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Do pressure groups strengthen or weaken democracy?

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Do pressure groups strengthen or weaken democracy? From animal rights to women's right, not t5o mention trade unions there are hundreds of pressure groups operating in today's society. They work in different way to influence government policy and are subject to few controls so do they undermine or support democratic government? Freedom of association in a fundamental principle of a liberal democracy, therefore, it could be deemed that pressure groups must be supporting democratic government as they are upholding people's rights. It can be argued that, as elections are a legitimate process allowing society's participation pressure groups are unnecessary, however opportunities for involvement are no more than every five years so pressure groups provide a vital opportunity for participation and access to thaw political system between elections thereby enhancing the quality of democracy. ...read more.


There is also 'unequal competition' between business and labour groups the former enjoying control of economic resources, a public status and level of access to government that the latter cannot match. The idea that influences commensurate with the size of the group is seriously flawed as small, tightly knit associations, for example the BMA often have a degree of influence entirely out of proportion to their democratic weight. The insider-outsider distinction demonstrates that there is no true equality of access. Some groups enjoy privileged respectable relations with government and are often consulted on policy whilst others have top rely on media and public opinion to get government to listen to their views. Neo-pluralism highlights the privileged position that business groups enjoy in the western world, whilst acknowledging that this seriously compromises the claim that such societies are democratic. ...read more.


All of whom have been elected as legitimate representatives of the people of Britain. The strength of single-issue pressure groups raises a number of questions about democracy. Too much focus on one issue pushes others from the agenda, which can lead to debate that dominates politics, focusing attention on one issues to the detriment of others which could be as important. Democracy is not about responding to the demands of any one groups but arriving at a balanced judgement, which takes account of all perspectives to make a decision that is best for society as a whole. Whilst I acknowledge the valuable expertise of they have to offer and the representation they provide I feel that due to the unavoidable inequality of access and influence, the fact that they are anti-parlimentary democracy and are totally unaccountable to the public that they serve only to inhibit the process of democratic government. ...read more.

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