A pressure group is a group of people who take action to influence local or national government on a specific issue.
Ways of campaigning
- Media - Radio, TV, magazines, News,Newspaper
- Petitions (e-petition)
- Picket lines
- Contact local MP
Factors whichmake for a successful campaign:
- Gaining media attension
- Keep the issue alive so people don't forget
- Involving large numbers of people
- Talk to policy makers
- Public opinion (is the issue something people are for or against)
- Money (fundraising)
No publicity is bad publicity - Can turn people the campaign if the publicity is bad
Some campaigns may not seem to have been successful but they will have had an impact on people, the government and businesses which could influence future decisions.
Peaceful protest are usually alot more successful than violent protests.
Amersham Horses Campaign
In January 2008 the RSPCA rescued more than 100 horses, ponies and donkeys
from Spindle Farm, Amersham, Buckinghamshire becasue they were kept in bad conditions.
They launched an appeal in June 2010 to rehome the rehabilitated animals. It was called 'Amersham Horses Rehoming Appeal'. IT was very successful and 1700 people applied for one of the 37 horses. 80 other rescued horses and ponies also found homes through this appeal.
Why was it successful?
- It got alot of publicity and was broadcast on the BBC news along with an article on the BBC web page.
- A webpage was set up by the RSPCA to appeal for donations
- Another website was setup giving the latest news on the court case against the owner of the horses.
- Animal cruelty is something many people in the public disagree with therefore making it more successful
The Suffragettes: Votes for Women
Many thousands of women were involves in this campaign which was led by Emmeline Pankhurst.
It caused alot of debate, controversy and newspaper coverage. Some suffragettes chained themselves to the railings of buildings, smashed windows and took part in marches/demonstrations.
Some men also supported the campaign.
Many got arrested and imprisoned, some went on hunger strikes leading to them being force fed. Many women then became ill in prison so were released to recover then imprisoned again. This shortened many womens lives.
During WW1 because many women had to take on mens roles this greatly changed peoples view and eventually lead to women being allowed to vote in 1928.
Different Types of Pressure Groups
There are 3 types of pressure groups:
Promotional/ casual: Particular Cause e.g greenpeace, Amnesty International
Sectional/interest: representing a section of people e.g farmers union
Insider Groups: Groups the government consult regularly e.g police force, NSPCC
Federation of small businesses
Type of Group: Sectional/interest pressure group
Aims/Mission: There mission is to remain and be largest and most effective organisation promoting and protecting the interests of the self employed and small business owners within the UK.
To recruit continuously at a high level
To retain as many members as possible
To promote the interests of members
To protect members' business
To publicise the benefits of self-employed and business ownership
To identify the continuously changing needs of members
How are funds raised: When members join they pay £10. The FSB receives a mixture of sponsorship, commissions and other financial contributions from various service providers. This is in exchange for the service providers to provide services to FSB members.
Who is in charge: Each region has offices across the region.
How is it run: Members volunteer to do different jobs that are not paid. So the FSB is run by the members.
Who can join: People with small businesses.
Accountability: Holding someone responsible for something.
Pressure groups and the media ensure that our representatives(Councillors, MPs and MEPs (members of the european parilament) are accountable.
Since The Freedom of Information Act was introduced in January 2005 it has made it much easier to to get information on what you want to know as a reply or reason for refusal has to be given with in a month.
The media find out and publish what is going on for the public to see. This is done by researching documentation, talking to people and asking questions
Pressure groups are part of ensuring representative are held accountable. They do this by watching for there own interest/cause and bring attension to what goes on.
Combined the media and pressure groups ensure that our democracy is more open and transparent.
Public debate and policy formation
Pressure groups will research and present reliable and up to date information to advocate there cause this is because if it is misleading they would lose support and credibilitiy.
Public debates can be started by advertising, eye catching stunts or peaceful demonstations. These gain media interest.
When new policies are being formed in a council or in gorvernment experts will be consulted. Pressure groups are often part of this process as the have current research avaliable. The information they provide can: cause debate; inform opinion; and give consideration.