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Pressure groups in a democracy.

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Introduction

A pressure group can be described as an organised group that does not put up candidates for election, but seeks to influence government policy or legislation. They would want to influence government at the local, national and international level where applicable. The aim of all pressure groups is to influence the people who actually have the power to make decisions. Pressure groups do not look for the power of political office for themselves, but do seek to influence the decisions made by those who do hold this political power. Pressure groups can do this through many ways of taking action the extremes of the scale are peaceful means such as petitions to high level violence such as assassinations. A example of a peaceful demonstration is when in 1998 around 300,000 people went to London to protest about the Labour government's rural policies - the 'Countryside March' - the government reacted by announcing plans for a Ministry of Rural Affairs and by publishing a white paper investigating all aspects of rural life. A more extreme group is the Animal Liberation Front, whose campaigns include the illegal activities such as planting bombs. ...read more.

Middle

Pressure groups often now recruit members from the top universities to help organise the running of the group, as if the management look as if they are in control of the group it looks favorable on their side. University goers are also more likely to be associated with groups that have insider status and so the government is likely to listen to them. Good political knowledge is vital for the pressure group in order to have confident discussions with the political parties and put through a strong case to them. If the pressure group has adequate financial resources they will be much, much more successful then a poorer group. The monies would be used in reporting their case in the media to add the extra pressure to the government and to gain extra support. The monies could also be used to hire professional lobbyists to push their case to the ministers; new technology can also be implemented such as internet websites from communications both externally and internally within the group. Finally if the pressure group is likely to be of value to the society like doctors, police or firemen they would have a strong case to start with. ...read more.

Conclusion

In this sense, they work against - not in favour of - the public interest. Pressure groups themselves may not be representative of their members. Their officers are not usually elected. Few groups have procedures for consulting their members. As a result, the views expressed by group officials may not be shared by the group's members. Although the views of pressure groups may sometimes be considered, they are likely to be ignored if they do not confirm with the ideology or agenda of the decision makers. Pressure group activity gives people hope that they can make a difference. This hope is a distraction. The ruling class would rather that people put their energies into pressure group activities, which do not question the fundamentals of the system than into political activity, which seriously challenges the right of the elite to govern. Large-scale demonstrations mounted by any group may lead to unpleasant clashes without the police, sometimes involving militants with their own agenda. This level of civil disobedience cannot be justified in today's democratic system. Pressure groups are an essential dimension of any democracy, yet they can endanger democracy if sectional groups undermine the public interest or if the methods they use are corrupt or intimidating. Politics Pressure Groups Gopal Makwana 12AT 07/05/07 ...read more.

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