Pressure groups - UK


What is a pressure group?

Organised group of people who work together to achive an objective. eg trying to stop the construction of a runway at Heathrow (plane stupid) or preventing cruelty to children (NSPCC). Usally do not stand for election, but hope to influenece the government and other decision making bodies.

Some do put a candidiate for electionto gain publicity or make a point e.g. 'save kidderminister hospital'  PG who put Dr Richard Taylor as a candidate in 2001 for Kidderminister - he won the constituency.  

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Types of Pressure group - Insiders and outsiders

Insider groups - seen by the gov't as being respectable, responsible and well informed. The gov't are happy to be associated with these groups and the PG is often given direct and frequent access to ministers and their departments. If a new law or major policy is being introduced PG's with experties will be consulted - they are unlikly to go against the gov't but they make help make compromises as they want to reamain an insider group. e.g. British Medical association + National farmers union. There can be a risk to the public or democracy if gov't allows too many insider states to PG's. Some argue that the intrestes of partients / taxpayer may be neglected if PG's get to close to gov't.

Outsider groups - gov't do not want to be associated with these PG's. eg the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, the Prison Reform Trust and Liberty. Some outsider groups aim to become insider groups to gain more influence eg Terence Higgins Trust, which helps those with AIDS. The Prison Reform Trust may want to be an insider group but they represent a group the public/ gov't do not have much sympathy for so they are likely to stay an outsider group. 

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Types of Pressure group - Sectional and Cause/ pro

Sectional- represent a particular section of scoiety eg teachers. Aim to look after the intreast of the group or stop things happening to that particular group eg the Patients' Association objected to teh removal of a patent's right to see their medical records or the discontinuation of the requirment for GP's to provide an out-of-hours service. Also aim to gain benifits for their group eg maintaining a good pension scheme for postal workers. eg of sectional groups- The National Union for students or the British Medical association. If they gain to much influence they could harm public interest.

Cause/ Promotional - two main cause or promotional groups - 

One set up to achive a single objective eg stopping the third runway at Heathrow 

Secound set up to achive a broarder/ longer term objective eg to end child poverty. e.g. The Campaign for Nuclear disarmament, Greenpeace, Fathers4justice. 

while some of these groups bring a wide range of benefits such as the NSPCC some would be said they were selfish and unaware of the wider issue eg Heathrow runway will aid the economy 

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Positive functions of Pressure groups

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Negative functions of Pressure groups

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pressure group methods

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Reasons for PG success

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Reasons for PG growth

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Impact of UK membership of the EU on PG's

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Pressure group theory

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How have PG's changed since the 1960's

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British Medical association

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Countryside Alliance

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National Trust

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