What is a Pressure Group? A PRESSURE GROUP IS AN ORGANISATION OF PEOPLE WHO SHARE SIMILAR VIEWS AND GOALS.
PRESSURE GROUPS THESE GROUPS USUALLY WANT TO CHANGE SOMETHING. THEY MAY PUT PRESSURE ON ORGANISATIONS, SUCH AS THE GOVERNMENT, LOCAL COUNCILS, BUSINESSES AND THE MEDIA TO MAKE CHANGES.
PRESSURE GROUPS Pressure groups can – be any size, from a few members to millions. be local, national or International. focus on single issue or multiple issues which are linked (e.g. environmental issues) be permanent groups or temporary and disband once their goal has been achieved.
BBC - Learning Zone Class Clips - Pressure groups - Citizenship and Modern Studies Video BBC - Learning Zone Class Clips - Pressure groups - Citizenship and Modern Studies Video
Why do people join pressure groups?? PGs enable individuals to participate in the national political process between elections. PGs are a useful way for individuals to participate in local politics. PGs ensure that minorities have a voice. PGs make the government aware of views of others than those of civil service or political parties. PGs can bring expert knowledge to attention of the government. PGs can generate new ideas that practising politicians often do not have time to consider. PGs can provide education on their areas of expertise. PGs can promote discussion and debate and mobilise public opinion on key issues. PGs can encourage participation.
Example of the mobilisation of public opinion The Arab spring.
Arab Spring The Arab Spring is a revolutionary wave of demonstrations and protests occurring in the Arab world against Government repression. These began on 17 December 2010 in Tunisia when Mohamed Bouaziz set fire to himself in protest at Police corruption.
Since then rulers have been forced from power in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen. There have also been uprisings in Bahrain and Syria and major protests have broken out in Algeria, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco and Oman.
Example of the mobilisation of public opinion Stop the War Coalition: Between 750,000-2,000,000 people took to the streets of London to voice their opposition to military action against Iraq in what became known as the 'Million' march against Iraq war on 16.02.03. Similar protests took place in Glasgow and Belfast as well as 60 countries across the world.
The Snowdrop campaign was formed immediately after the Dunblane massacre where 16 children and their teacher were murdered by Thomas Hamilton who held a legitimate hand gun licence. Its aim was to ban the private ownership of handguns across Britain in the hope of preventing such a tragedy from ever happening again. In July a group of organisers from the Snowdrop Campaign, including some of the bereaved families, travelled to the House of Commons in London to present a petition containing approximately 750,000 signatures. In November, 1997 the private ownership of all handguns became illegal in the UK. With their aim successfully completed, the Snowdrop Campaign quietly dissolved. Example of the mobilisation of public opinion
Poll Tax riots: A series of mass disturbances, or riots, in towns and cities during protests against the Community Charge (commonly known as the Poll Tax), introduced by the Conservative government led by Margaret Thatcher. The largest occurred in central London on 31.03.90.
Education Pressure groups perform a role in educating citizens about specific issues. These are issues in which the pressure groups themselves are experts in the field and therefore are in the know. What may be the problem with the information provided by the pressure groups?
Example of the educative role League Against Cruel Sports‘: campaigned for 80 years by informing the public about the cruelty of hunting and as such brought about the Hunting Act in 2004.
Example of the educative role Animal Aid: campaigns peacefully against animal abuse and promotes a cruelty- free lifestyle. It also investigates and exposes animal cruelty. Animal Aid produces campaign reports, leaflets and fact files, as well as educational and undercover videos. They also offer a quarterly magazine and a sales catalogue with cruelty- free products. These are offered free to schools.
Example of the educative role NICE (National Institute for Clinical Excellence): develops guidance and products by working with experts from the NHS, local authorities, and others in the public, private and voluntary sectors - including patients and the public. NICE will issue recommendations on matters related to Health.
Oxfam Education offers a huge range of ideas, resources and support for developing global learning in the classroom and the whole school. Example of the educative role Oxfam is an international confederation of 17 organizations working in approximately 90 countries worldwide to find solutions to poverty and related injustice around the world. Oxfam was originally founded in Oxford in1942 as the Oxford Committee for Famine Relief by a group of Quakers, social activists, and Oxford academics.
Encourage participation. Pressure Groups can enhance democratic participation and diversity. PG activity is a method of political participation in addition to voting.
Example of encouraging participation Britain in Europe: was the main pro-European pressure group. Initially founded to campaign for a “yes” vote for the euro, it then progressed to support a “yes” vote for the referendum on the European Constitution.
Example of encouraging participation Christian Aid: campaigns to change the rules and systems that keep people poor, speaking out on issues such as Tax Justice, trade justice, climate change, and Third World debt.
Single issues Groups raise and articulate issues that political parties perhaps won't touch because of their sensitivity. Can you think of any examples?
Example of single issue OutRage! is a British LGBT rights group that was formed to fight for equal rights of lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGBT) people in comparison to heterosexual people
Action on smoking and Health: seeks to publicise the risks associated with tobacco smoking and campaigns for greater restrictions on cigarette and tobacco sales. Example of single issue
The Electoral Reform Society promotes electoral reform.
Redress of grievance They provide an important access point for those seeking redress of grievance. Can you think of any examples?
Example of redress of grievance Gurkha Justice Campaign: wants the law to be changed so that all Gurkhas who fought for the UK will gain a right of abode, whereas under previous legislation they only had a right of abode if they retired after 1997. They took their case to the high court, and have the support of celebrity Joanna Lumley. Gurkhas allowed to settle in Britain - 22 May 09 – YouTube
Example of redress of grievance Mediawatch-UK: which campaigns against the publication and broadcast of media content that it views as harmful and offensive, such as violence, profanity, sex, homosexuality and blasphemy.
Example of redress of grievance NO2ID: formed in 2004 to campaign against government's plans to introduce UK ID Cards and National Identity Register, which it believed has negative implications for privacy, civil liberties and personal safety. NO2ID launched its public campaign with an online petition that gathered over 3,000 signatures in a little over four weeks, submitted just as the Labour Government introduced the first Identity Cards Bill in November 2004. In 2009 it was decided that ID cards were to be voluntary for UK citizens but compulsory for foreign nationals coming to the UK to live or work because they were too controversial and expensive.
Representation of minorities They represent minorities who cannot represent themselves. This could be because they are unable to connect with a political party or because they do not wish to be. Can you think of any examples?
Example of Representation of minorities Muslim Council of Britain: self-appointed body for national, regional, local and specialist organisations and institutions from different ethnic and sectarian backgrounds within British Islamic society. Established in 1997 to help Muslims, to increase education about the faith of Islam. Other aims include building a consensus and unity on Muslim affairs in Britain.
BBC - Learning Zone Class Clips - Outsider pressure groups - Citizenship and Modern Studies Video BBC - Learning Zone Class Clips - Outsider pressure groups - Citizenship and Modern Studies Video BBC - Learning Zone Class Clips - Insider pressure groups - Citizenship and Modern Studies Video BBC - Learning Zone Class Clips - Insider pressure groups - Citizenship and Modern Studies Video
Make Poverty History – YouTube Chaos at Bristol fathers4justice protest, 13 June 2008 – YouTube Chaos at Bristol fathers4justice protest, 13 June 2008 – YouTube Get involved | Greenpeace International