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Pressure Groups

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  • March 2013
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PRESSURE GROUPS ARE AN INTEGRAL PART OF ANY SOCIETY. CRITICALLY DISCUSS.

According to Duncan Watts, a pressure group can be an organized group that seeks to influence government policy or protect or advance a particular cause or interest. They can also be described as ‘interest groups’, ‘lobby groups’ or ‘protest groups.’ Some people avoid using the term ‘pressure group’ as it can mistakenly be interpreted as meaning the groups use actual pressure to achieve their aims, which does not necessarily happen. The term pressure group has a very broad definition that does not clearly distinguish between the groups that fall under the term. For example, In Britain we see a pressure group can be a huge organisation like the CBI (Confederation of British Industry), which represents 150,000 businesses, and it can also be a single-issue locally based organisation like CLARA (Central Area Leamington Resident’s Association), which represents less than 300 households campaigning to preserve and improve the town of Leamington Spa. The definition also does not distinguish between the more extreme pressure groups such as the Animal Liberation Front, whose campaigns include the illegal activities such as planting bombs, and the pressure groups such as the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), which has links to the Labour government and regular contact with cabinet ministers. (Richard Kimber, Jeremy Richardson, Pressure Groups in Britain) Pressure Groups are particularly different from Political Parties in a way that parties seek representation and power whereas groups in the main seek political influence. Parties often focus on the national interest whereas groups may be concerned with sectional issues/single issues. There are two types of pressure groups. The Sectional Interest Groups which represents common interests of a particular section of society membership is often closed/restricted sectional groups seek to represent the majority of their...