’.  That means they are the same as other Members of Parliament in one way but have a special job to do with special responsibilities as well.


‘Meritocracy’ is a word we use to describe the idea that people can rise in society because of their abilities and talents rather than the fact they happened to be born into a privileged family – like a king. 


They can even become part of a governing body making decisions about what happens in the rest of society if they stand for office in local or national politics and get enough votes to put them into a local council or national government.


Modern political parties have different ideas about how people should be helped in order to give them the best lives possible.


A political party is a group of people who hold onto roughly the same philosophy – or range of ideas – about how a country should be governed.


The two main political parties in this country are the Conservative and Unionist Party, which comes from a political group formed in 1678 and the Labour Party which was founded in 1900.


The colour of the Conservatives is blue.  The colour of the Labour Party is red.


Research has shown that, generally speaking, Labour voters tend to be younger and Conservative voters tend to be older – so people often change their political views as they grow older.


The Conservatives are a moderate, right-wing party who believe in less state intervention and more freedom of the individual to take control of their life.  They talk about ‘encouraging an individual’s aspirations’. They are called the Conservatives or Tories for short.


The Labour Party believes in the left-wing politics that wants more state intervention – that means it should help people more.  Another word for left-wing politics is socialism.  Socialists talk about the redistribution of wealth.  That means that they say that they want to take money from people who are richer and give it to people who are poorer.


Whatever a government decides to do, they have to find the money from somewhere to fund their plans. 


People and businesses pay tax to the government and the government has to decide how best to spend this money.  There are a lot of things you can spend money on. This is where a lot of the arguing comes from!


There is also the Liberal Democrats Party which was one of the two major political parties before the Labour Party grew support through the 20th century.  Their colour is yellow.  They were founded in 1678 and in those days they were called the Whig Party. 


The Green Party talks a lot about living an environmentally-friendly life in any way possible.  Their colour is green.


There are many other political parties as well, like the Monster Raving Loony Party, for example.


The Scottish Nationalist Party has a lot of support in Scotland for example.


Plaid Cymru is the National party of Wales.


There are other parties that only represent Northern lreland.


UKlP and the Brexit Party were formed by people who wanted to remove the country from the European Union.


A person can also stand for Parliament as ‘an independent’ MP as well.  That of course means that they do not belong to any political party.  They have their own ideas they want to take into Parliament.


Politics on the extreme right is called Fascism.  This usually ends up being a dictatorship.  That means one person is in charge of the country with their supporters helping them. 


You don’t get any elections when a dictator is in charge.


Politics on the extreme left is called Communism.


Communism is supposed to mean that the people are ruled by the people and everyone is equal.  But the reality is that there is still a governing body which is separate from the people that they rule.



When there is an election, almost everyone who is over the age of 18 can vote for a local representative for the area that they live in.  The person who gets the most votes will go into the House of Commons in London.


Some people always vote the same way in every election but some people don’t.  


These people are called floating voters or swing voters, and in a way, it is they who will choose who the government will be.  


There is a big campaign to persuade people which way to vote before an election. Each party or independent candidate will publish a list of things they intend to do if they are elected into power.  This list is called a manifesto.


The people who want to be elected into parliament get involved in this campaign.


lf you are over 18 and you want to vote, you have to register yourself to vote.  That means that you have officially asked for a vote.  


There are other parliaments in Britain besides the one in Westminster.


Members of the House of Lords cannot vote in general elections because they are already representatives in the House of Lords and not the House of Commons.


Homeless people can vote.


People in prison cannot vote. 


People who have been taken to a psychiatric hospital because they became unwell cannot vote.


The Queen and the Royal Family can vote but choose not to.


The people a Member of Parliament represents are called constituents.


Each Member of Parliament that you can vote for represents a geographical area. 


This area is called a constituency.


These areas are smaller in cities than in the countryside because the distribution of people is much denser in the cities.  This works out that each Member of Parliament will represent roughly the same number of people.


Occasionally, the constituency boundaries are redrawn – or moved, when the number of people in an area changes radically (a lot) so that the number of constituents can be balanced out more.


ln Britain, we have a ‘first past the post’ system in each constituency.  lt is a bit like a horse race.  The person with the most votes in their constituency wins the seat. 


lt can be by as little as just a handful of votes or by thousands of votes.


ln other countries there are systems that are different from this.  


Elections are held on a Thursday in Britain but can be held on other days of the week in other countries, like Sunday so that most people are not at work.  


British elections are usually held in early summer like in the month of May or June.  The weather is usually not too bad and most people have not gone off on holiday yet.  


Last year, an election was called just before Christmas. This was the first winter election since 1923.


A government cannot be in power for more than five years.


ln Britain, voters write on pieces of paper.  They put an X next to the name of someone they want to vote for.  There are posters on the wall where people vote telling you how many people you are allowed to vote for – in general elections it will be only one person.  (There can be local elections as well.)


The voters put the paper (or papers if more than one election is held on a day) in a sealed box; the boxes used to be metal and sealed with sealing wax like old-fashioned letters at the end of the day but now the boxes are already locked up with a padlock before voters post their votes inside them. The papers are taken to central halls where volunteers spend most of the night counting them.  


This old-fashioned way of doing things, involving a lot of people, is thought to stop votes being interfered with.


You can apply for a postal vote if you are going to be away on holiday or on business. Someone can vote on your behalf if you have nominated a proxy.


Lots of different kinds of buildings are used to vote in. They are turned into what are called polling stations. Village halls and pubs can be used; even private houses in remote areas. Often schools are used and the children have an extra day of holiday!


Volunteers man the polling stations and hand out voting slips. They mark people off on a list when they have voted.  There used to be small, wobbly, wooden booths put up for the day to give people privacy when they voted. Now the booths are stout plastic ones. An official from the local authority is put in charge of each polling station and has to oversee the transporting of the sealed box to the place the votes will be counted.


Some people watch television all night to see the results announced!


ln other countries like Brazil, people queue up in supermarkets to cast their vote on computers.


lf you are unhappy about anything that your Member of Parliament may be able to help you with, you are allowed to go and see them.


They have an office in the constituency called a ‘surgery’.


A lot of people moan and groan about a lot of things, but if you take the trouble to make representations to the people who govern us, you can sometimes get things to change. You can also send an e-mail to them if you want to with your views.


lt is always worth a try!



Bye bye everyone – don’t forget to subscribe to my blog!


Love and kisses



Salty Sam





Bill and Bob’s Joke of the Weekjokejoke


Bob:  Do you know what Roger told me?


Bill:  No?


Bob:  He said that his cousin is so silly that he thought a cartoon was something you sang in the car.


Bill:  Tee hee hee



Salty Sam © Christina Sinclair 2015

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of material from this blog without express and written permission from this blog’s author and owner is strictly prohibited.

Links may be used to



Picture Gallery






This week Miss Pringle had to explain yet again to the children in her class what the difference was between a simile and a metaphor.

The children said that they were always getting confused.

Miss Pringle said that it was quite easy really.

The children could just think of it like this.

A simile was like something and a metaphor was something.

Similes are mostly already made up for you to use. 

A metaphor was usually invented by a writer from their own imagination.  For example – ‘the castle on the hill was a looming monster in the fog’.


Can you complete these similes?


  1. As calm as a
  2. As clear as a
  3. As cool as a
  4. As fit as a
  5. As flat as a
  6. As free as a
  7. As straight as an
  8. As happy as a
  9. As keen as
  10. As neat as a
  11. As nutty as a
  12. As quiet as a
  13. As slippery as an
  14. As tight as a
  15. As tricky as a  



As white as a swan



And just one more message

on the News Desk this week…










Quick Quiz


What do these idioms mean?


  1. Like talking to a brick wall
  2. Actions speak louder than words
  3. Talking at cross purposes
  4. To speak your mind
  5. Talking nineteen to the dozen




lt’s the Weekend!




This garland is made in pink and white yarn to be strung on a Christmas tree that has a colour scheme of white and pink but of course you could make these boots in traditional colours of green, red and white if you prefer.

Cut a piece of yarn or thin cord as long as you would like your garland to be.  You could measure around your Christmas tree to see how long you will need it to be.  Otherwise you could string it across a wall and clip any Christmas cards you receive between the boots.

Make as many boots as you want to loop onto your cord.



Leave long ends when you cast on and tie on for sewing up later.




Using 4mm knitting needles and pink dk yarn cast on 7 stitches

Knit 1 row

Increase 1 stitch at the beginning of the next row and then purl to the end

Increase 1 stitch at the beginning of the next row and then knit to the end (9 sts)

Purl 1 row

Decrease 1 stitch and then knit to the end

Purl 1 row

Decrease 1 stitch and then knit to the end (7 sts)


Purl 1 row

Knit 1 row

Purl 1 row

Knit 1 row

Purl 1 row


Change to white yarn

Increase 1 stitch at the beginning of the next row and then knit to the end

Increase 1 stitch at the beginning of the next row and then knit to the end (9 sts)

Knit 4 rows of garter stitch

Cast off



Using 4mm knitting needles and pink dk yarn cast on 7 stitches

Knit 1 row

Increase 1 stitch at the beginning of the next row and then purl to the end

Increase 1 stitch at the beginning of the next row and then knit to the end (9 sts)

Purl 1 row

Knit to last 2 stitches then knit them together

Purl 1 row

Knit to last 2 stitches then knit them together (9 sts)


Purl 1 row

Knit 1 row

Purl 1 row

Knit 1 row

Purl 1 row


Change to white yarn

Increase 1 stitch at the beginning of the next row and then knit to the end

Increase 1 stitch at the beginning of the next row and then knit to the end (9 sts)

Knit 4 rows of garter stitch

Cast off



With right sides together, use white yarn to over-sew down each side of the white top

With pink yarn over-sew around the pink part of the boot

There is no need to sew in all the ends to neaten them because they can just be pushed inside the boot.


Cut a piece of white yarn 20cm/8 inches long and thread it into the top of the back seam, tie a knot into it about half way down.

Pull the knot down to the inside of the knitting and push the ends down into the boot.  This loop will hold the boot onto your long cord.


On such a tiny item it is important to make sure your edges are neat, otherwise you will get holes in the boot, so slip stitch the first stitch of a row once you get started and decrease on a knit row by knitting into the back of the stitch and not the front.



Please note that the material on this blog is for personal use and for use in classrooms only.

It is a copyright infringement and, therefore, illegal under international law to sell items made with these patterns.

Use of the toys and projects is at your own risk.

©Christina Sinclair Designs 2015sand



Answers to the News Desk Quiz


  1. As calm as a millpond
  2. As clear as a bell
  3. As cool as a cucumber (composed)
  4. As fit as a fiddle (healthy)
  5. As flat as a pancake
  6. As free as a bird
  7. As straight as an arrow
  8. As happy as a lark
  9. As keen as mustard (enthusiastic)
  10. As neat as a pin
  11. As nutty as a fruitcake (crazy)
  12. As quiet as a mouse
  13. As slippery as an eel
  14. As tight as a drum
  15. As tricky as a box of monkeys





Quick Quiz Answers


  1. Like talking to a brick wall – talking to a person who is not taking any notice of the person who is speaking
  2. Actions speak louder than words – to do something shows that you have true intentions, but to say you will do something is not proof that you will
  3. Talking at cross purposes – the confusion when people talk about different subjects in the same conversation
  4. To speak your mind – to say what you really think
  5. Talking nineteen to the dozen – talking really quickly


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