Pressure Groups Are Vital To Democracy School Year 12 Essay

2229 words - 9 pages

Politics Question
Evaluate the extent to which Pressure Groups are a vital part of a representative democracy [30 marks]
Targets: Writing and Expression needs to be clearer
Interim conclusion, clearly addressing the set question needed at the end of every
paragraph
The extent to which pressure groups - a group that tries to influence policy - are a vital part of a representative democracy can be assessed when taking into account the impact they hold on government, being absolutely necessary (vital). The system of representative democracy is one in which people elect representatives who take decisions on their behalf, these representatives can be removed in the next election if they have disregarded the wishes of their constituents. To uphold the beliefs of constituents between elections, pressure groups are - in theory - vital to upholding a representative democracy as they have the ability to cater for everyone at all times as well as compensating for the tyranny of the majority. However, in practice this has faults as the internal democracy of pressure groups as well as the increasing volumes of party membership allows the interpretation that pressure groups are not vital to representative democracy.
It can be argued that pressure groups are a vital part of a representative democracy due to their membership being open to all those that support their aim throughout the period of elections and thereby increasing political education. The Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 was introduced on September 15th creating a mandatory five year period between general elections unless the Prime Minister calls a snap election with the support of 2/3rd of MPs or in event of a hung parliament. Therefore, in the term of Parliament pressure groups can bridge the gap between elections influencing government attitudes and policy in order to provide a voice to the entire population (not just the electorate) and so are vital to representative democracy. This is proven by pressure groups campaigning to have an impact after the June 2016 result on leaving the European Union and the triggering of Article 50 on 29th March 2017. The European Movement UK argues that UK citizens should retain their right for EU citizenship and likewise for existing EU citizens of the UK. A cause to which they believe the 16 million people who voted against Brexit have the democratic to retain, this aim is supported by the popularity of the group whom have 47 branches and by their lobbying for continued membership on 25th October 2017 which crowdfunded £52,000. The campaigning after the period of the European Union Referendum 2016 by pro-European Union pressure groups allows the voices of the 48.1% who voted remain to agree for the best compromise in Brexit through influencing secondary legislation. Likewise, as the electorate does not encompass sections of society such as under 18 year olds, prisoners and the mentally ill pressure groups allow the voicing of sections of society. The pressure group Shelter provide a platform for the rights of homeless citizens in the UK, with 238,000 twitter followers amongst them notable figures such as Jeremy Corbyn. As they cannot vote themselves Shelter demonstrate pressure on policy achieving success, such as that of the Homelessness Act 2002. In which it introduced an essential approach to homelessness prevention. This proves they are vital to including all areas of society left out in a general election mandate and so upholding that of a representative democracy. By bridging the gap between elections and influencing government due to public awareness and gaining the ear of government the electorate is widely educated. For instance, the media coverage surrounding pressure group influence and media coverage such as the anti-establishment group for the annual Million Mask March with expected 20,000 turnout. These groups decrease political apathy and instead allow the encouragement of influence of government policy, amplified by social media which can start fire brigade campaigns at significant pace as well as the evolution of New Social Movements. The variety of platforms of which pressure groups can impact society and the government mean they are vital to the workings of representative democracy as they cover all aspects of life, at all times and in all age categories better reflecting the needs of society.
A further way in which pressure groups are vital to the system of representative democracy is that they help compensate the tyranny of the majority. Through the electoral system, First Past the Post, the MP elected can win with a very small majority - such as North East Fife which was won by the SNP with a 2 vote margin - meaning that the viewpoints of the rest of the constituency are unrepresented for the rest of the term. The use of pressure groups to represent the views of the opposing constituents are crucial with keeping the beliefs of contrasting parties, allowing all constituents to be represented as in a true representative democracy. The tyranny of the majority is especially useful in smaller cases which would usually go under the radar of the public eye. Howard’s League campaigned to implement the European Court of Justice’s Human Rights ruling that prisoners should be allowed the right to suffrage. After 12 years campaigning the campaign achieved a degree of success, due to the circumstances of the time as Labour announced support, when ‘hundreds’ of prisoners on a 12 month sentence or less were granted the ability to vote. In a true democracy everyone has the right to a say on the policy that would effect them. This is provided in New Social Movements such as an increase in women rights and mothers rights. These social movements are emphasised through the use of social media and coverage in the press. They aim to not only influence policy but change in attitudes. The group, Pregnant Then Screwed organised the March of the Mummies to lobby against discrimination in the workplace against mothers in which 70,000 women have been forced out of their jobs due to pregnancy. The success of the protest is supported by the early day motion sponsored by Caroline Lucas supporting workplace rights. The pressure group influence allows the inference they are vital to a representative democracy by exposing injustices that would have gone unnoticed, especially due to the political climate of 2017 the government are fixated on Brexit and therefore without the use of pressure groups welfare issues would be neglected, thus pressure groups become vital to representative democracy. However, the argument that it would prevent a tyranny of the majority can be contradicted in practice as a tyranny of the minority may emerge. Dispersion of power is not always guaranteed creating bias to the groups which hold the ear of government. Crucially these lead to neglecting the principle that government policy should reflect the needs of society as a whole. Therefore, in theory pressure groups stop the tyranny of the majority making them important they are not vital as they do not extinguish their internal democratic system (such as the revolving door policy) and can hold a tyranny themselves, thus do not hold strong legitimacy.
A contradictory argument is that pressure groups are not vital to representative democracy due to the prevalence of elitist pressure groups rather than pluralist. The dispersion of power is not always attained. Think tank relationships such as the Policy Exchange, popular within Cameron’s Conservative government, cause influence in certain governments with bias towards party policy. The elitist system means that a policy community has close and continual communication with the pressure group allowing the inference that they are not vital to representative democracy as they merely side with the existing policy of party in charge, the insight they provide therefore does not reflect other views of society and so serves no purpose to upholding the representative, democratic right of the people. This is supported by the notion that the change in government means the change in the policy communities. Although, this could be perceived as consultation for and against a bill, making them representative of wider range of society’s views. These new policy communities will then be loyal to that existing party such as the IPPR who’s purpose is to invigorate leftwing thinking - so naturally would be out of favour in a Conservative government. However, since the MP expenses scandal emerging from 2009 after the 2008 Freedom of Information Act led to the criminal charges of several MPs including David Chaytor, Parliament has made a move towards transparency in government to eliminate the risk of public outrage. The introduction of new social movements and pressure group influence allows the inference that elitism is being subsided and a shift to a pluralist pressure group system meaning that pressure groups have become vital to democracy. However, the disproportionate system of influence is demonstrated within new social movements such as the Occupy Movement. Public outrage organised into the ‘we are the 99%’ Occupy protests worldwide reflected the public anger at social and economic inequality. Under the definition of representative democracy this would exert its influence on policy to prohibit the tax avoidance of corporations such as Starbucks and Amazon. However, corporations (as pressure groups themselves) have detrimental control over the economy. Even though they cause major public furore they navigate waivers to paying tax by the creation of jobs and contributions to the economy, such as Starbucks creating 800 jobs within 2012. This proved little success to the Occupy Movement and so proves they are not vital to representative democracy. Therefore, the most successful groups are those wealthiest and closest to government and so the elitism of pressure groups makes them dispensable in a representative democracy.
A further argument is that the increasing participation through party membership means that pressure group influence is not the only way in which government policy can be scrutinised. Other forms of representation, such as under 18’s being able to join political parties, means influence can be exerted under different systems in a more effective and vital way on representative democracy than that of pressure groups. Douglas Herd dubbed pressure group’s ‘strangling serpents’, rather than supporting government policy they stop effective running of government and so cannot represent the views of the whole of society, enforcing a tyranny of the minority. The BMA’s junior doctors strike over a lack of out of hours pay on Saturday work meant the April 26th and 27th walkouts held a ‘stangle’ hold over the workings of the NHS. The power held by one singular party does not consider the impact on the entire society forcing their beliefs on government disproportionately to the rest of the public. This means they are not reflective and vital in a representative democracy as they neglect all opinions, making pressure groups ego-tropic and not socio-tropic. Pressure group’s are also proven as more effective when the parties in parliament achieve a political consensus such as in the development of HS2. The circumstances of the time dictate the effectiveness of pressure groups and in times of turmoil are set aside. Therefore, if pressure groups are most successful when political ideologies are united the need for pressure groups should therefore be eradicated. Though this can be disagreed with as the purpose of a pressure group is to scrutinise policy. They should be vital in representative democracy no matter what the beliefs of the government are, due to public opinion changing. The use of different access points such as the judiciary and devolved assemblies leads to pluralism of pressure groups, becoming vital in the system of representative democracy. These can be disregarded in certain forms of pressure groups which achieve rapid success in fire brigade campaigns such as the Snowdrop Campaign which gained 750,000 signatures in 6 weeks. Participation and membership in pressure is then still vital to their own dynamic and that of a representative democracy. As this evolved from the tragedy of the Dunblane Massacre and transcended cross party lines greatest success became vital to a representative democracy as they instantly effected the government policy on handheld weapons. Furthermore, the development of different access points and pluralism with political party membership and select committees on the increase the vitality of pressure groups is less important as scrutiny and influence of the government can manifest in several forms.
In conclusion, pressure groups are an vital part of representative democracy in theory but not in practice as the principles of representative democracy and system of parliament hinder the effectiveness of pressure groups. Therefore, they are vital but due to the emergence of social media and growth in party membership these opportunities are becoming important in influencing policy but not vital unlike pressure groups. The principle way in which pressure groups uphold representative democracy is by bridging the gap between elections and allowing a voice to all sections of the population and thus influencing policy. Education also means that a wider electorate can influence policy in elections to come. Compensating the tyranny of the majority however has problems when taking into account the workings of parliament. In order to be vital pressure groups must be successful and as those who are most successful are the wealthiest, closest to government they present bias and unfair opportunities between all pressure groups like that of the BMA contrast to Greenpeace. Thus, in practice the bias and circumstances of the time make pressure groups important but not vital to representative democracy as they can create their own system of bias.

RELATED

Reader-centred approach to Oscar Wilde's ‘A Picture of Dorian Gray’ - merrimac state high school, year 12 - essay

3039 words - 13 pages obligations. Thus, the text is a portrayal of the idea that social and moral obligations are not justifications for a downfall. On the contrary, an individual's revolutionary discarding of them in coalescence with the infatuation of peculiar desires is the causation for the individual’s ruination. Dorian embodies the tangible form of such ruination. At initiation, Dorian conveyed the image of an individual with consideration to social and moral

More of a list of what things you can do to become a millionaire. These are things listed are vital to becoming a millionaire

365 words - 2 pages a year instead of 12 payments.3. Give up some things. Stop buying so much fast food. Don't spend money on things you want, spend money on things you need.4. If you are in debt with credit cards, GET RID OF THEM! Then raise payments on your credit card bills 50%. You'll pay it off quicker this way.5. Right down or make a spreadsheet of where all your money goes.Bi-Weekly PlanYou will pay $13,000 a year for a house with this plan.2 years = $26,0003 years = $39,0004 years = $52,0005 years = $65,0006 years = $78,0007 years = $91,0008 years = $104,0009 years = $117,00010 years = $130,000

Texts relating to the period After the Bomb - freshwater senior campus, year 12 - essay

1263 words - 6 pages iconography and the subsequent shifting economic paradigms of militarism to a type of ‘Americanisation of Japan’ as cultural and economic imperatives drove links with America. The Americanisation of Japanese culture reflects the political and personal implications for these two groups, leaving them alienated in the face of the significant human suffering that occurred, therefore reinforcing how life was destroyed during the period After The Bomb

Wilfred Owen's poetry and the links to images of horror - Year 12 - Essay

1462 words - 6 pages Wilfred Owen Essay Throughout his body of work, Wilfred Owen powerfully conveys the horror and pity of war, confronting the reader with extraordinary images of intense human suffering. Owen exploits the medium of poetry to offer a vitriolic critique of the brutality of war, portraying the chaotic setting of WW1 and exposing the propagandist government’s betrayal of generations of young boys who were forced to endure this suffering in service of

Discovery Essay Advanced English - Year 12 - Essay

1436 words - 6 pages Stewart states; “I heard you are a teacher, well I will be teaching you everything today”. Trudeau replies with: “Well, a good teacher never stops learning, teach me everything you know Stewart”. Through acceptance of learning he was able to really comprehend the impoverished lives these people live. Negative Aspects: Negative aspects of discovery are present within the entirety of the documentary. Statistics and personal stories are key

A Clockwork Orange and A Streetcar Named Desire- Dysfunctional family relationships - Haybridge High School year 12 - Essay

1713 words - 7 pages ”. This suggests the lack of parental control his family have over Alex, their “only son and heir”. Burgess uses metaphoric qualities where “thine only son and heir” could emphasise the role of his parents shaping up Alex’s character not classed as significant since they are vulnerable to Alex’s violent occupations, clearly implying Alex’s family are of a weak structure where his parents refuse to challenge Alex’s behaviour. This metaphor could

Do animals Deserve to have rights? - Oakmont High School ERWC 12 - essay

847 words - 4 pages Morton Abbie Morton Baldwin ERWC English 12 30 January 2018 Animal Rights Whether animals have feelings and emotions has been a conversation the human race has been having for decades. Do pigs really care if they are stuffed into compact cages, unable to move around freely, until they are inevitably sent to a slaughter house in order to feed our covetous mouths? Are alluring, exotic animals such as the orcas at Seaworld bothered about the fact

Are Smartphones Ruining a Generation? - English 12 - Argumentive Response Essay

1276 words - 6 pages and say demeaning, awful things about other people on social media, or just messaging in general. Cyberbullying has dramatically increased as smartphones and social media begin to become more popular. Boys tend to bully or resolve their situations physically where girls are more likely to take their issues online. Suicide rates among 12-to-14 year old girls has increased three times the amount it was from 2007 to 2015. Girls are more likely to

Business Assignment 1 2018 essay - Year 12 - Assignmnet

5683 words - 23 pages being in the United Kingdom. Oxfam Germany has around 75 shops and Oxfam Australia has around 20 shops. Many of these shops are specialised, such as books, music, and furniture and in some, bridalwear. In the United Kingdom, there are around 100 specialised bookshops or book and music shops. Because of these shops, Oxfam is the largest retailer of second-hand books in Europe, selling around 12 million books per year. Oxfam is a not-for-profit

Sport science practical write up - year 12 - essay

1339 words - 6 pages it could be said that stress leads to anxiety which manifests itself as arousal. Trait and state anxiety are a psychological response to nervousness or worry. It generally brings with it a sense of unease about something with an uncertain outcome. It causes an increase in heart rate and blood pressure, but also increased nervousness. Anxiety stimulates our flight or fight response, releasing adrenaline into the blood stream. Both trait and state

The Tsar and the First World War - Year 12 - Essay

1195 words - 5 pages revolutionaries. As Kirpichnikov, a young peasant sergeant urging revolt from the army “it would be better to die with honour than to obey any further orders to shoot the crowds: ‘Our fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers and brides are begging for food,’ I said. ‘Are we going to kill them?” It is clear, on the surface that this supports the notion that the war provoked the collapse of Romanov rule- the sergeant uses “our” to describe those the Tsar

How to stay healthy while having to deal with year 12 stress - English/French - Speech

436 words - 2 pages How to stay healthy while dealing with yr 12 stress Fellow students of year 12, I will be talking about how to stay healthy while having to deal with exams and stress. During exams, many students tend to push themselves to study and not care about their surroundings but most of the time, this ends up with infinite hours of studying, insufficient amounts of sleep and irregular diet and exercise. This can end up causing sickness both physically

What Are Some Of The Disadvantages Of Using Focus Groups? Discuss Two Recent Trends In Focus Group Research And Explain Why You Think These Have Evolved. Use References To Support Your Opinions

1685 words - 7 pages A focus group is a form of qualitative research in which a group of people is asked about their attitude towards a product, concept, advertisement, idea, or packaging (Blankenship et al. 1998). Focus groups usually consist of 8 to 10 members and are headed by a moderator to keep track of things and make sure that every member of the group participates in the discussion. In the world of marketing and marketing research, focus groups are one of

high school should make uniform mandatory - Grade 12 assignment - Essay

479 words - 2 pages reduce the chances of bullying. Additionally, it has a positive impact on school environment by promoting the idea that everyone is equal. Students get to have a better understanding of themselves and are advocated in the idea that their commonalities with each other are more important rather than the differences. Lastly, school uniforms can save valuable class time. A good portion of this valuable time can be saved if schools have a strict

hamlet speech is a speech about hamlet for year 12 advanced english. - james ruse agricultrual high school - speech

4776 words - 20 pages their speeches. Through the analysis of these texts, it is found that different composers, according to events that are occurring around their time, create a distinctive voice to portray their message. (Add a sentence about the essay question) MARTIN LUTHER KING In the speech I have a dream, King aimed his speech to encourage individuals to work against racism, and to let all the Americans know that they would no longer accept inequality. With his