To what extent do pressure groups undermine the democratic process

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To what extent do pressure groups undermine the democratic process

There are several significant methods through which pressure groups undermine the democratic processes. However, to some extent these factors are balanced out by the ways in which pressure groups aid democracy within the United Kingdom.

Pressure groups educate the public on a number of important issues which affect the society we live in. The information they provide may help us to come to a judgement about a particular problem and how we feel the government should respond. In this sense they aid democracy by empowering the public with knowledge.

However, pressure groups hinder democracy in the sense that they sometimes hold a disproportionate influence over the government due to the power which particular groups hold. For example, the BMA represents only a small proportion of the country. Yet it has great influence over the government because its members provide an important service. A further example of this factor is the Farmers association. Again, they represent a very small proportion of the country, but retain much influence over the government as they provide much of Britain’s food supply.

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Another democratic feature of pressure groups is the way in which they collectively represent most, if not all, members of the public. In the vast majority of our activities there probably exists a group who is seeking to promote favourable legislation regarding such activities. For example most people will have been a motorist, or a holidaymaker, or a hospital patient or a student at one point in their lifetime. All such categories have pressure groups who are representing, even if passively, members of the public.

To the contrary, an undemocratic feature of pressure groups is how their ...

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