Pressure Group Flashcards

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Define a pressure group
Represents the interests of a certain cause or section of society + aims to encourage support for its beliefs amongst the public + tries to put pressure on govt or institutions. Increase democratic participation.
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How are political parties and pressure groups different?
PG's have a huge no. in existence where PP's only have a few. PG's aim to influence government but PP aim to form govt. PG's aren't held accountable. PG's focus on particular issues but PP's need to consider every issue.
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What are the similarities between political parties + pressure groups?
Both aim to make political changes, both have leaders + large numbers of members.
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What are the main functions of pressure groups?
Provides functional representation (represents sections in society), provides a means of participation, educates public through awareness+govt through evidence+expertise. Policy formation/implementation (help govt develop new policies). Scrutiny.
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What are the differences between sectional and cause groups?
Sectional (interest groups)=protect the interests of members+normally criteria for membership (i.e. Union of Teachers have to have qual teachers). Cause (promotional groups)=aim to promote issues+policies to don't exclusively benefit their members.
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What is the problem with categorising pressure groups by their aims?
Some groups can function as both sectional + cause. i.e. British Medical Association protects interests of doctors but also pressures+advises govt. National Union of Teachers campaigns to protect teachers pay+pensions but also for pupils.
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Define insider groups
Regularly consult with govt+able to work effectively 'inside' Parliamentary procedures (consulting + meeting with MPs or appearing before Select Committees). i.e. RSPCA and NSPCC.
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Define outsider groups
Do not have regular contact with the government, or much direct influence over policy making in Parliament. Attempt to reach goals by influencing the public + media attention. i.e. Greenpeace + Planestupid.
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Examples of pressure groups that are both insider and outsider
Child Poverty Action Group and National Union of Teachers.
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What are the problems with categorising pressure groups by their status?
Many groups often adopt both insider + outsider tactics. i.e. British Medical Association is an insider group working with govt on health policy, but in 2012 took its 1st strike action for 40 years to protest against changes to doctors' pensions.
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What are access points?
People + places that PG's can attempt to apply pressure for their desired changes.
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What are professional lobbyists?
Someone who attempts to influence government policy + legislation on behalf of another individual or group. Often retired politicians or civil servants who can make the most of their old contact in government.
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What is the difference between green and white papers
Green set out various different ideas + options for a Bill - designed to provoke debate + outsider input. White set out more concrete intentions + plans for an upcoming Bill.
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What is the difference between a policy community and an issue network?
Policy community is small + stable groups of govt officials + interest groups that have shared interest in a particular policy area. Issue Network is much looser + larger groups, including a lot of PG's + also academies.
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Why do pressure groups work with select committees?
For each govt department, there shall be a dedicated select committee to examine their expenditure, administration + policy. Regularly collect and hear evidence from outside groups / experts.
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How and why do groups lobby political parties?
The annual party conferences are usually attended by large numbers of lobbyists + PG's, seeking to influence the agenda + build relationships.
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What are ballot bills? Why do groups try to influence them?
Used for MP's wishing to introduce a PMB can put their name forward+20 names are selected randomly. PG' s will target the chosen MP's + suggest their own bill for debate.
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How can pressure groups use the courts to achieve their aims?
Can try to prove in court that the government has done something ultra vires, a UK law that violates an EU law, or that a UK law violates the HRA.
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What is indirect lobbying?
Targeting the public. They can educate the public with a media campaign, convince them on their aim, encourage support, collect polling data + then MP's are held accountable at elections.
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What is direct action? Why is it a tempting method for outsider groups?
Violent or non-violent protest to attempt to pressure the govt to meet your demands, rather than using official channels. Can be legal (Brain Haw 2001 camped in Par) or illegal (Stop Huntington Animal Cruelty saw a group use intimidation + violence)>
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Why has lobbying the EU become a more attractive option in recent decades?
If a PG persuades the EU to implement a law it will also be party of the UK law.
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Why can financial resources give some groups an advantage?
Gives groups more options, i.e. hiring pro lobbyists, open offices near access points, make donations to parties, + their size and importance makes it hard for govt to ignore them.
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Why do a pressure groups aims have such an impact on its chances of success?
Aims need to be achievable/realistic. Need to be favourable and get sympathy from others. Aims need to be compatible with the government views.
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Why are human resources very important for PG's?
Makes certain methods, like strike action, more effective. A large membership base increases group legitimacy.
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What are umbrella groups?
Organisations that represent the interests of a number of different pressure groups, with similar interests or causes. i.e. COPA + COGECA represents over 30 mill farmers across the EU (has successfully lobbied the EU).
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Why can status have such an impact on success?
A small insider group can be more successful than large outsider groups as they can join policy communities and issue networks (i.e. working with civil servants to shape legislation before its drafted).
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Why might e-petitions be more successful than civil disobedience?
Requires 100,000 signatures + then can get a government response. However a march attended by mullions just attracts more media attention. i.e. Iraq 2003 protest saw 1 mill march in London against the invasion, but Blair ignored + invaded.
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What is NIMBYism + hyper pluralism?
"Not in my back yard" - individuals+groups who protest plans not because they disagree with its aims, but they would prefer for it to take place somewhere else. HP- When groups are so numerous+influential that govt cannot function effectively.
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What are 'cheque-book members'?
Members that make a donation or pay for a membership fee but do very little or nothing to support the groups aims.
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Whats the difference between primary and secondary PG's?
Primary G - represent intetrests+views but offer few services to members, i.e. trade unions. Secondary G- Provides services to members+occasionally represents interest+views, i.e. Automobile Association offer breakdown assistance.
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What is 'clicktivism'
Do people clicking 'like' on a FB page, retweeting, using # or signing e-peititons, recalling understand the issues? Do PG campaigns oversimplify important issues?
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What is the pluralist theory?
Believes that power is fragmented + dispersed. Larger numbers of groups all compete with equal opportunity to influence. So many are competing with each other that no single group is able to become too powerful.
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What is the 'revolving door'?
Ministers+civil servants retire, only to be hired by lobbyists, returning to lobby their old colleagues.
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What is the elite theory?
Believes that power is concentrated + restricted. Many groups might compete, but very few have real influence. Most wealthy + well connected individuals + groups have the resources + status to effectively lobby government.
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What is the tyranny of the minority?
PG's often give voice to minority, rather than majority. Does this lead to wealth insiders forcing the govt to put the minority view before the national interest? i.e. Health+Social Care Bill 2011 had a lot of opposition from PG's so it was paused.
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How have constitutional reforms increased the influence of PG's?
Since the joining of EU 1973 groups can appeal to Europe. 1998 HRA allows groups to seek judicial review. 1998/99 Devolution has allowed them to appeal to all 3 of the assemblies, i.e. Single Use Carrier Bags (Wales) Charge Regulations 2010
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What is the 2014 'Gagging law'?
Cut the amount that groups can spend influencing elections by around 60%. Prevented elitist groups from having an unfair level of influence, but some critics say that it makes it harder for PG to inform voters on issues.
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Define a pluralist democracy
Democratic system where the demands + interests of many different groups are recognised + taken into consideration in policy making. Power is widely dispersed. Recognises the rights of diff groups to receive equal treatment.
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What are the main methods used by pressure groups?
Lobbying, sitting on advisory + policy committees in govt, lobbying EU institutions + devolved assemblies, mass public demonstrations, media campaigns, civil disobedience, action through law courts, internet campaigns.
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How do pressure groups enhance democracy?
Increased representation, pluralism (dispersion of power), education and participation.
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How do pressure groups not support democracy?
Disproportional influence, size + finance, digitalised democracy, elitism + concentration of power, lack of accountability + legitimacy, civil disobedience.
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Other cards in this set

Card 2


How are political parties and pressure groups different?


PG's have a huge no. in existence where PP's only have a few. PG's aim to influence government but PP aim to form govt. PG's aren't held accountable. PG's focus on particular issues but PP's need to consider every issue.

Card 3


What are the similarities between political parties + pressure groups?


Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4


What are the main functions of pressure groups?


Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5


What are the differences between sectional and cause groups?


Preview of the front of card 5
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