Do pressure groups benefit British democracy?

Do pressure groups benefit democracy?

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  • Do pressure groups benefit British democracy?
    • Yes!
      • They allow people to band together and express their views
        • Pluralist society. The existance allows individuals to associate with one another and proclaim their views - essential rights in any democracy.
      • They Act as a defence for minority interests, especially those connected with parties not in government
        • Important in the case of ethnic and gender minorities. It allows them to express their distinctive points of view
      • They encourage wider participation in public life and the decision making process
        • Many otherwise only participate at election time and rarely get a chance to express their preference on individual issues.
      • They act as a better link between the people and those who govern them than political parties
        • Groups can provide an outlet for people with little interest in party politics. They feel they have a chance to acheive their goals. They may raise issues for discussion that fall outside the realm of party ideas.
      • They provide valuable information to government departments based on their specialist knowledge of the fields.
        • This can be backed up by cooperation on administering a policy and monitoring its effectiveness. Groups represent the bulk of  people in that particular sector
      • They Act as a valuable check on those who excersise politcal power
        • They can expose information which would otherwise remain a secret
    • No!
      • They are a sectional interest
        • NFU  only represents farmers. Government has to consider 'national interest' which is better determined through elections and referendums.(counter. groups)
      • The better resourced and organised sections of the community are at an advantage
        • Some groups are more likely to be acknowledged than others. There is not a level playing field for influence.
      • Too much goes on in secret, with lobbying carried out behind closed doors
        • Are the ways in which pressure groups and MP's bargain sound?
      • Groups are often oligarchic in tendancy, their leadership being unrepresentive of the views of the membership
        • Leaders may acheive domination as a result of longstanding involvement rather than democratic election. Does the group represent the wishes of the people?
      • Threatening methods
        • Ways in which they influence policy are sometimes not democratic, as threat of havoc can cause a government to act a way in which it would not normally have done, through direct action.
      • Slowing down decsion making and acting as a barrier to social progress
        • Relevant groups will sometimes find and publicise information which is damaging to a cause or policy.

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