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

To what extent have pressure groups in the UK changed in recent years?

Extracts from this document...


To what extent have pressure groups changed in recent years? A pressure group is an organised group that seeks to influence government policy, public opinions or protect or advance a particular cause or interest. Groups may promote a specific issue and raise it up the political agenda, represent a particular section in society or they may have more general political and ideological objectives in mind when they campaign. In this essay I am going to analyse the significant changes in the nature and activities of pressure groups that have occurred in recent years and use examples accordingly. In recent times, the importance of the role of pressure groups has been increasing and is likely to continue to do so. A reason for this is the increasing participation in pressure group politics. Membership of pressure groups has been growing substantially whereas in contrast, membership of political parties has been declining. Therefore, this suggests that the general interest in politics has not decreased but the nature of interest and participation is rapidly changing as more people are becoming frustrated with the political parties and so they are turning to pressure groups that campaign for specific issues or causes. ...read more.


All these groups aim to influence the institutions by taking positions and promoting their respective issues and interests. The activities of pressure groups has also changed along with everything else happening around them. Many groups now feel that they not excluded from having direct access to the attention of policy and decision makers. It used to be the case that only insider pressure groups had this luxury of being able to communicate effectively with government institutions as they were generally felt to be more responsible in their demands and also they had developed long-term links with certain political parties and Parliament. However, many pressure groups believe that they can start to exert more pressure on government by mobilising public opinion than by pursuing direct inks with decision makers. For example, the Countryside Alliance has found that direct action can be far more beneficial in comparison to being listened to by Parliament. In this case, it is not all the members of the group but a select minority, this is not to say that it is not a substantial amount. These individuals that have formed to use direct action instead of government links are called the Countryside Action Network. They remain members of the original Alliance but describe it as being ineffective and inefficient. ...read more.


Many people feel that pressure groups therefore are a credit to democracy as they allow for causes and issues to be recognised and particularly vulnerable sections of society to be represented in a meaningful manner. The increasing amount of access point is also a significant reason the change seen in pressure groups. Groups now have many ore access point to the decision-making institutions than ever before. Now they can spread their efforts, time, money and other resources around much more to exert more pressure on decision-makers and to be influential to as much of the public as possible when it comes to specific issues. Different methods used by pressure groups has also seen great change. Increases in the use of direct action and the rise in digital democracy effectively contribute to the willingness of people to take positive action in pursuit of a cause in which they feel passionate about. As representative institutions-especially parties and Parliament-have become increasingly marginalised and impotent, there has been a renewed interest in the influence of direct action. In addition, the changes in the world surrounding pressure groups has forced them to respond by using technological advances to great effect in order to get many people involved and even introduce political ideas to individuals new to the political scene. ...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. What are the reasons for the increasing importance of pressure group activity?

    But things have changed. Today the decision-making is spread over a much wider range of institutions. They are: the European Union - which the UK had joined in 1973 and which deals with various issues such as trade and employment; Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland governments which operate on the

  2. Democratic features of pressure groups

    the ban on hunting with dogs and other rural issues, the government was panicked into action on a number of fronts, including an attempt to water down the hunting bill in Parliament. But the huge numbers on the demonstration certainly did not reflect public opinion on the main issue of fox hunting.

  1. The wealthier and the closer the pressure group is to the government, the more ...

    the government than a pressure group whose views contrasted with the government. Ultimately, it is being to emerge that being wealthy does not guarantee the success of a pressure group, as the tobacco lobby proved. In 2005, it was revealed by the Electoral commission that �20 million had been donated to political parties in order to subside their electoral expenses.

  2. The existence of pressure group makes government more democratic; the activities of pressure groups ...

    This has led to "revolving doors", which is the easy movement pressure groups and the executive. In the Reagan-Bush years it was reported that some lobbyists wrote legislation for Congressmen. Specialist companies are hired to recruit influential individuals. The Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 required individuals to register as lobbyists.

  1. Why Have Pressure Groups Become More Popular Than Political Parties?

    wide range of interests represented with society, and that the politicians are interested. They provide a channel for the government and the governs, and this in turn, compliments the electoral process. Pressure groups, in this viewpoint tend to balance each other out, for example, there are groups which represent big

  2. In what way have pressure groups become more important in recent years?

    It depends very much on whether the group is an insider or outsider group as to whether they'll be successful in influencing Westminster , such as the CBI which has close links to the Conservative party, with David Cameron appearing at their last conference against smaller, lesser know pressure groups such as RATS (Rowers against Thames sewage)

  1. Compare and Contrast Pluralist and Marxist Accounts of Power in the UK and US.

    What is interesting is that both pluralism and Marxism accord some special status to the media in that both groups agree that the media has the power to change people's attitudes. The differences arise when Marxists think that the media utilises this power to maintain the exploitation of the proletariat,

  2. Pressure groups revison notes

    Formal links with governing bodies/Parliament 1. eg: the fuel lobby- opposed to high petrol duties in Autumn 2000- used impressive logistical organisation using the internet to enable them to organise a large number of protestors across the country in a very short time 1. Strategic Position: 1.

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