How democratic are pressure groups?

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  • How democratic are pressure groups?
    • Disproportionate Influence
      • Some groups wield more power than their relative importance might suggest.
        • Some sectional groups hold a particular strategic position in society, we rely on them a great deal, therefore have to take demands into account
          • Finance lobby- after 2007+8 credit crunch, pubic fury over size of top bankers pay, yet finance sector account for a vital part of British economy.
    • Education
      • Educate +inform people about issues in Parliament, and give lots of info.
        • Combining various sources of info means people are able to make a judgement,
          • Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) inform public on dangers of smoking.
    • Finance
      • Some have access to more funds than others. e.g those with sectional interests that represent employers+business have more finance than charities.
        • Charities must rely on handouts from the public, or scarce lottery funding. Many give donations to political parties = more at an advantage.
          • 2006-7, no. of individuals donated to political parties for the granting of peerages, 'cash for peerages'
            • Undermined faith in British Democracy, and highlighted the issue of undue influence by those who command great wealth.
    • Elites and Concentration of Power
      • Elitism in wealthy, strategically important groups, Concentrate power in the hands of the few.
        • When elites are 'insider' groups, they might form a powerful elite with govt.Ministers who are inflluenced by group leaderships than by wider memberships = accused of further elitism
          • Banking lobby
    • Dispersal of Power (Pluralism)
      • Help spread power more quickly- empower their wider membership. Full population represented-voices are heard
        • As long as they influence, they give the politically active part of the population access to decision makers - in/directly
    • Participation
      • When people do not involve themselves in political activity, the government will become dictatorial.
        • Political activism is important to prevent excessive accumulations and ensure govt remains accountable to the people.
          • Give vital opportunities for political participation
            • 38 Degrees, participate in local+national compagins
    • Digitalised Democracy
      • Possible to mount a campaign very quickly, undemocratic:
        • 1. Info spread can be false - very easy to spread misinformation
          • 2. Campaigns can give impression that a cause has widespread support, when it is a reflection of internet support, rather than true supporters
            • 3. Excessive influence from the 'mass population' may not be well informed.
  • Some sectional groups hold a particular strategic position in society, we rely on them a great deal, therefore have to take demands into account
    • Finance lobby- after 2007+8 credit crunch, pubic fury over size of top bankers pay, yet finance sector account for a vital part of British economy.
  • Representation
    • Represent the people's interests to those who govern. May be active members who know exactly what is being addressed.
      • When people are not active, they are being passively represented. Even the smaller minorities are likely to enjoy benefits. Pressure groups have important representative functions to perform.
        • The Automobile Association (AA) represents interests of motorists.
    • How democratic are pressure groups?
      • Disproportionate Influence
        • Some groups wield more power than their relative importance might suggest.
        • Education
          • Educate +inform people about issues in Parliament, and give lots of info.
            • Combining various sources of info means people are able to make a judgement,
              • Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) inform public on dangers of smoking.
        • Finance
          • Some have access to more funds than others. e.g those with sectional interests that represent employers+business have more finance than charities.
            • Charities must rely on handouts from the public, or scarce lottery funding. Many give donations to political parties = more at an advantage.
              • 2006-7, no. of individuals donated to political parties for the granting of peerages, 'cash for peerages'
                • Undermined faith in British Democracy, and highlighted the issue of undue influence by those who command great wealth.
        • Elites and Concentration of Power
          • Elitism in wealthy, strategically important groups, Concentrate power in the hands of the few.
            • When elites are 'insider' groups, they might form a powerful elite with govt.Ministers who are inflluenced by group leaderships than by wider memberships = accused of further elitism
              • Banking lobby
        • Dispersal of Power (Pluralism)
          • Help spread power more quickly- empower their wider membership. Full population represented-voices are heard
            • As long as they influence, they give the politically active part of the population access to decision makers - in/directly
        • Participation
          • When people do not involve themselves in political activity, the government will become dictatorial.
            • Political activism is important to prevent excessive accumulations and ensure govt remains accountable to the people.
              • Give vital opportunities for political participation
                • 38 Degrees, participate in local+national compagins
        • Digitalised Democracy
          • Possible to mount a campaign very quickly, undemocratic:
            • 1. Info spread can be false - very easy to spread misinformation
              • 2. Campaigns can give impression that a cause has widespread support, when it is a reflection of internet support, rather than true supporters
                • 3. Excessive influence from the 'mass population' may not be well informed.
    • Mass Membership groups e.g Age UK, trade unions

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