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To what extent are pressure groups a threat to democracy?

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Introduction

To what extent are pressure groups a threat to democracy? There are many thousands of pressure groups in the UK. Pressure groups are formed to bring influence to bear on decision makers in accordance with the views of their members. Pressure groups do not seek to govern the country, instead they often seek to influence the government to take their views into account when formulating policy and enacting legislation. Many people argue that pressure groups are a threat to democracy. They say that insider groups, those who work closely with the government, often have the capacity to influence the government prior to formal proposals being made to the public. This is significant as insider status is often linked to political leverage and the resources available to an organisation. ...read more.

Middle

They feel that pressure groups provide detailed information and recommendations for the government to consult on before deciding on policy. Policies which are the product of consultation and compromise are more likely to command public support which promotes social stability. They also feel that Pressure groups activities can act as a brake on any government policies which may take insufficient account of the opinions of those people affected by the proposed changes. These people believe that the major political parties are often most responsive to majority viewpoints with the result that party manifestos may hold little appeal for some minorities. The existence of pressure groups ensures that minority opinions can be expressed in a structured way with the result that they are more likely to prove more influential. ...read more.

Conclusion

Also some feel that the government consult insider groups on issues behind closed doors which limits the input of the general public and therefore is undemocratic. In some ways however, pressure groups are good for democracy. They help guide the government on policy making and these policies are more likely to gain public support than if they were made solely by the government. Pressure groups can also try to stop the government making policies which do not take account of the opinions of those who they affect. Pressure groups also give the minority groups more of a say by representing them. Pressure groups also enhance political participation by those who take an interest in the causes they support. So some might say that pressure groups are a threat to democracy but overall I would say that they are good for democracy. ...read more.

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