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Pressure Groups Essay

1579 words - 7 pages

Pressure groups are known to be small and extremely diverse formed on the basis of interest and activities, their functions give them a high public profile where minds are influenced and driven to make change. “A Pressure group is an organisation which seeks to influence the details of a comparatively small range of public policies and which is not a function of a recognised political party” (Baggott, 1995: p.2). An aim of pressure groups is to generate support which can influence political agendas; this can directly persuade the government to consider taking action. In this essay I will concentrate upon exploring on various issues on pressure groups, discussing the ...view middle of the document...

The political process can also benefit from this as they ensure that the media will concentrate on issues that will benefit them the most. “Exerting influence on government and the policy making process is the ultimate aim of pressure groups” (Lowe and Goyder, 1983, p79). In Paul Smith a ‘study of pressure group behaviour’. This quote again highlights the aim of pressure groups as they want their marginalised voices to be heard by the people that can have an immediate influence on policy making process.

Pressure groups represent, influence and build upon the public; they have to demonstrate further political support to gain their position. Achieved through parliamentary lobbying, however a group must show that they have a strong support system. Public opinion is essential and important in society, concerns by the public is easily expressed through pressure groups. an example “Shelter and the child poverty action group in the 1960’s reflected a wider public concern about the failure of the welfare state to provide for the poor” (Baggott, 1995: p. 168). This example Represent both citizens interest and political views. Grant (1989) identifies the two types of groups, the ‘Insider and Outsider’ group. Insiders are seen as legit as they are recognised by the government and consulted on a regular basis; however outsiders are not as recognisable as Insiders due to their relationship status with the government. Grant states the 3 categories of outsider groups one of which is the potential insider groups; this is achieved by a strategy acceptable in the eyes of the government another is outsiders are less knowledgeable than an insider lastly an outsider group can refuse to reform to an insider because of the fundamental nature of their aims. “The implication of Grants distinction is that insider status is linked to effectiveness. The assumption appears to be that most groups will seek insider status” (Baggott, 1995). However Clements and Wright begs the differ in a study where they found that although group could seek insider status it is not always effective. “Local governments went from ‘outsiders’ to ‘insiders’ in the New Blair government but insider status does not guarantee success in achieving desired policy goals, as the local Government Association found (Clements and Wright, The British Political Process: An Introduction, (2000) pp.138). It is possible for an outsider to play an important role of public policy by mobilising public sentiment, an example shown by the anti-poll tax federation. There are different methods used to achieve an objective, Insider groups use the influence in Westminster and Whitehall and route to outsider help only when their voices are unheard. While outsider groups are more likely to depend on the media and it’s public to spread their message as well as to raise funds. It is important to state the combination of both insider and outsider model as an insider group can part take in both but with great...

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