Are pressure groups similar to political parties?

This could potentially be a 10 mark question in the exam, or it could be used as a paragraph or two in a 25 mark question when discussing pressure groups and government.

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  • Are pressure groups similar to political parties?
    • No
      • Parties seek power, pressure groups seek influence
      • Parties must develop a wide range of policies to cover all areas, pressure groups generally have narrow goals only related to one or two areas
      • Parties are accountable for the decisions that they make, whereas pressure groups are not
      • Political parties generally have a very formal, organisation. Pressure groups may be formally organised but they are often very loose organisations
    • Yes
      • Pressure groups sometimes put candidates up for elections to promote their cause or objectives
        • They still do not seek power, they seek to influence
      • Some pressure groups develop a wide range of policies
        • e.g. CBI and Trade Unions
      • Some pressure groups eventually transition into a political party
        • e.g. the Green party and UKIP began as pressure groups
      • Pressure groups sometimes have strong links with parties
        • e.g. Trade Unions and the Labour party, the Countryside Alliance and the Conservative party


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