F.W. Riggs - 'any organisation which nominates canditates for election between legislature.'
Existed since 18th century.
- influenced by the public.
- new parties emerge if certain sections of public not represented.
- not elected again if they disregard interests/opinions of public.
- support all sections of the people.
S. Finer - 'trying to influence the policy of public bodies, in their own chosen direction. Never find themselves prepared to undertake the direct government of the country.'
Differences between politcal parties and pressure groups:
- seeks power ; influence those who hold power.
- policy on every issue of importance ; specified objective.
- long-lasting ; disbanded once a particular issue resolved.
- organised by electoral districts ; organises where sufficient potential members.
Sectional/Protective groups - protect the interests of particular sections of society.
- large organisations - full time staff.
Promotional groups - seek to promote a 'cause', not usually of direct economical benefit to members.
Pressure Group tactics
1) Contribute to funds of political parties.
2) MP's employed to sponsor their aims.
4) Mass meetings (appeal to public opinion.) Demonstrations (march/mass protest.)
5) Civil Disobedience.
7) Provide expert knowlege to governments.
New Social Movements
Pose new challenges to the established culture and political systems of Western democracies.
Informally organised + without central leadership.
Using media, direct action + violence.
1) Those concerned with an issue to do with the natural environment.
- animal rights
- environmental groups
2) Those commited to furthering the rights of historically marginalised groups.
- ethnic minorities
Is Britain democratic?
Christopher J Hewitt
2 political parties + variety of pressure groups.
Parties must represent peoples' main concerns.
Government must not consistently favour one pressure group over another.
Supports the view it is a democracy.