Pressure Groups Flashcards Preview

A level Politics - Paper 1 UK (2) > Pressure Groups > Flashcards

Flashcards in Pressure Groups Deck (26):

What is a pressure group

Group with a single interest of goal. They can have a moral cause or try and benefit their members.
They perform three main functions: participation, representation and education


Why do people join pressure groups

Representation- people with minority interests might not be represented by a political party
Personal beliefs
Material benefits, like joining the national trust, this increases membership but members are not as passionate
Need - people join as they feel they have to either for job protection or because it is the only way to achieve a goal


What is a sectional pressure group

They take care of their section of society. Members have a similar occupation. The group acts in the best interest of their members


What is a causal pressure group

These groups campaign for a particular issue that does not directly affect its members and often for a moral cause
These groups are easy to join and open to everyone
Sometimes they campaign for someone or something that cannot campaign for themselves
Their aim is to improve society


Insider pressure groups

They have a special relationship with the government and are given access to government officials and decision makers
Insider groups rarely have permanent insider status. Key groups have recently been unable to influence policy affecting them
For example the BMA were not involved in the recent NHS changes and the Howard League were not involved with the removal of books from prisoners


Pressure group methods

Traditional methods include petitions, public demonstrations and lobbying. The anti abortion organisation life has 2 million names which led to the 1990 human fertilisation and embryology act. But the 1 million who took to the street in 2003 to stop the Iraq war failed
Some groups have the ability to influence the formation of policy, through consultation with ministers and some have permanent offices at west minister
Some groups use direct action. People belief that this gains more media attention and awareness. Green peace have used such methods like civil disobedience


Successes of pressure groups

Having insider status helps. The Howard league ended the ban on prisoners receiving books from family and friends
Wealthier groups like the British bankers association paid lobbyists to influence the 2012 finance bill
The RMT used strikes to gain a 2012 Olympic bonus
Expertise, the AA used facts to increase the fine on using phones whilst driving
The 2009 Gurkha campaign was successful due to their celebrity endorsement of Joanna Lumley


Failures in pressure groups

Fail if they contradict the government, the BMA failed as the conservatives were determined to introduce policies of a seven day NHS
Fail when the government can resist pressure, Blair resisted pressure with Iraq as he had a strong support in the commons
Countervailing forces, pro smoking group Forest failed to stop smoking restrictions due to campaigns from ASH
If the group alienated the public, groups like PETA struggled to achieve their goals as the public opposed their methods


What is pluralism

This is a system of government where competition is equal among groups and power is spread evenly instead of in the hands of the elite


The UK is pluralist

The Uk does have numerous and varied pressure groups which estimates being in the thousands
The government accepts the existence of pressure groups and some are involved in influencing policy
Pressure groups educate the public and health issues have only been promoted by pressure groups
Opposing pressure groups compete openly. Pro smoking group Forest conflicted with ASH
Pressure groups use digital democracy to enhance pluralism (38 degrees website promotes pressure groups)


The UK is not pluralist

Financial power and large memberships give some groups more influence like trade unions with the Labour Party
The division of insider and outsider groups means not all groups are equal
Many groups do not exercise responsive leadership, including green peace
Hostile public opinion can restrict pressure groups influence. Pressure group republic operates in an environment where 80% support the monarchy
Pressure group activity is elitist
The UK parliamentary system is strong enough to ignore the demands of pressure groups when it wants to


Pressure groups reinforce inequalities

The competition between groups is often uneven
Groups representing business have an advantage, they often have more resources and wealth and the government often gets re-elected on the basis of the economy
Groups benefit from skilled membership and a strong financial base
Pressure groups representing the middle class are more successful which reinforces social inequalities


Pressure groups strangle efficient government

Insider groups have become established in the policy making process
This is likely to reduce the likelihood of problems but some groups are excluded undermining pluralism
Acts as an internal check on the governments ability to pursue its legislative agenda
Governments use pressure groups to balance the books, but they are only concerned with single issues


Pressure groups can be internally undemocratic

Many pressure groups are not internally democratic, giving little power to most members
Growth of cheque book membership means the quality of participation is lowered
Some groups are internally democratic and engage in debates with members like the RSPCA but other groups are more centralised like green peace


Green peace structure

Green peace is hierarchical organisation that allows little democratic control over the organisation both at national and international level


Pressure groups enhance democracy

Pressure groups occur naturally, people have a natural desire to unite with smaller interests for a particular cause
Pressure allows people to organise and articulate their views between elections
Pressure groups allows for participation
Pressure groups mean that a wider range of opinions are represented, which isn’t possible through political parties
Groups play an essential role in moderating the views of extreme members
Pressure groups allow the strength of opinions to be expressed
Pressure groups play a role in educating the public on issues and providing the government with specialist information and expertise


Pressure groups undermine democracy

Some pressure groups are not internally democratic
The quality of participation offered by pressure groups is low. Many members do little more than pay their membership - cheque book membership
Pressure groups do not compete on equal financial footing
Groups tend to be more successful if supporting the middle class this favours elitism.
Pressure group activity gets in the way of government activity, this undermines representative democracy
Often information by groups can be unreliable which can mislead the public instead of educating the public


Think tanks

They are formed to formulate and develop policy ideas
They offer academic and focused research
They can be single issues focused or to deliver better public services
They are privately funded
They rely on working with the government or aligning with a party


Examples of think tanks

The Adam Smith institute
This was used by Thatcher and focused on the introduction of free market policies

Bow group
Founded in 1951 and is a conservative think tank used to counter socialism



Lobbyists meet key political figures and try to persuade them to support a particular aim
There are professional lobbying firms (like the central lobby consultants)
Access to politicians does not guarantee success but it makes it more likely for a monster to support the aim


Example of lobbying

The British bankers association used lobbyists to influence the 2012 finance bill in their favour



They work with the government to develop practical legislation
They put pressure on the government and may lobby
They have a large amount of influence as they control a large sector of the economy
They pressure the government to give them more favourable legislation
Banking in London has a large amount of influence


Example of corporation putting
Pressure on the government

Microsoft have threatened to leave the uk of large import tariffs are introduced on goods


The media

Crested a national mood of cynicism towards politics by focusing on corruption and scandal
Made entertainment out of politics
The pressure of 24 hour news means the media create stories and give minor issues more prominence
The rise of online media has led to uninformed debate being presented as fact


Examples of the media impacting the government

The backlash of the media led to May removing the dementia tax from the conservative manifesto in 2017
Trumps state visit was demoted to a working visit after an epetition got 1,863,708 signatures


Green peace

Green peace is a pressure group founded in 1971 that focuses on climate change, forests, oceans, agriculture, toxic pollution and nuclear issues