Flashcards in Pressure Groups Deck (9)
What is a pressure group?
- An association whose aim is to influence policy making at local, regional, national or European level without actually seeking power
What are promotional pressure groups?
- Promotional groups are seeking to promote a particular cause, to convert the ideas behind the cause into government action or parliamentary legislation.
What are sectional pressure groups?
- These groups represent a particular section of the community and they are mainly concerned with their own interests.
What methods do the promotional pressure group Greenpeace use to influence democracy?
- Public campaigning
- Civil disobedience such as destroying genetically modified crops, disrupting whaling and oil exploration in the Arctic. This is illegal and was deliberately done to publicise the dangers.
What methods do the sectional pressure group British Medical Association (BMA) use to influence democracy?
AIM: To force government to withdraw a new contract for junior hospital doctors in 2016-17
- Regular withdrawal of labour for routine operations and treatments
Ways in which pressure groups enhance democracy
- Pressure groups help to disperse power and influence more widely
- Pressure groups educate the public about important political issues
- Pressure groups can promote and protect the interests and rights of minorities. They represent people who feel unrepresented in Parliament, and direct action such as civil disobedience arguably enhances pluralist democracy.
Ways in which pressure groups may harm democracy
- Some pressure groups are elitist and tend to concentrate power in too few hands.
- Influential pressure groups may distort information in their own interests
- Sectionist pressure groups can create a 'tyranny of the majority' in society and undermine democracy.
- Pressure groups such as Greenpeace who do civil disobedience arguably undermine democracy as elected representatives are the ones who passed these laws to stop this.
Examples of pressure group failures
- The BMA is currently involved in a dispute over the new junior doctor contracts. In 2016, the case was taken to the high court where they lost the case and the new contract was deemed lawful
- Forest, a pro-smoking campaign group, for example, has been regularly defeated by the anti-smoking lobby that has public opinion and government on its side.
- ASH would like to go further on smoking bans and is now concerned that e-cigarettes may be harmful. As yet it has not succeeded in changing government policy in these areas.