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Interest groups which are also known as pressure groups are large groups of people in a society who try to influence policies.

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Interest groups which are also known as pressure groups are large groups of people in a society who try to influence policies. Interest groups are organised groups who instead of putting up candidates for elections seek to influence government policy. (Roberts 2000, p328) There are two different types of pressure groups; there are single cause interest groups and sectional interest groups. Single cause pressure groups have one or two specific objectives that they want to achieve. An example of a single cause group is 'Snowdrop' this was an interest group that was set up in 1996 because of the Dumblane killing. The objective of this interest group was to tighten gun controls. Single cause interest groups lobby parliament and governments to make very specific changes to the law. After these groups achieve there desired change they tend to disband themselves. The other type of interest groups is sectional interest groups. These groups have a wide range of objectives. They represent entire sections of an issue rather than single issues. ...read more.


Some outsider groups become protest groups, these groups tend to have little choice about being consulted by government, since their goals are usually out of step with government priorities. These groups tend not to use moderate tactics instead engage in military tactics, such as rioting, disobedience, extremist tactics and violent tactics. (Jones 1994, p222-224). There are many tactics used by interest groups, such as talking to people in the civil services, financially supporting political parties, organising public campaigns with the help of the media. Other tactics include writing letters to mps, organising marches, petitions, advertisements and making up leaflets. In order for interest groups to be successful, there are many tactics that should be used. The first one is targeting the government and civil service, since more decision making is now taking place at the advice of the civil service, targeting the civil service can be very effective. Another tactic would be targeting mps, having the support of a backbench mp is seen as an advantage. ...read more.


( Heywood 2002, p277) There are also many arguable disadvantages of interest groups. A disadvantage would be that there are too many interest groups trying to influence making it impossible to keep everyone happy. Creating the problem of compromising policies too much, making bland policies. Another disadvantage would be that interest groups are concerned with the particular rather than the general issue which is seen to advance minority interests against those of a society as a whole. Poor transparency and legitimacy deals take place behind closed doors which can also be seen as disadvantage since it makes it more secretive and excludes the public. Another disadvantage linked to the power of the groups would be that the ability of groups depend on resources that the group holds, certain groups have more influence since they have more resources, knowledge, money, expertise. (Heywood 2002, p277) Pressure groups provide continous opportunities for people to get involved in democratic processes and remain an important means by which citizens can take part in politics and are still seen relevant and important today. Tahira Majeed, matric no: 200310336, BASS1- Politics Report 1 ...read more.

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