Pressure Groups


Definition of a pressure group

Pressure groups are organised groups of people with a shared goal who aim to influence the politices or actions of goverments.

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Examples of pressure groups

CBI - Confederation of the British Industry

BMA - British Medical Association

RSPCA - Royal society preventing cruelty to animals

SAS - Surfers Against Sewage 

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Differences between pressure groups and political

Political parties seek to win govermental power where as pressure groups seek to influence goverment policies

Political parties focus on a wide range of isses where as pressure groups usually focus on one issue

Political parties are organised to fight elections, pressure groups are organised to fight campaigns

If political parties are successful they will grow and have a long term future, if pressure groups are succfessful they weill have no further reason to exist.

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Why are distinctions between pressure groups and p

Sometimes there are close links between PG's and PP's e.g. Greenpeace and green party

Some PG's do have a broad range of issues e.g. CBI

Some PG's do put candidates up for election

Some parties can be sen as little more than PG's as they have little chance of winning power

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Types of pressure groups



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Represent the interests of a section of society

Self-interest groups

E.G. trade unions and business'

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Concerned with a moral, political, social, eithical or spiritual cause which they beliefve will benefit society

Membership is open to anyone who shares the same beliefs

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Insider pressure groups

Insiderf pressure groups have close links with goverment and their views are listened to by the goverment and the media

Seen as 'responsible'

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Outsider pressure groups

Outsider pressure groups have little influence over goverment and are often recieved negativley by media

May use 'extreme' methos or promoe policies outsdie of mainstream policies

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BMA - Insider and sectional

Friends of the Earth - Insider and cause

Outrage - Outsider

Plane Stupid - Outsider

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Why are some pressure groups more successful than





Opposition group

Insider status

Celebrity involvement 

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Positives of pressure groups

Representation of groups not properly represented by parties

Increase participation in the democratic system

Educate the public on complicated issues

Scrutinise those in power to hold them accountable for heir actions

Provide expertise

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Negatives of pressure groups

Secrecy of insider group links with the government

Inequality and elitism of certain groups

Use of direction action, illegal methods and disruption

Undermocractic structure

PG acitivity often causes social disharmony

Wealth can buy you influence rather than earing it.

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