• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Do pressure groups enhance or threaten democracy?

Extracts from this document...


Do pressure groups enhance or threaten democracy? Divergent arguments exist to suggest whether pressure groups enhance or threaten democracy, the process of politics and of policy making. Some argue that pressure groups are essential to democracy, a vital factor in deciding whether a country is truly a liberal democratic state. Others argue that the way they work and operate has little to do with democracy and in fact makes worse the in balance of power in the political system and inhibits the operation of Government. A pressure group can be defined as any organized group that does not put up candidates for election, but seeks to influence govt. policy, local govt. policy or even the policy of a political party. They seek to represent the interests of particular sections of society in order to influence public policy. General elections are too infrequent to be the sole means to influence policy. ...read more.


Many people voted for Labour not because they supported all their policies but because they wanted the Conservative party out. Pressure groups are arguably a check on Government leading to them enhancing democracy, they can be considered as a safety valve for democracy. With a very powerful executive in the UK and a limited Commons/Lords etc pressure groups equal a vital check. A pressure group may already exist or be formed and seek to influence the government on a new policy; this leads them to be a check on government. Not all actions undertaken by political parties are in their manifestoes and public opinion needs to be heard. Pressure groups fulfill this role of the public opinion creating a more democratic society. On the other hand pressure groups can be seen as to threaten democracy, as pressure groups often operate in a very undemocratic and unrepresentative way in how they work internally. ...read more.


This does not lead there to be much democracy overall. Government would argue the case that they should spend their time governing, they place their policies to the electorate (pressure groups do not). They have the legitimate right to decide policy gained this right is gained via the ballot box. Pressure groups provide an unnecessary input that is undemocratic. Time that could be spent on creating and updating policies is spent dealing with pressure groups which leads them to threaten democracy. Due to 75%+ of the population voting in general elections; it still is the primary form of political participation. Pressure groups membership is a minority of the population and deciding/influencing policy thus is not right in the eyes of the government. Overall I believe that pressure groups play an essential role in enhancing democracy if it were not for them checks and balances would not properly be carried out. On top of this the point for pressure groups enhancing democracy greatly out weigh the points saying it threatens democracy. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Pressure Groups section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

3 star(s)

Overall this essay has covered some of the main arguments for and against the influence of pressure groups on democracy in the UK. However, there is not enough evaluation or use of examples to gain high marks. The theories of pluralism and elitism are an important part of the pressure group and democracy question so they should be included.


Marked by teacher Jessica Jung 04/04/2012

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Pressure Groups essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Why are some pressure groups more successful than others?

    4 star(s)

    By generating the attention, they become more publicised and gain more members or in the case of the NSPCC, donations which helps generate their campaigns. Another method used by pressure groups is participating in publicity stunts. In 2008, Greenpeace campaigned against the 3rd runway at Heathrow Airport by breaking into

  2. Pressure groups revision - short questions and answers.

    * Outsider groups have limited/no access * Outside groups use the media to gain attention and try to make headlines and have high profiles. * E.g. Plane Stupid: Leila Deen throwing custard on Mandelson. Distinguish between a pressure group and a social movement.

  1. Discuss why pressure groups are sometimes criticised.

    Groups such as the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament often overlook that the fact that, in many cases, it is necessary for countries to have nuclear arms for defense against other countries where there is no chance that disarmament could ever happen.

  2. Define a pressure group and how they can be classified.

    many countries which recruit people to take up issues nationally, like the above example Greenpeace would be transnational.

  1. What factors may lead to pressure groups being successful?

    Size of pressure groups is also an important factor. More members (bigger size of pressure group) can not necessarily determine the success of a pressure group. Although having more members shows greater representation, but it often happens that one-member campaigns- like Jamie Oliver's campaign for healthier school meals- are more

  2. Important factors that effect the success and failures of pressure groups

    might be a competition because of the distinctive ideologies of each group. This is due to there not being a united front. For example, there are 6 different teacher unions, which goes in favour of the government because even though there is 6 of them, they will never follow the same line as each other.

  1. Compare and Contrast Pluralist and Marxist Accounts of Power in the UK and US.

    The accounts of power and the significance of state institutions differ greatly between pluralism and Marxism, therefore. In pluralism, for example, the media is given a great deal of responsibility, as its role is seen as one of disseminating information to citizens in an unbiased, objective way; as it is

  2. To What Extent Are The Wealthiest Pressure Groups The Most Successful Ones

    Expertise makes a pressure group invaluable to the government as they need advice and information on many issues that these pressure groups must provide. Media support is important for a successful pressure group. The media alerts people and the government to a pressure groups issue and if a pressure group

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work