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Pressure Groups in democracy

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Pressure Groups in democracy A pressure group is defined as "a group of like-minded individuals who are organised with a view to influencing the formulation of government policy". An undeniable definition of a pressure group however, is very difficult to make this is due to the several varying forms that they take. The term 'pressure group' is fairly recent yet 'voluntary organisations' have been attempting to influence policy even before the 18th Century. An example of this is The Society for Effecting the Abolition of the Slave Trade. This was founded in 1787 under William Wilberforce, and successfully achieved its aims to abolish slavery in 1807. More recently pressure groups have increased, (despite having a fluctuating popularity). This perhaps is because of the extensive opportunity for views to be put forward through the media. Pressure groups can be classified in two different ways 1) by what they aim to achieve, and 2) how they attempt to achieve it. Insider groups have strong links with the decision makers within government and are regularly consulted, hence influencing democracy in some shapes and form. (Being an insider status means that they can gain access to the decision makers and put forward their case directly.) Outsider groups however do not participate in the consultation process, mainly by government exclusion but sometimes by choice. ...read more.


It can easily be argued that the government itself doesn't represent minor interests and only the major ones because it is almost always elected with just fifty percent or even less of votes, meaning that cannot possibly represent everybody. Even if Pressure groups themselves don't gain any direct action for their minor interest, they put more pressure on the government to recognise their causes. This is a good thing because as above, the way in which the government is elected means that they do not serve every bodies interests (especially if the government is in minority). Pluralism is a political system in which pressure groups and other organisations seek to control government policy, often through the process of lobbying. These lobbies can become very powerful. It can be claimed that pluralism makes government more democratic by keeping representative politicians in check between elections. It can be argued that an election isn't enough alone to make democracy, as a voter must chose between two parties neither of which supports a policy that he or she might think very important. An individual can then use the lobbying system to bring attention to that issue, in the same way as a Pressure group does. All these lobbies are in equal and opposite directions resulting in lively politics and wholesome debate. ...read more.


They can help avoid mistakes from being carried out, or inform the government of the publics true opinion by examining closely what they are doing and how it will effect certain issues in society. They often want to prove to the public that certain government action isn't going to benefit them and may even disadvantage them, so by keeping a close eye on the government they can find every opportunity to out to their use. However only well funded organisations have the power to perform investigations on government policy and therefore will be the only ones who can use this to their advantage. It is impossible to create an entirely democratic society, and perhaps it always will be but the influence of Pressure groups only makes changes to certain areas and issues, whereas governmental authority effects everyone and everywhere. The disproportionate balance of power gained through election and the FPTP system means there will always be an element of tyranny present in out legal system, and more often than not Pressure groups help to counterbalance this inequality. Despite sometimes being internally undemocratic and only representing a minority, they are an important part of making our theoretically democratic society truly socially equal. ?? ?? ?? ?? Nicola Barclay 12FHC Miss Claydon Government and Politics Pressure groups in democracy Nicola Barclay 12FHC Miss Claydon Government and Politics Pressure groups in democracy ...read more.

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