Unit 1 - AS Edexcel Government and Politics Revision Notes on Pressure Groups

A very condesned set of notes for Unit 1.4 of Alevel Edexcel Politics

everything you need to know.

have also made notes on democracy and participation, elections and parties

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Pressure Groups:
Pressure group = an organised group of people which try to influence a specific area of policy
without seeking to hold power itself

Why do people confuse pressure groups with political parties?

MPs often represent pressure groups too
e.g ­ Tom Brake and SOS!
Some pressure groups adopt…

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Classifying pressure groups:

Sectional groups Promotional groups Insider groups Outsider groups
Represent a specific Represent the whole `Inside' the decision `outside' the decision
section of society community making process making process
Selfishly serve the Altruistically work for Regularly consulted Are not consulted by
interests of its the good of society…

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Anti-poll tax movement, 1990 (succeeded)

Methods used by pressure groups:

Lobbying MPs ­ PGs lobby MPs on a specific issue or pay them a retaining fee

(e.g ­ the league against cruel sports, hunting bill 2004)

WHY? Hope MP will raise their issues in parliament, chosen MPs may submit a…

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DISADVANTAGE becoming an `insider' group can alienate its members

Are pressure groups good for democracy?

Ways in which PGs ENHANCE democracy Ways in which PGs do not support

PGs often represent groups and causes PGs undermine the authority of elected
that have been ignored by parties officials and parliament…

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(e.g ­ CBI and the current coalition)

Factors which prevent Pressure Group success:

Outsider status ­ they have less opportunity to shape policy in the early stages (e.g ­ Stop the
War! 2003 held massive demonstrations but was unable to end the war in Iraq)
Tactics ­ selecting the wrong…

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COUNTER EXAMPLE: Trade Unions were unable to influence Blair's Labour government ­ because
he wanted to maintain the support of business leaders

Insider status ­ insider groups have more opportunity to influence government policies in the
early stages (e.g ­ RSPCA used its insider status to push for the ban…

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Have pressure groups become more important in recent years?

New technology: Government are still the key decision
Easier for NSM's to appear and recruit makers:
members The government chooses which PGs to
Easier for them to coordinate direct listen to
Increased access points: Elections:
Gives pressure groups…





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