2Pressure GroupsLearning ObjectivesTo develop an understanding of pressure groups, their roles, aims and strategies.To examine the differences between political parties and pressure groups.To research why some pressure groups are more successful than others in achieving their aims.
3Past Exam QuestionsReferring to A campaign you know, briefly examine the extent to which it achieved its aims? (20)Referring to a campaign you know, evaluate the role of the media in contributing to its success or failure. (20)Briefly examine why some pressure group campaigns are more successful than others.(20)Assess the views that those who use extra-parliamentary action are more successful than those who use parliamentary action?(20)
4What is a Pressure Group? An organised group that seeks toInfluence Government policy.Protect or advance a particular interest or cause.Promote a specific issue and raise it onto the public agendaPressure Groups operate at different levels of political life.LocalNationalInternational (inc European Union and major global institutions)Groups are important channels of influence between groups of people and Government.Pressure groups do not look for the power of political office for themselves, but do seek to influence the decisions made by those who do hold this political power
5Key roles of Interest Groups - Promote discussion and debate in a Democracy.- Role in educating citizens about specific issues.- Enhances democratic participation and diversity.- Raises issues of importance that political parties will shy away from because of their sensitive nature.- Access point for those seeking redress of grievance.- Represent minorities who cannot represent themselves.- Specialist source of information that can be used to help the legislature and civil service.- Important role in implementing public policy.- Pressure groups encourage a decentralisation of power.
6Pressure Groups and Political Parties Pressure Groups are different from mainstream political parties.They have different organisational interests and objectives.Political parties seek representation and power whereas Groups in the main seek to influence power.Pressure Groups are normally concerned with a specific issue and would have no interest in taking responsibility for the running of the country.
7Some links between Pressure Groups and Political Parties Importance of political participation at all levels.Some organisational links between some groups and political parties.Trade Union financial support for the Labour Party.Corporate donations to all parties.Many MP’s, Peers and MEP’s are also members of Pressure Groups.
8Inside or Outside Pressure Group One basic distinction is between Insider and Outsider groups. Insider groups are those which develop close relationships with government departments or other official bodies. They are trusted by the departments and negotiate quietly, unobtrusively for their members – often on issues which most citizens would not recognise or understand.Outsider groups lack such close and business-like links with government. Lacking recognition from the top, they will seek to convert and mobilise public opinion, often using demonstrations and rallies. Outsider groups often attract more attention in the press and from citizens than Insider groups – but that is usually a sign of their weakness.
9What Constitutes Success? A change in the way the Government responds to an issue (e.g. foot and mouth, fuel tax protests).A change in the law either through an amendment to existing legislation or through new legislation.Increased public awareness.Preventing or delaying action e.g. building a bypass.
10Factors Behind Success Political compatibility with the Government of the day.-Traditionally the Unionists have had more success with labour and organised business with the Conservatives).- Inside outside pressure group.Financial wealth and other resources.-Main business lobby groups who have control over major economic resources e.g. Confederation of Business and Industry).Quality of organisation.-Reputation and authority of leaders.- Quality of research and information available to policy makersSuccess in achieving mobilisation in support (creation of a critical mass that demands action)- strength and size of public opinion.-successful use of public figures to front a campaign.Ability to cause major disruption e.g. fuel cut protests lead by the Road Haulage Association and Farmers for action
11Some Recent Campaigns Campaign for Sarah www.forsarah.com Gun Control CampaignThe Stephen Lawrence CampaignThe Greenpeace Book Campaign
12Good Case Studies of Protest Snowdrop- Gun reforms post Dunblane ( )Greenpeace- Brent Spar CampaignRoad Haulage Businesses and Road Taxes (Autumn 2000)Survivors against silicon- effects of breast implants operations.Countryside Alliance and Rural issues (inc fox hunting).Trade Unions and the National Minimum WageLocal campaigns to abolish Grammer Schools.Betting and Gaming industry- removal of betting tax in the UK.National Farmers Union and Vaccination (Foot and Mouth)