UK Pressure Groups Notes

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Politics Pressure Groups:
Pressure Group
Organised groups which try to influence a specific area of policy without seeking to hold power itself.
Insider Pressure Groups
Part of the decision making process within government.
Consulted regularly by government bodies
o NFU (National Farmers Union), RSPCA, NSPCC
Provide useful information & express views
o CBI (Confederation of British Industry) produces reports on businesses.
Some pressure groups are set up by the government
o CEHR (Commission for Equality & Human Rights)
Outsider Pressure Groups
Remain outside of governing process.
Seek to influence decisions by mobilising public opinion
o AntiIraq War Coalition, Trade Unions under Thatcher, Plane Stupid
Preserves freedom & independence
o Greenpeace
They may use illegal tactics
o F4J
Sectional Groups
Represents a specific section of society
Trade Unions & employers' associations
o NUT, GMB, NUS
Cause/ Promotional Groups
Serve the interest of the whole community
Have one or a cluster of issues to promote.
Activists over memberships usually.
o ASH, Friends of the Earth
Political Parties v. Pressure Groups
Differ Similar
PP aim to win elections and have a long term future, PG's PG sometimes put candidates up for election to publicise
usually finish once they are successful their goals ­ Save Kidderminster Hospital 2001 election
PP need to develop a range of policies, PG focus on one. Some PG like CBI develop range of policies
PP have to be accountable, PG don't. Some PG transform into parties like Green Party & UKIP
PP have formal organisations but PG more loose Some PGs have strong links to PP ­ Countryside alliance
organisations. to Conservatives & Trade Unions to Labour
PP seek to gain power whereas PG don't. Some PG have leadership elections NUT
Pluralism
Variety of ideas and groups flourish together and are tolerated
The political system is widely dispersed.
Recognises the right of different groups to have influenced and to receive equal treatment
o PG's disperse power and influence widely
o Ensure that many groups can exert political influence
o Balance the power of the centralised government.
Elitism
Concentration of political, social, economic power within a few hands.
o Some wealthy, influential PG's may concentrate power into a few hands
o Some groups hold a disproportionate amount of power.
o Some may serve to give the government more power.

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Politics Pressure Groups:
Pressure Group Functions
Representation
o Pressure groups look after the interests of sections of the public/community as a whole
National Farmers Union ­ worked with the government when there was foot and
mouth
Political Education
o Pressure groups seek to raise awareness among the public of politically important issues
Need to reduce carbon emissions
Advising
o Pressure groups are often called on to share their expertise and inform the government on
key matters, leading the government to make decisions more wisely
the…read more

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Politics Pressure Groups:
Factors Affecting Success
Size
o Governments usually respond to size as that effects their voters
Iraq War 2 million protesters
Government Support
o Conservatives ­ Countryside Alliance, large companies
o Labour ­ Trade Unions
Finance
o Funding political parties gains influence
Tory donor Lord Ashcroft asked about airport plans in St Helena, plans began.
Organisation
o Well organised have better advantage
Strategic Position
o Insider/outsider
Public Opinion
o Politicians sensitive to public opinions
Gay marriage
Strength of Opposition
o ASH (insider) v.…read more

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