Pressure groups are an organization of people with similar ideas
who seek to influence the Government from outside rather than coming to power.
Pressure groups try to influence and persuade Parliament to
legislate on matters of interest to them and they have a narrow focus which
means that they concentrate on a single issue.
Pressure groups have a large variety of methods to influence
LOBBYING: Groups meet with politicians to argue
their case and try to persuade them to adopt their ideas.
GO ON STRIKES: In order to reach an agreement
with employers members of pressure groups go on strikes.
USE OF CELEBRITIES: By involving celebrities,
pressure groups raise their profiles and gain media attention.
GIVE EVIDENCE AT HEARING: Public consultations
will hold hearings to determine a decision. Pressure groups can exert influence
on those in a position of power.
PUBLICITY STUNTS: Attract media attention and
gain publicity and generate awareness of their cause
There are 4 types of pressure groups:
groups: They look after their own section in the society. It could be a
professional association or a trade union. Sectional groups act in the best
interest of their members. Membership is limited to people in a particular
occupation, career or economic position. E.g. British medical association
groups: They campaign for a
particular cause or issue, often does not directly affect its members. Members of a casual group often come from a
variety of backgrounds. The causes they seek to advance are many and various:
poverty, reduction, and education and humanity problems. E.g. Friends of the earth, Amnesty international.
groups: These groups operate inside the decision making process. They
are consulted on a regular basis by the government. These groups have access to
policy-makers; they have a low profile and strong leadership. E.g. BMA, NFU.
groups: These groups do not have any special links to the Government
but they seek the influence of the government indirectly via the mass media or
social opinion campaigns. These groups have no limited access to policy-makers;
they have a high profiles and have strong grass roots. E.g. Greenpeace, plane stupid.
ADVANTAGES of pressure groups:
Pressure groups represent the views of certain sections
of society. They give minorities a voice
They can raise public awareness and bring
certain issues to the attention of the media and get the attention of the
Large groups can have huge memberships, which
politicians will not want to upset
Pressure groups tend to have sound of knowledge
of their interests.
DISADVANTAGES of pressure groups:
Pressure groups rarely represent the views of
the majority but only the minority of a small group in the society
Pressure groups are selective in what they
campaign for. They are biased in favour of their interest.
Their success depends on funding, how much
access they have to the media and to the parliament and how much public support
Their campaigns may not present an objective and