In What Ways Do Pressure Groups Influence The Government? Consequently, Do Pressure Groups Strengthen Or Weaken Democracy?

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In What Ways Do Pressure Groups Influence The Government? Consequently, Do Pressure Groups Strengthen Or Weaken Democracy?

Britain is often referred to as a homogenous society as the public tend to share similar political views.  However, more recently, there has been a decline in membership to political parties and an increase in the membership of pressure groups. In this essay I will define pressure groups, information surrounding such as the amount of power they have and how effectively they can influence institutions of power.

A pressure group is an organised group which has as one of its principal purposes the exercise of influence on institutions (mainly political) in order to secure decisions favourable to the interests the group represents or to discourage decisions from being taken which would be unfavourable to those interests. Pressure groups also are slightly more complex and have many different forms, statuses (within society) and amount of influence.

Pressure groups are divided into the following sub-groups: Causal (or promotional) groups, Sectional (or Protection) groups and also how close they are to the government known as either Insider or Outsider groups.

Causal groups are involved with a particular issue or issues and serve this cause by promoting it. These groups vary in size and aims and can be permanent (such as friends of the earth) who continually campaign for their particular cause or can be temporary (such as CND, the campaign for nuclear disarmament) who would disperse if their cause was attained or irreversibly lost.

        Sectional groups represent and further the interests of a particular part of society and as a result the members of these groups are more directly concerned with the outcome of the campaign at hand as they usually stand to gain something (professionally, economically). Therefore membership is usually limited to the sole members of that particular group of the population and aim to involve all those that are eligible to join.

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Insider groups have strong links with decision makers and are regularly consulted. They are the groups that the government – local and national – considers to be legitimate and are, therefore, given access to decision makers. This category includes the Church of England and the police force, as they are involved in the consultation process as a matter of course when government proposals relevant to their activities are discussed.

        Outsider groups have none of the advantages of insider groups: they can’t expect to be consulted during policy-making processes or expect to gain access to ministers and civil servants. They ...

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