To What Extent Do Pressure Groups Promote Democracy in the Uk? (30 Marks)

859 Words4 Pages
Pressure groups are seen as a way to promote democracy, because they add to the plurality of the UK. However, they can also be seen as undemocratic, due to the influence they may have over political parties and governmental policy. Ways in which pressure groups promote democracy in the UK are: they act as an education function, they also add to participation. Democracy is promoted, also, by the added representation they allow, and promotion of minority interests. However, they are seen as undemocratic due wealth influencing a pressure groups ability to pressure, disproportionate influence, and they are also not accountable - internal democracy. Pressure groups act as an educational function because they offer a considerable amount of information to the people. Due to pressure groups being separate from the government, and political parties, we are able to make a sound decision on which is the best cause to follow. An example of a pressure group being a form of education, is Action on Smoking and Health (ASH. ASH informs people of the danger of smoking. Pressure groups add a degree of political participation. Due to the increase in voting apathy, pressure groups gain popularity so that they can influence policy on their behalf - or when the people don’t get a chance to say; e.g. when there is not a general election. Political participation through pressure groups holds the government to account, preventing an elected dictatorship and an accumulation of power. An example of a pressure group that truly focuses on political participation is 38 degrees - empowering the people. Pressure groups act as a representation function, as they represent the interests of the people to those that govern them, even if these are interests are not represented by a party in the House of Commons; interests being promoted by pressure groups is known as, functional representation.
Open Document