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  • Created on: 04-01-13 20:34
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Pluralist democracy
PLURALISM- Wide range of groups, interests, beliefs and ideologies, all competing for attention and
influence. The UK allows free society, tolerant of different cultures, ideas and demands however the
groups are not allowed to breach the law, appear as a threat of the state, commit crime, or adopt
racist ideologies. For these reasons pressure groups are able to operate free and tolerant
CIVIL SOCIETY- Various types of groups that succeed and to which form a sense of attachment with
the people. It includes individual families, but also religious, political parties, the media, the Arts,
sports organisations, associations, schools, universities, etc.
Until 1970s- Politics was based on upon social class and the two-party system, most political issues
were based on party conflict. Political conflict was a reflection of class conflict as policies supported
by Conservatives were middle-class (aimed at) whilst Labour were considered the party for the
working class. The political attitudes of the electorate tended to revolve around these certainties.
Fewer people could be identified as members of one particular class
Working class --> adopting `middle-class' lifestyles and attitudes
Middle class was divided into sub-groups- private sector and public sector, increasing
differences between those who were `professionals' - doctors, teachers, lawyers, etc ­
and those employed in managerial positions
Growing distinction between self-employed and the employed. As such groups no longer
identified with common class, they began to concern themselves with the narrower interests
of their own smaller section of society, known as `group politics'
Process called `partisan dealignment' taking place, people identified less closely with the
aims of political parties.
Parties were unable to represent satisfactorily the smaller sections of society who were
making political demands as they seek to develop policies that attract broad, not specialised
This led to growth in membership and influence of pressure groups
Features of democracy
A society where people had wide access to information of the government- well-informed
People feeling represented in government crisis, institutions politically and socially
Government accountable to people and to the people's representatives
Free and extensive opportunities so people can participate in political processes
Rights and interests of individuals and groups taken in account when the government are
making amendments
Range of constitutional, democratic principles, free and fair elections and the rule of law,
including equal rights, an independent judiciary and defences against arbitrary government
Groups offer considerable amount of information to their people
Receiving important messages from which we make judgements

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Cannot rely if information is accurate but if we combine various sources available we can
make a reasonable judgement
Pressure groups help to inform and educate us
Pressure groups represent interests to those who govern, insiders try seek to secure
favourable legislations or decisions and to avoid unfavourable ones
Some maybe active members and so they will not exact issues which are being addressed,
however some may not be but still be passively represented
Small minorities are likely to enjoy some benefits, so pressure…read more

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Transport, emergency and medical workers may have more power than groups that are
employed in the private sector
RECENT EXAMPLE- Finance lobby- after credit crunch 2007/08, economic recession that
followed and the public fury over the size of top banker's pay, the banking sector came
under huge pressure, the finance sector accounted for a vital part of the British
economy, London's in particular, may have inhibited from the Labour government,
preventing it from proposing serious controls on the behaviour of the banks in case
they…read more


Old Sir

This is a very useful reminder of some of the main issues affecting the nature of democracy in contemporary Britain. However, students are advised to research and attach more examples to support the discussion of issues, especially to address Assessment Objective 2, (evaluation and analysis). For instance, recent electoral participation figures, recent examples of direct action and attempts by pressure groups to influence recent political events.

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