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Describe the influence pressure groups have on Parliament

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Introduction

´╗┐Describe the influence pressure groups have on Parliament Pressure groups are assemblies of individuals who all hold a similar set of ideas and beliefs. They campaign for changes in the law or new legislations in specific areas such as ethnicity, religion or political philosophy. The different pressure groups use different methods to get their point across, all of which have a strong influence on public opinion and voting behaviour. There are pressure groups concerned with almost every issue and every section of society so there are a variety of methods used to get their point across. Many pressure groups state their cases through written means like writing to officials and editors. They may also write to members of parliament in order to get them on their side and talking about their cause in parliament. Pressure groups also influence parliament as some MP?s belong to pressure groups and sympathise with their causes. Some MP?s also receive payment for promoting certain pressure groups so the topics they feel strong about are sometimes bought into parliament. ...read more.

Middle

Some say that the pressure groups power is democratically based and so the larger your pressure group, the more success you encounter and the wider spread of power you have. It is generally viewed that you are more likely to express public opinion if you are a larger group. For example, RSPB, NSCPSS and National Trust all have a large membership and therefore viewed as more powerful and successful. However, size is cannot compensate for the lack of economic power. Groups which have a larger economic power are more influential even if they have less members. Smaller pressure groups made up of mainly doctors are more influential than a large group of the general public thus showing that it is not about how many people you have supporting you, but more about who supports you. There are 4 different kinds of pressure groups, cause groups, interest groups, insider groups and outsider groups. Causal groups are open to all members of public, sectional are only open to certain individuals, insider groups have close links to the government and outsider groups usually take actions which the government does not approve of. ...read more.

Conclusion

One advantage of pressure groups is that they give the public a voice and are a safety valve for frustrations. This is an advantage when influencing parliament as is sways the in the direction of which the public are and get parliament on their side. They also help MP?s keep in touch and up to date in what people are thinking, for example, the ban on smoking in public places and changes in the car tax regulations. Another advantage is that they can raise public awareness and also their members are often experts who have advanced knowledge and can therefore suggest detailed and well thought out changes. One disadvantage is that some pressure groups only represent large powerful organisations such as Greenpeace; this means that even if smaller group present their arguments well it doesn?t mean they will be listened too. Also, their methods can be huge problems such as the poll tax riots in 1990, where released figures claimed 113 were injured, mostly members of the public, but also police officers; and 339 people had been arrested. These demonstrations do more harm than good. ...read more.

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