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To what extent are the biggest pressure groups the most successful ones?

Extracts from this essay...

Introduction

To what extent are the biggest pressure groups the most successful ones Plan Does matter - large groups can claim to represent public RSPB and TUC, more members more donations Greenpeace and WWF, can run demonstrations CND, politicians want to be popular, Gurkha campaign, able to strike if have large membership. Does not matter - Policy expertise Howard league for penal reform, organisation and leadership Liberty, wealth CBI, government views, density of members, BMA 80% of doctors, knowing the right people. To what extent are the biggest pressure groups the most successful ones Some argue that the more members a pressure group has the more powerful it is. If a pressure group has a large number of members it can claim to represent the opinion of the public. Because government has to get elected they will try and look like they are on the side of the public so they win the next election. They therefore try and support popular pressure groups.

Middle

supported by huge numbers of people and was one of the biggest demonstrations in London for generations but was unsuccessful, because government had strong views on the issue. Some argue that government want to been seen to be on the side of big pressure groups but don't always agree with them and act on their demands, this means the pressure group is not successful. Many pressure groups rely on their members for donations, it is therefore essential to have a large number of members. More members can mean more money, which means more successful because they can run campaigns and employ professional lobbyists and also donate money to political parties. Groups such as WWF have used their large public support to ask for money so they can employ professional campaigners. Groups such as Greenpeace are only successful because of their large membership. Greenpeace relies so much on their membership because 90% of their total revenue comes from their members; they could not run any campaigns with out money.

Conclusion

Liberty may not have as many members as the TUC but in some ways it is as successful, this is down to good organisation and leadership. A pressure group can have a huge number of members but if they can not mobilize them to be effective then they will not be successful, the student movement against the rise in tuition fees had public support but was not organised very well so was not successful. If a party has the view of the government behind them they will be far more successful, big or small. For example the ramblers association were far more successful when the labour party were elected in 1997 because the labour party was sympathetic to their cause. The density of members of a pressure group is very important as well, for example the BMA represent 80% of doctors so are very influential with health policy. Size helps in making a pressure group successful but unless the other factors such as wealth, organisation and government views are in their favour a pressure group can struggle. ?? ?? ?? ?? John 'cheeky' Chilvers 1

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