Revision Notes for AQA AS Government and Politics - Pressure Groups Topic

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KT Pressure Groups: are groups of like-minded people who come together on the basis
of shared interest or commonly held belief in order to put pressure on policy makers at
Westminster and beyond. Key to a pluralist society.
Since the 1950s and 1960s pressure group activity has moved away from large organizations
into single-issue groups and looser social movements.
KT New Pressure Group Politics: The rise of more loosely organized social movements,
single-issue groups, protest movements and direct action campaigns. It is distinct from the more
tightly organized and choreographed pressure group activity of earlier decades.
KT Single-Issue Group: A pressure group or movement that focuses on a single issue rather than a
range of issues underpinned by a broader set of guiding principles. Snowdrop vs. RSPCA
Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) is the largest single issue consumer group.
KT Social Movement: Social Movements are far looser in terms of organizational structure. They can
bring together individuals who are part of other pressure groups to create a movement. They can
also include political parties. The `green movement' can be said to include Greenpeace, Plane
Stupid, the Soil Association and the Green Party.
Pressure groups are said to perform three main roles within the UK:
1. Representation
- Help to aggregate and articulating the common interests of a community of individuals.
- Political Parties have often been accused of being `catch-all' parties, whereas pressure
groups allow representation of specific concerns.
Life and the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) serve to represent those
who oppose abortion at a time when the three main parties are broadly sympathetic to the
availability of abortion.
2. Education
- Act as a source of specialist knowledge & help the government to weigh up pros and cons
of a certain topic, this helps the public as it helps to stop wasting time and making expensive
- Also serve to educate the public on areas of policy they may not be aware of.
3. Participation
- Provide an avenue for participation between elections
- Although the Trustee Model within democracy allows MP to make decisions based on their
own judgements, pressure groups play a key role in demanding channels of communication
remain open in democracy.
KT Trustee Model: The Burkean model of representation provided for in a representative
democracy. Politicians are not simply delegates, but act upon their own judgement whilst taking the
views of the community into account.

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Developed by Wyn Grant.
Regular contact with decision makers
Generally work behind the scenes rather than embarrassing government with high profile
Enjoy a closer and more positive role with government
CORE INSIDERS: Are often consulted by government across a broad range of areas and
have a particularly strong two-way relationship with Government; British Medical Association
(BMA), Police Federation, National Society for the Protection of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC),
Trade Union's when Labour is in power.…read more

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First developed by JD Stewart.
Sometimes known as private interest/interest/protectionist groups.
Aim to advance the shared interests of their members as opposed to a broader cause.
Normally `exclusive' in that you must often meet requirements to join.
Those joining the British Medical Association must be medical practitioners or students.
Those joining the National Student Union must be full time students in the UK.
-- Seek to campaign on behalf of their members interests.
Sometimes known as public interest/promotional groups.…read more


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