Being part of our society
We like to have contact with other people and be part of a group. To feel good about ourselves we often need to talk to others, live and work with others and share part of our lives.
In order for us to do this successfully, society makes various rules and laws, which we have to follow. Society also sets out our rights and responsibilities to help us all get along and live in unity.
Everyone living in Britain has certain rights. For instance, we have the right to:
- be treated equally and the freedom to go where we like.
- hold our own political views
- vote for the government we would choose.
If our choice of government is not elected, we must accept the majority party in parliament.
People often talk about their rights, but it is important to remember that they are accompanied with duties and responsibilities.
- We have a right to free speech – but a duty not to misinterpret or tell lies about other people
- We have a right to go where we want – but not to trespass on private property.
Some other duties that society expects from us include serving on a jury, paying taxes and obeying the law.
Many people in Britain believe that the right to vote and to elect a government is one of the most important rights.
Voting gives people a say in how things should be done.
The laws that are passed by government will affect everyone and can influence many parts of our lives, for example:
- the way schools are run
- how much tax we pay
- how our services work.
Voting can make a real difference and people in Britain have the right to vote when they reach 18 years of age.
Other groups in society may also influence what we do.
- Some of these groups will be set up to form a vital part of our society such as businesses or the emergency services
- Others will be set up on a voluntary basis because people in our society feel they are important and have a role to play, such as trades unions or charities.
These groups all play an important part in our society and all have their own rights and responsibilities.
The companies and businesses set up to produce goods and services we need, and provide us with employment - they all have duties to fulfil as well.