Decision-Making in Central Government. Pressure Groups. What Are Pressure Groups?. Often individuals have to go beyond party politics to achieve their aims. Not everyone will have voted for the current government – therefore not everyone will be satisfied with its policies.
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Pressure Groups are non-elected
organisations which try to influence
government decision-making on behalf of
There are two types of pressure groups:
They are able to do more than groups which have less money e.g. groups like the Countryside Alliance often have more media success than anti-fox hunting groups.
Some groups that oppose animal testing e.g Animal Aid, may break into laboratories and release the animals used for testing. This brings a pressure group into conflict with the law and can cause resentment among the public.
Despite widespread support, a pressure group may have little influence over government decisions. Any consultation between pressure groups and the government takes place behind closed doors and it is difficult to assess the overall influence a pressure group can have.
The decision-making process within some pressure groups often ignores the wishes of its membership. Leaders are often appointed for life, making it difficult for members to change policy or make the leadership accountable.
For example the Automobile Association (AA) is often consulted about proposed changes to transport policy in the UK. Policies that develop from this process will be based on the latest evidence and will have a greater chance of gaining public support.
For example, the anti-poll tax campaign in the 1980s was successful in getting the government to change a system of local taxation that was making poor people poorer.
Often the views of small groups are ignored because they do not impact on the majority of people in the population.
Pressure groups are more likely to be involved in single issues. If people actively participate, it must be good for democracy. For example, more than 8 million people are members of trade unions. This gives them the opportunity to campaign for the rights of workers.