What are Pressure Groups?
- Pressure groups are bodies of people who have a shared interest in getting the government to change the law in certain areas.
- Sectional or Interest groups exist to further the ends of their own particular section of society. Examples include trade unions and professional associations such as the British Medical Association, who represent doctors.
- Cause groups are those that promote a particular idea or belief. Examples include environemental groups like Greenpeace.
- Insider groups have direct contact with Parliament and government ministers.
- Outsider groups have to resort to direct action to promote their cause. Examples include Fathers4Justice.
Why are Pressure Groups set up?
- Sometimes pressure groups are set up as a result of a tragic event. The Snowdrop Campaign, organised after the Dunblane massacre in 1996, resulted in Parliament banning the private ownership of most types of handguns.
The degree of influence.
- Professional associations representing groups such as lawyers and doctors, made up of well-educated and wealthy individuals, are influential. Governments of all parties tend to consult them before introducing a Bill affecting their interests. The ban on smoking in public places in July 2007 was partly the result of lobbying by the British Medical Association.
- Outsider groups often have to resort to publicity stunts (such as those carried out by Fathers4Justice) or marches and demonstations, but most pressure groups engage in lobbying, produce promotional literature and generally try to gain as much publicity as possible for their cause…