Methods of Pressure Groups

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The methods that PGs use

Pressure groups use the following methods:

  • Mobilising public support
  • Incorporation or insider status
  • Fighting elections
  • Parliamentary action
  • Media campaigns.
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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. 
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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:
    • NFU
    • Friends of the Earth
    • National Trust
    • CBI.
    • BMA
  • Some PGs may become govt, as they may be sponsered bodies themselves, and represented directly, such as:
    • Equal Opportunities Commission
    • Comission for Racial Equality.
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Fighting Elections

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.
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Parliamentary Action

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.
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Media campaigns

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.
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