Home, Health & Style

Second Hand – Or Vintage Clothing?

“Euuuuw, that is second hand!”  – if you have ever said this, then you could be missing out. Vintage clothing is popular at the moment, because they’re well made, different to the things on sale in the shops and pretty cool!
Sally Anne tells you how to find and look after vintage clothing and how to accessories them.

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Travel

Exploring Australia: Specsavers, Sunshine and Sexism

When I found out I was coming to Australia for two weeks, I was so excited. Australia’s completely the other side of the world to my home in Birmingham. I fantasised about what it would be like: kangaroos hopping round, koalas on every corner, barbecues every night. It would be so different to what I’m used to.
But when I got here, the first thing that struck me was how similar everything was. Getting the bus from the airport, I noticed they drive on the same side of the road as us. When I got to the bus station, the first shop I saw was a WH Smiths. In fact, lots of the shops are the same: Specsavers, Zara, Laura Ashley, Vodafone, Starbucks, McDonald’s, KFC. The first night I was here, I was truly adventurous and had tea at Nandos (although it wasn’t as nice as the ones in the UK and they didn’t have my favourite Wild Garlic and Herb sauce) and then went back to the hotel and watched Homes Under the Hammer, Time Team and Coronation Street.

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Science, Nature and Tech

What Makes Popping Candy Pop?

Popping candy is fantastic stuff. You put it on your tongue and within seconds it’s fizzing and exploding and jumping about in your mouth. But what makes this happen? Continuing our #HaveYouEverWondered series, Sam takes a handful sweeties and finds out what makes popping candy pop!

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News & Politics

What is a Referendum

what is a referendum

What is a Referendum?

There has been a lot of talk recently about the referendum on membership of the European Union. It seems that we cannot turn on the television without hearing about it! But what is a referendum?

A referendum is a vote, not an election by which we choose the people to represent us, but a choice in which all the people who can vote are asked to accept or reject (not accept) a course of action.

You can find out more about our main election, the General Election here. 

What this means is that voters are called to say yes or no to a question. You might think that this sounds perfectly reasonable; why shouldn’t everyone have a say in what our country is doing? But it is not as simple as that.

Most questions are decided by votes in Parliament; after all, this is why we elect them to represent us, and in practical terms, we cannot all expect to be experts on all the subjects that must be covered by the government. So this doesn’t happen very often.

Referendums in the UK

In fact, in the UK there have only been twelve, yes, just 12 referendums since 1973. Twelve referendums over the course of 43 years, of which only two have covered the entire country. You can see that this is not a large number.

You might be surprised to learn that the first to cover the whole country was in 1975, and it was on membership of the European Economic Community (EEC), which is what the European Union was then known as. The second was in 2011, and related to a reform in the voting system known as Alternative Vote.

All the other major referendums in the UK have been related to questions of devolving power – or the governing of the distinct regions of England, Wales Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Origins of the Word Referendum

The word came into use in English in 1847. But at that time, it was mostly about Switzerland, whose system of direct democracy involved (and continues to involve) a large number of referendums. The word was coined, or created, from Latin referendum, which means “thing to be referred”. This is because, in a referendum, the decision is referred to the people.

The word referendum in Latin is from the verb referre. This verb means “to bring back, to take back’, which is the very essence of a referendum: a question is being brought back to the people who will be affected by it.

What is the Plural of Referendum?

A lot of people think that the plural of referendum is ‘referenda’, but is it really?

[pullquote align=”full” cite=”The Oxford English Dictionary” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]“Referendum is logically preferable as a plural form meaning ballots on one issue (as a Latin gerund referendum has no plural).  The Latin plural gerundive referenda, meaning ‘things to be referred’, necessarily connotes a plurality of issues.’[/pullquote]

What does that mean?

A gerund is a grammar term used in Latin and other languages. In Latin, ‘referenda’ would mean ‘more than one thing to be considered’, whereas a referendum as a vote tends to be on one single issue.

We can use ‘referendum’ as a plural if we wish, but ‘referendums’ has also become normalised in English, as the word has been accepted in popular use in English, and of course the usual way to make a plural in English is to add ‘s’.

 

You can find out more about the British political system in these posts.

 

The UK General Election – An Explanation for Kids

How to Jump into Politics

What is it Like to Be an MP?

 

Women in Politics: Be The Change You Want To See

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Sports

The British Skeleton Team – Sliding to Victory

skeleton olympic

How would you like to slide down a very steep and winding track of ice on something very similar to a tea tray at around 140km per hour? Yes, no, maybe. Well, there are people out there who can and do want to. And what’s more, they’re really rather good at it.
 Alongside Bobsleigh and Luge, the Skeleton is one of three sliding sports that take place on artificially refrigerated ice tracks. It’s a really white knuckle experience as each skeleton athlete pushes their sled one handed away from the start before lying down with their face first as they travel the track, using their shoulders, knees and toes for steering.

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