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Are pressure groups good for democracy?

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Are pressure groups good for democracy? Pressure groups are organisations whose members share common interests and seek to influence governments. They can be classified in several different ways but the most important distinction is between insider and outsider groups. They are organisations that want to change policy but do not want to become the government. They focus on particular issues or areas of concern and can become involved in policy making by organising campaigns, sending letters, organising demonstrations and signing petitions. People join pressure groups to show their support for a particular issue and to join with other like-minded people in trying to influence our politicians. Some people feel working in a group like this means they have a louder voice in getting their message across. There are many positive and negative factors of pressure groups on a democracy. ...read more.


Another positive effect is the groups allow for increased participation in politics by people who might otherwise be inactive on the political scene. Many people only get involved in politics at election time and a growing number of people are not even doing that. Ways of getting people involved more can include protests such as the "Brent Spar incident" where Greenpeace protested at the oil company Shell's proposition to sink its disused oil platform Brent Spar in the sea instead of towing it away and dismantling it on land. Another method could be to allow people to sign a petition expressing their feelings on a certain issue. An example could be the petition asking "should smoking be banned from public places" in an attempt to show the government what the people's opinions are on the topic and whether there should be a change or not. ...read more.


An example is the British union leaders until the reforms of the 1980s. Another negative factor Is not all sections of the community are represented equally. The influence groups can exercise depends on the resources at their disposal and the relationships they can construct with governments. This can lead to governments only listening to larger pressure groups in favour of the smaller groups. Some campaigners use money and other methods to influence elected representatives and activists may turn to illegal militant direct action to get their own way. An example is the animal rights activists who may use violence to scare people into making a decision in their favour. Insider groups are too active behind the scenes and may influence civil servants in their discussions. An example of this is the British medical asociation. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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