June 2011 Pressure Groups

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  • Pressure Groups June 2011
    • a) Using examples, distinguish between promotional ad sectional pressure groups
      • Sectional pressure group
        • They aim to advance the shared interests of their members as opposed to campaigning for a broader cause
        • e.g. the British Medical Association (BMA) must be qualified medical practioners or students training to enter the profession
        • Have to have certain requirements e.g. trade unions, unite, NUT, CBI
        • Traditional methods within the law
      • Promotional pressure group
        • Promote approaches issues or ideas that do not directly benefit the rest of the group members
        • e.g. the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds is the largest cause group in the UK
        • Divided into 3 categories: attitude cause group, political cause group, sectional cause group
        • Campaign on policies that they believe will benefit others or the interests of society as a whole e.g. taxpayers alliance, mumsnet, the aa, greenpeace, charities
    • b) How and why do pressure groups influence public opinion?
      • Protests and demonstrations
        • Fathers4justice: to end fatherlessness, publicity stunts e.g. superhereos climbing the Big Ben
      • Petitions and interent websites
        • RSPCA: prevent cruelty e.g. campaign for changes in the law- stop the cull
      • Use of experts and specialists and educational material
        • Age UK: inrease life enhancing services and support avaliable in later life e.g. fund research on issues affecting older people
      • To educate the public and build popular support for their cause or goals
        • Pressure groups have an educative function
        • Help the governmment to avoid mistakes and unnessary conflict
        • Educates public
        • e.g. BMA about medical issues, RSPCA about knowledge of animals
      • To influence government policy indirectly through popular and therefore electoral pressure
        • Some pressure groups have insider status, they work closely with the government
        • e.g. Action on smoking and health produced legislation and were introduced to deter and reduce smoking
    • c) Is pressure group politics in the UK better described as pluralist or elitist?
      • Pluralist
        • Is a description of a soceity or a political system which suggests that there are many groups, beliefs, cultures and lifestyles that flourish together and are recognised and tolerated
        • Allows a variety of opinions
        • Allows people to be represented
        • Pressure groups are good for democracy
        • They disperse power and influence very widely especially mass membership groups
        • They ensure that mny groups are able to expert political influence
        • They help to protect the interests of groups in society
        • Balance government
      • Elitist
        • Is a description of a society or a political system which suggests that power- political, social and economic- resides in the hands of a small number of people, often known as elites
          • Influential insider groups may serve to concentrate more power in government hands
          • Some pressure groups may be led by unaccountable elites
          • Some groups may have disproportinate pwoer
        • Bad for democracy
        • Only some pressure groups have power
        • Only some pressure groups have power
        • Doesn't add to democracy
        • Some powerful, wealthy, influential pressure groups may concenrate power in few hands

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