The methods that PGs use
Pressure groups use the following methods:
- Mobilising public support
- Incorporation or insider status
- Fighting elections
- Parliamentary action
- Media campaigns.
Mobilizing Public Support
A method that PGs use is mobilising public support:
- This is a high profile of campaining.
- This is where public demonstrations are organised, such as marches.
- It also includes publicity stunts and petitions.
- E.g. Countryside Alliance conducts mass campaigns in support of fox hunting.
- E.g. 2 Fathers 4 Justice use these campaigns, such as hanging from tall buildings, sitting on Harriet Harman's house and threw flour on the PM.
Incorporation or Insider Status
Another method that PGs use it incorporation or 'insider' status:
- This gives them the expectation to exert influence, with responsibilities.
- The role of some PGs, will therefore, extend beyond trying to shape public policy, to putting policy into practise.
- These PGs are also known as insider groups, who have a relationship with the govt.
- They also advice the govt on what the people wants from them.
- Examples of sectional groups include:
- Friends of the Earth
- National Trust
- Some PGs may become govt, as they may be sponsered bodies themselves, and represented directly, such as:
- Equal Opportunities Commission
- Comission for Racial Equality.
Fighting elections is another method that the PGs use:
- This is where PGs put candidates forward for election.
- This became phenomonon during the General Election in 1997:
- E.g. The Referendum Party was founded in 1994, by Sir James Goldsmith which campaigned for a referendum on the UK's memebrship with the EC.
- It contested against constituencies against the referendum.
- it delivered a 12 minute video to 5 million UK households.
- It led the Referendum Movement.
- However, in 1997 it disbanded.
- Another PG that put candidates forward in elections was:
- The Legalise Cannabis Alliance who put 21 candidates forward in the 2005 GE.
Parliamentary action is a method used by PGs:
- This is where MPs are 'sponsored' by trade unions, and must fight for that trade unions' cause, in return.
- Many of these MPs are Labour.
- These MPs also recieve pressure and support to pass a Private Members' Bill.
- These include successful examples such as :
- The Sexual Offences (amendments) Bill, proposed by Edwina Currie, became law in 1994, which changed the age of consent in hetrosexual and homosexual relaltionships, to 16.
In addition, media campaigns are another method used by PGs:
- This is where information and data collected, in support of a groups' aim, can be presented on TV, radio and press features.
- This raises enormous public awareness of their aims and campaings, almost everyone use one of these pieces of media.
- It also encourages the govt to do something about it, as it could put pressure on them.
- Furthermore, celebrities can also be used in campaigns.
- e.g. Sir Cliff Richard was used for Viewers' and Listeners' Assocation abortion law and AIDS law.