A pressure group is an organised group that seeks to influence government policy, public opinions or protect or advance a particular cause or interest. Groups may promote a specific issue and raise it up the political agenda, represent a particular section in society or they may have more general political and ideological objectives in mind when they campaign. In this essay I am going to analyse the significant changes in the nature and activities of pressure groups that have occurred in recent years and use examples accordingly.
In recent times, the importance of the role of pressure groups has been increasing and is likely to continue to do so. A reason for this is the increasing participation in pressure group politics. Membership of pressure groups has been growing substantially whereas in contrast, membership of political parties has been declining. Therefore, this suggests that the general interest in politics has not decreased but the nature of interest and participation is rapidly changing as more people are becoming frustrated with the political parties and so they are turning to pressure groups that campaign for specific issues or causes. An example of this may be the Liberal Democrats Party which has lost support from some people because of its changing views relating to civil liberties. In order to be able to govern the country, the Liberal Democrats like all the other main political parties have had to adapt their policies and viewpoints such as their standpoint on civil liberties in order to gain approval and support of the public. In doing this, they have lost support of some people who believe that liberties and freedoms take precedence over everything else in a healthy and well-run society. These individuals have thus turned to pressure groups such as Liberty because they believe that this group represents the public's best interests in terms of liberties and that they are far