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

To what extent are pressure groups a threat to democracy?

Extracts from this document...


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.


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.


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.

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

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. Are pressure groups good or bad for democracy?

    The next reason why pressure groups are often seen to be beneficial for democracy is that they act as a kind of cement which binds the government and the citizens of the country. If we will look at the country like the UK we will see, that the government is

  2. Sectional pressure groups are ones that aim to represent the common interests of a ...

    The attractiveness of a group in terms of its electoral influence may also play a part in determining effectiveness. It is easier to arouse public concern and, therefore, the support decision makers for the elderly than for, say, for the low paid.

  1. Do you consider the political activities of organised groups (pressure groups) to enhance or ...

    Pluralists believe that pressure groups overcome the democratic discrepancy that builds up as most people's political participation is to cast a vote every five years. This would usually mean that people would have little or no influence over decisions made between elections, and minority views not being represented.

  2. Cuban Government structure.

    Government structure Australia (democracy) Local (electorates, councils) State (legislative council, legislative assembly, premier, governor.) Federal (House of Representatives, Senate, Governor-general, Prime minister.) Cuba (communist) Council of ministers (incorporates the leadership of all the nations' ministries, state committees, and national institutes)

  1. The changing nature and activities of pressure groups - to what extent are they ...

    The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds has over one million members and the RSPCA recruits up to 50,000 new members a year. Membership of the Labour Party on the other hand is steadily falling from almost three quarters of a million in the post-war decades to around 200,000 today.

  2. In what ways, if at all, might it be said that democracy ensures power ...

    Pressure groups are free from political affiliations like representatives, again they ensure that power is ensured ' by the people for the people', a main foundation for democracy. Pressure groups are essential to an effective to a functioning democracy as they assist with the dispersal of power.

  1. Pressure groups revison notes

    (10 marks) (c) Pressure group activity in the UK presents a major threat to democracy. Evaluate the arguments in favour of this view. (25 marks) (a) Explain the term lobbying used in the extract.

  2. Free essay

    To what extent do Pressure groups undermine democracy?

    Furthermore pro-capitalist pressure groups are likely to be granted insider status which means that their negotiations with government are often secret which undermines both their own and the government's accountability to the general public. These points taken together do suggest that the poor and otherwise disadvantaged groups such as many

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