Political parties are a large part of the government. Even they are not supposed to, they basically control the government. Nominations and campaigns utilize a lot of time, energy, and money. Lastly, elections and voting behavior are the final step for one to obtain presidency. Political parties are a big part of the government.
In today’s political world, it is sometimes difficult to distinguish between pressure groups and political parties. Although there are certain differences between the two, there are factors which make the lines blur Firstly, both parties and pressure groups have input in the legislative process. Insider groups have influence on government and often an important decision may be made as a result of a powerful stunt done by a pressure group. Also, some top pressure groups are funded by the taxpayers money which blurs the distinction between them and political parties. State-funded PG include ASH and Greenpeace.
If bills get past the committee stage, members can make influential recommendations as they are perceived to be policy specialists. This could mean it is harder to gather enough votes due to the range of evidence provided and therefore the bill can be rejected at the 2nd or 3rd readings. The issue of ‘pork-barrel’ politics also arises in the committee stage. Congressmen may insert ‘earmarks’ into bills, which is a provision that gives money to a particular Congressman’s state. In order for many bills to get passed there is often a need for compromise between members of Congress as such favours are often exchanged in order to gain crucial votes on legislation.
The representative functions of parliament are simply to make new legislature and scrutinise it for any possible negative effects it may have on the country and to represent the people in what they want to be done and bring up certain issues that worry them in government. Under the FPTP system each MP has to represent a constituency of around 70,000 people and 650 MP’s gather in the House of Commons, so in theory this seems like an effective way to represent the whole population. On the other hand there is very strong pressure for the MP’s to represent their party’s through the whip systems and strict party discipline. This is even more powerful because of the doctrine of the mandate, which means they are obliged to agree with their party. First Past the Post is an electoral system which is meant to have a very strong MP-constituency link.
One can argue in many ways that the PM has become increasingly dominant in recent years. This dominance can be portrait through different theories e.g. Cabinet government; PM government; Presidential government and through a constant flux of events. Due to this there are PMs who dominate the political and those who do not. It is said that the PM is ‘first among equals’ within their cabinet, all important decisions are discussed in Cabinet, however the PM ultimately makes the final decision, this can also act as a constraint on the PM’s dominance.
To what extent are pressure groups coming more important in recent years? Pressure Groups are organised groups of people who come together, with a common cause with the intention of influencing government policy and/or public opinion. They are a key part of modern democracies. Some examples include Greenpeace, BMA (British Medical Association), CBI (Confederation of British Industry), the National Trust, and groups like the RSPCA. Pressure groups are becoming more powerful and influential and important in enhancing democracy.
This doesn’t just include the funds available to the group, but also the ability to exercise financial power. A pressure group that is able to impose financial sanctions on their targets is more likely to have success. An example of this in action is the September 2000 fuel protests. These eventually led to a reduction in fuel tax, due to the pressure placed upon the government. The funds which the pressure group has available are also important in the success of pressure groups.
So before coming to a conclusion both sides will need to be considered, yes they are needed for a democracy and no they are not. There are many arguments to support the view that pressure groups are a crucial element of any democracy. One of these arguments is that pressure groups encourage wider participation in the decision making process. In a democracy it is essential that the foundations of ‘rule by the people’ are kept and pressure groups support this idea as they allow people to get involved in politics easily, giving people a stronger chance of getting their view across to the government. GM crops for example hear lots of varied viewpoints from those that both support it such as farmers and those who oppose it for example environmentalists, and so pressure groups are valuable in allowing everyone’s views to be heard.
British government and devolution After a general election, the party in the Commons that gets most votes forms the government, which consists of the Prime Minister and other ministers. The government has the executive power and is in charge of running the country. Certain ministers, the senior ministers, are also called Secretaries of State. Within the government, we find the Cabinet, which is the main decision- making body. The Cabinet gives advice to the PM, and it consists of the Prime Minister and other ministers who have been chosen by the PM.
These are often hard to ignore, such as the strike by the NUT in March 2012 over pensions, coupled with their march. Direct action can be an effective way of influencing Government, because even if strikes or marches are unsuccessful in changing policy, they are the best way to gain publicity for a cause. Furthermore, pressure groups also influence Government by using professional Lobbyists. Increasingly now, sectional and cause groups use paid lobbyists to mediate with those in Parliament. These lobbyists are able to provide Pressure Groups with information on different MPs, public officials and civil servants, as well as helping gain support of these people to back a cause.