Pressure Groups. Definition : Organized groups whose aim is to influence public policy or to protect or advance a particular cause or interest.
Pressure groups and political parties – parties seek to win public office and from the government while groups seek to influence public policy. Parties focus on the national interest whereas groups may be concerned may be concerned with sectional issues/single issues.
Public support – pressure groups that enjoy high public support have greater have greater political influence than those with little support.
Importance of pressure groups not an idea universally accepted. An argument for the decline of pressure groups based on two developments:
Theories of pressure groups: elitism and plurism.
The UK is said to have a pluralist political culture. The ensures that pressure are tolerated and protected from discrimination so long as they do not break the law, adopt racist ideas, incite others to commit crimes or threaten the security of the state.