Why are some pressure groups more successful than others?
A pressure group is a group of people with specific aims and interests. Also known as interest groups, lobby groups or protest groups, they try to influence political decision makers such as MPs and councillors to influence local or national policy and/or legislation. They seek to do so, either to protect interests of members (e.g. Trade Unions, NUT) or promote a cause (e.g. Greenpeace or RSPCA). Not all pressure groups are as successful as others, and there are many reasons for this. One important area which determines the pressure group success is whether they have a good relationship with the government, or relevant authority (e.g. local council). Insider pressure groups (such as the BMA and the Law Society), are more likely to be able to directly influence policy. Insider pressure groups are often consulted on regulations in their area. Outsider pressure groups (such as the Fathers 4 Justice and CND) are unlikely to be able to take advantage of this influence, since there are generally not involved within legislative procedures. This is often due to their use of violent or illegal methods of protest. Another major contributing factor towards the success of a pressure group is to do with media. Pressure groups with the support of the media, and the wider public, have more chance of pressurising the government, to follow the pressure groups advice, however it can also have a off-putting effect if the media show the pressure group in a negative way. For example, if the Labour Government (1997) had refused to pass the amendment to the firearms act, campaigned for by Snowdrop, for the 4 years of their first term then it is possible that considerable pressure would have built up, possibly leading to their removal from office. This shows the importance of the media and public opinion to the success of a pressure group. Leadership of the pressure group is very important, and celebrity leadership can enhance...
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