Page
  1. 1
    1
  2. 2
    2
  3. 3
    3
  4. 4
    4
  5. 5
    5
  6. 6
    6
  7. 7
    7
  8. 8
    8
  9. 9
    9
  10. 10
    10
  11. 11
    11

How significant is the influence which pressure groups have on government? Is there any evidence that they have fared better under New Labour governments?

Extracts from this essay...

Introduction

How significant is the influence which pressure groups have on government? Is there any evidence that they have fared better under New Labour governments? Name: Jennifer Moore Matric No: 200314353 Date: 27 November 2005 Programme: BA Social Science Module: SOCP226 - Introduction to British Politics Module Leader: Peter Liddell This essay will outline the significance to which pressure groups have an influence on government and explain how they have fared under New Labour governments. Whilst the term 'pressure groups' may be relatively new, the concept itself dates back as far as 1787. The Society for Effecting the Abolition of the Slave Trade was led by William Wilberforce and Thomas Clarkson and successfully campaigned for the abolition of the slave trade. (Jones, 2004, p233) Pressure groups are formed by a group of people who share a common interest or goal. The intention of the group is to raise the profile or the cause and/or advance it. Unlike political parties, they rarely have a manifesto on a range of policies. Instead they campaign only on specific policies in order to influence public policy formulated by the likes of central or local government. (Grant, 1995, p3) There are generally two types of group: sectional and cause groups.

Middle

The institutional links a group may have to a particular party i.e in the 1970s, the trade unions caused serious disruption in the UK. (Heywood, 2002, p280) The methods used by groups to exert influence can be said to run on a continuum from low cost, low level, non-violent activities through to high cost, high level, violent activities. (Jones, 2004, p240) Smaller, less well-financed groups may begin with activities such as petitioning which are then submitted to a local or central government. For example, if a local authority wanted to close a school, the parents may get together to produce a petition that would be presented to the local education authority. At the opposite end of the spectrum lie more extreme versions of direct action. For example, in recent years pro-life and animal rights campaigners have targeted high profile figures from that area for assassination or to inflict serious injury upon them. Some groups will use a combination of tactics to optimise their impact. (Smith, 1995, p17) Mid-way on the scale is the lobbying and involves contacting MPs with a view to getting a particular item on the agenda or publicising a particular point of view. Nowadays, whilst hanging around the House is seen less, groups do still lobby MPs in order to try to advance their cause or group.

Conclusion

This occurred around the time of the G8 summit at Gleneagles, which attracted large numbers of people fighting under the anti-Capitalism banner. The existence and increased support of these movements is a symptom of the highly influential political culture that exists in Britain, and globally, today. In the last two decades of the 20th century, the influence of the traditional pressure groups, including trade unions has decreased. It could be argued that this decrease has been accelerated during the period of government under New Labour since 1997. However, this acceleration period appears to now be being challenged by an increasingly politically aware electorate. Whilst they may be more likely not to turn out and cast their vote in an organised election, they are much more willing to belong to social movements to ensure their voice is heard. Failure to listen to this voice will have serious ramifications for New Labour. BIBLIOGRPAHY Books Grant, W (1995) Pressure Groups, Politics and Democracy in Britain, Harvester Wheatsheaf Heywood (2002) Politics, Second Edition, Palgrave House of Commons (1985), First Report from the Select Committee on Members' Interests, 1984/85, HMSO Jones et al (2004) Politics UK, Fifth Edition, Pearson Longman Smith, M (1995) Pressure Politics, Baseline Journals Jackson, N (2004) Pressure Group Politics, Politics Review, September Websites http://www.unison.org.uk/about/about.asp, 27 November 2005 http://www.dti.gov.uk/er/emar/tradeunion_membership2004.pdf 27 November 2005 ?? ?? ?? ?? Jennifer Moore 200314353 1

The above preview is unformatted text

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • Over 150,000 essays available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Over 180,000 student essays
  • Every subject and level covered
  • Thousands of essays marked by teachers

Related GCSE Politics

  1. The history of pressure groups is a long one. Before the term "pressure group" ...

    An example of this is the British Field Sports Society, who in 1995, had approximately 80,000 active members, forming their vocal minority. In addition to this, they claimed a silent majority of 5.5million affiliated sportsmen and women nationwide, forming their potential membership.

  2. Were the policy intentions of the Thatcher governments assisted or hindered by the structure ...

    expenditure, privatisation and deregulation, and to effect a long-term shift in the social structure. The lack of a single focus and the fundamental liberal-conservative split within the Conservative party has meant that some of these policies had to be compromised or postponed due to their conflicting nature.

  1. How does the structure of government affect pressure group politics in the UK and ...

    In the UK, campaigns are less candidate centred and party labels are more important than any individual candidate. As a result, some wealthy individuals and interest groups donate money to the party, but it is neither easy or worthwhile to target any one candidate.

  2. Analyse the transition from 'Old' Labour to 'New' Labour.

    In 1995 at a special conference he won vast support for the updating of Clause IV that had kept the party centred around Nationalisation for the majority of its political life. The draft manifesto New Labour, New Life for Britain won widespread support in 1996 and was based around 5 key pledges; Education, Crime, Health, Jobs and Economic stability.

  1. "Tony Blair has been criticised by some for being a Tory Prime Minister leading ...

    Then of course in 1979-1990 when Margaret Thatcher was in power ideological debate was at it highest because her policies were so radical. At this time the left were communists who believed in equality, collectivism and, collective ownership and the right were fascists who believed in freedom, individualism and free enterprise.

  2. Civil Service Reform.

    Traditional mechanisms by which government is called to account - such as the responsibility of ministers to parliament, House of Commons select committees and citizen representation to MPs - are straining under the new arrangements. At the centre of the debate is the Conservative government's claim to have separated policy

  1. What tactics do US pressure groups use, and why are some more successful than ...

    They can also target the executive branch and the judicial branch. Several US presidents have been accused of having close associations with interest groups. However, this is not completely true. This is because interest groups seek to establish close ties with sections of the federal bureaucracy.

  2. "The Rise of the Labour Party between 1893-1914 was due more to the growth ...

    by 1903, an annual income of approximately five thousand pounds, which increased their prestige and their chance to get a larger number of MPs into the House of Commons in the next election. Without the trade union's support, the Labour Party would not have these essential advantages.

  • Over 180,000 essays
    written by students
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to write
    your own great essays

Marked by a teacher

This essay has been marked by one of our great teachers. You can read the full teachers notes when you download the essay.

Peer reviewed

This essay has been reviewed by one of our specialist student essay reviewing squad. Read the full review on the essay page.

Peer reviewed

This essay has been reviewed by one of our specialist student essay reviewing squad. Read the full review under the essay preview on this page.