Pressure Groups Getting Involved POL771 - [email protected] 1 Join a pressure group? Joining a pressure group can provide us with continuous opportunities for involvement and communication with government Membership of political parties has declined and yet membership of new social movements especially environmental has increased
correspondingly. (Nye, 1997) 2 Sectional or Interest Groups Are mostly motivated by the particular economic interests of their members, e.g. Trade unions, professional bodies such as the BMA, British Medical Association Membership of sectional groups is limited to those who are part of the specific interest, such as miners,
doctors 3 Cause Groups Promote an idea that is not related to the personal interests of its members, e.g. Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG), Ramblers Association, Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth But note, the two types of pressure groups are not mutually exclusive; they regularly seek to influence each other
4 Other species of group include Peak organisations (umbrella groups who represent broad bands of groups such as employers, i.e. the CBI and the TUC) Fire brigade groups (form in reaction to a specific problem and dissolve when issues are solved. Often single issue groups) Episodic groups (usually non-political but will campaign when their interests are affected i.e. sports clubs campaigning for
more school playing fields) 5 Pressure Groups & Govt Groups can be useful to government; offering necessary expertise on policy Groups may know about possible resistance to a new line of policy Support by a group can help to legitimise policy 6
Wyn Grant (1985) Highprofile insiders Low profile insiders Prisoner groups Insider groups
Potential insider Outsider groups by necessity Ideological Outsider outsider groups groups 7 To get heard Authority
Information Compatibility of objectives with those of the government Compatibility with public sympathies Reliable track record Possession of powerful sanctions 8 From peaceful to violent protest Working for a pressure group often means working hard at routine jobs, stuffing envelopes, petitioning
Trade unions threaten to use the denial of function approach Some groups test the law Others will go further and deliberately break the law as part of their strategy 9 Direct Action A change in political culture over the last decade; direct action is increasingly respectable Why? Endorsement of the middle classes
and this is Crucial in terms of how the media cover such stories 10
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