To what extent do pressure groups enhance democracy?

Mind Map by gillespie_h_, updated more than 1 year ago
Created by gillespie_h_ over 5 years ago


Mind Map on To what extent do pressure groups enhance democracy?, created by gillespie_h_ on 10/15/2014.

Resource summary

To what extent do pressure groups enhance democracy?
1 Introduction
1.1 Overall statement E.G. there are many arguments on both sides of the scale.
1.1.1 State what my opinion is. Yes, they do enhance democracy, as they provide an additional avenue for participation, at a time when some other more traditional forms are waning.
2 Paragraph 1: Yes they do enhance democracy
2.1 Point 1
2.1.1 Pressure groups acts as crucial channels of communication between people and government. They express public opinion, transmit public demands and express public attitudes to issues/policies. EXAMPLE: Shelter (promotional) - campaign to end homelessness and bad housing in England and Scotland and are fighting for laws and policies to improve.
2.2 Point 2
2.2.1 The decline in the importance and status of parties in recent times has made the representative role of pressure groups especially significant. Parties are less ideological and politics in general is more centred on issues. Pressure groups are better equipped to represent and make demands associated with single issues. EXAMPLE: National Union of teachers (outsider + sectional) - fighting for fairer pay for teachers, 326,930 members in Wales and England and achieved a 1% pay rise for teachers.
3 Paragraph 2: Yes they do enhance democracy
3.1 Point 1
3.1.1 Groups play an essential role in moderating the views of their more extreme members. Without such groups, individuals with extreme views might never have their views challenged and changed.
3.2 Point 2
3.2.1 Pressure groups allow the strength (i.e. intensity) of opinions to be expressed, as opposed to simply counting the number of people supporting a view - as happens at elections. EXAMPLE: Students Against Uni Fees (insider + sectional) - The 2010 UK student protest were a series of demonstrations in November and December, held in opposition to planned spending cuts to further education and increase of the cap on tuition fees by the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government.
4 Paragraph 3: No they don't enhance democracy
4.1 Point 1
4.1.1 The quality of participation offered by pressure groups is often very low, even where membership is high. Many members do little more than pay their annual membership fee. This is referred to as 'passive membership' or 'cheque-book membership'. EXAMPLE: Greenpeace (outsider + promotional) - 2.9 million members, some of which do not participate with anything the party do.
4.2 Point 2
4.2.1 pressure groups do not compete on an equal financial footing. Less wealthy groups find it far harder to access the policy-making process. EXAMPLE: Fathers for Justice (outsider + sectional) - rely on size and equality of membership and the availability of technical skills (human resource) such as, in November 2004 member Jason Hatch climbed the walls of Buckingham Palace dressed as batman.
5 Paragraph 4: No they don't enhance democracy
5.1 Point 1
5.1.1 Groups tend to be more successful where they have articulate, educated leading members. This tends to favour groups run by the middle classes, thus favouring elitism over pluralism. EXAMPLE: Confederation of British Industry - the UK's premier business lobbying organisation providing a voice for empolyers at a national and international level.
5.2 Point 2
5.2.1 Pressure group activity gets in the way of joined-up government. EXAMPLE: Animal Liberation Front - method of direct action (violence), the raid on Oxford Laboratory Animal Colonies in Bicester
6 Conclusion
6.1 UNDERMINE DEMOCRACY: as they give unnecessary influence to wealthy, well-educated groups (elitism over pluralism), they hinder the government's efforts to deliver joined-up government and many groups lack legitimacy.
6.2 ENHANCE DEMOCRACY: they provide people the chance to get their voices heard and get involved with politics.
Show full summary Hide full summary


(9) Has there been a decline in pressure groups?
Marcus Danvers
(5) The functions of Pressure Groups continued
Marcus Danvers
(10) Do Pressure groups strength democracy
Marcus Danvers
(7) How do Pressure Groups become more powerful
Marcus Danvers
(4) Functions of a pressure group
Marcus Danvers
(2) Classification of pressure groups
Marcus Danvers
(3) Main distinctions between parties and pressure groups
Marcus Danvers
UK Pressure Groups Examples
Emily Bevis
(8) How do pressure groups become more powerful continued
Marcus Danvers
Pressure Groups - Influence On Politics
Athira Manoj
Pressure groups
Maya buxton-reca