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It could be argued that pressure groups have become more important in recent years. Membership to pressure groups, and the amount of them, has increased significantly. This has occured at a time where party membership has declined. Another increase in activity has been seen with the advent of the human rights act, which allowed the campaign group liberty to exert a high degree of influence. In the modern era, it is easier for pressure groups to broadcast their aims to the eneral public. They can therefore gain support quickly via cyberactivism, and co-ordinate protests easily on national and international scales. Supportin this is the fact that over 95% of pressure groups have a website. Politicians have often recognised the importance of outsider pressure groups, and sided with them for personal gain. Hazel Blears, for example, sided with a group tryin to ensure her local maternity unit remained open, whilst simultaneously supporting the government that tried to close it.

On the contrary, despite the increase in membership, pressure groups fail to wield any more power than they have in the past. The anti war demonstrators failed to influence parliament despite their large size. The recent success of the Gurkha Justice Campaign achieved its aims only with extremely significant support, such as high public sympathy, a high profile celebrity and an extensive media campaign. Furthermore, insider pressure groups continue to dominate influence on policy. Groups which are practically unheard of such as The Howard League have insider status despite a low membership. Minorities are seldom represented, as they are usually silenced under the weight of large, wealthy groups like the CBI.

Overall, there are a balanced rane of arguments to suggest that whilst pressure groups have become more popular, their importance and ability to influence policy has remained stagnant.

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Q: TO what extent have pressure groups become more important in recent years?
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Why is it important for interest groups to offer selective benefits?

It is necessary to limit the extent of the free-rider problem.

To what extent have interest groups created grants-in-aid and to what extent have grants-in-aid produced interest groups?


To what extent do pressure groups and special interests and political action committees contribute to the democratic process?

One place to start - Federalist #10 by James Madison.

How are pressure groups unrepresentative?


Why are some pressure groups more influential than others?

IntroductionA pressure group is an organization whose members seek to influence policies of public bodies or employers. They seek to do so, either to protect interests of members (e.g. Trade Unions, NUT) or promote a cause (e.g. Greenpeace or RSPCA). Not all pressure groups are as successful as others, and there are many reasons for this.One of the most important factors affecting the success of a pressure group is what constitutes success? There are varying degrees of success, dependent on the pressure group involved, ranging from a change in legislation to more localised change. For example, a pressure group campaigning against a local bypass, does not necessarily want legislation banning all bypasses. As a result the measure of the groups success would be the prevention of the bypass being built. However, there are certain areas which will affect the success of pressure groups.Relationship with decision making bodiesOne important area which determines pressure group success is the relationship with the government, or relevant authority (e.g. local council or European Union). Insider pressure groups (such as the BMA, or Police Federation), or pressure groups with regular contact within decision making bodies, are more likely to be able to directly influence policy. Insider pressure groups are often consulted on legislation in their 'area'. They therefore have a chance to influence legislation and 'steer' it in a direction supported by the group. Outsider pressure groups (such as the ALF and CND) are unlikely to be able to take advantage of this influence of legislation since there are generally not involved within legislative procedures. This is often due to 'unreasonable' demands or violent/illegal methods of protest.Relationship with the Media/PublicThe pressure groups relationship with the media can greatly affect the success of a pressure group, particularly outsider pressure groups. Pressure groups with the support of the media, and the wider public, have more chance of pressurising the government, or the decision making body, to follow the pressure groups advice. This is even more likely when the pressure group is trying to influence the government. This is because the government is accountable to the general public and if the government goes against public opinion on an important issue then this will have electoral consequences. For example, if the Labour Government (1997) had refused to pass the amendment to the firearms act, campaigned for by Snowdrop, for the 4 years of their first term then it is possible that considerable pressure would have built up, possibly leading to their removal from office. This shows the importance of the media and public opinion to the success of a pressure group. This could be crucial to the success of pressure groups which aim to provide information to the general public. Without the support of the media they would be unlikely to be able to gain sufficient coverage to empower the public. The support of a celebrity, such as Bob Geldof and the Live Aid campaign, can also increase the chances of a pressure groups success. Leadership of the pressure group is very important, and celebrity leadership can enhance the public image of the pressure group.Financial FactorsThe financial situation of a pressure group is another factor that can greatly affect the success or failure of the pressure group. This does not just include the funds available to the group, but also the ability to exercise financial power. A pressure group that is able to impose financial 'sanctions' on their targets is more likely to have success. An example of this in action is the September 2000 fuel protests. These eventually led to a reduction in fuel tax, due to the pressure placed upon the government. The funds which the pressure group has available are also important in the success of pressure groups. Without suitable funds pressure groups are unlikely to be able to successfully campaign. For example the Make Poverty History campaign would not have been able to raise the awareness of poverty in the way that they have, if they have not had a reasonable amount of money.ConclusionThe success or failure of pressure groups depends upon the criteria for success or failure. There are, however, certain factors which can lead to success or failure. Of these, the most important would be the relationship with decision making bodies. Without a good relationship a pressure group is unlikely to be able to reach any meaningful success.

Related questions

Why is it important for interest groups to offer selective benefits?

It is necessary to limit the extent of the free-rider problem.

To what extent have interest groups created grants-in-aid and to what extent have grants-in-aid produced interest groups?


To what extent do pressure groups and special interests and political action committees contribute to the democratic process?

One place to start - Federalist #10 by James Madison.

What is the Difference between interest groups and pressure groups?

Pressure groups are the organisations or the groups that attempt to influence government policies.

What are the importance of pressure groups in Zambia?

Pressure groups influence government decisions.

Why is single issue important to ensure an effective pressure group?

All the groups energy is in it to pass the single issue.

Are pressure groups related to politics?

Yes, pressure groups are closely related to politics. They are organizations that seek to influence government decisions on specific issues by lobbying policymakers and advocating for their interests. Pressure groups play a significant role in shaping political decisions and policy outcomes.

What percent of boys get peer pressure?

There is no definitive percentage that can be applied universally, as peer pressure experiences can vary among different groups of boys. Research suggests that peer pressure can affect a significant proportion of boys at some point during their development, but it is important to note that not all boys will experience peer pressure in the same way or to the same extent.

Interest groups were also known as what?

Pressure groups

Explain what pressure groups are?

Pressure Groups are the same thing as advocacy or lobby groups. They have an agenda, usually political, and use their arguments to pressure legislators to pass bills favorable to their cause.

How many pressure groups are active in the UK?

Over 7000 pressure groups are thought to operate in the UK.

Who are the international pressure groups?

is N.G.O a pressure group?