To What Extent Do Pressure Groups Undermine Democracy

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To what extent do pressure groups undermine democracy? 25 marks A pressure group is an organised group of people who aims to influence the aims/ actions of the government or businesses. Pressure groups can be said to undermine democracy by exercising non legitimate power. Pressure groups have been accused of this due to their leaders not or very rarely elected. This is unlike the conventional politicians. As well as this, when the leaders of the pressure groups are elected the turnouts are usually very low. Due to the leaders not being elected, this therefore means that they are unaccountable and the influence in which they exert in many ways is not democratically legitimate. This problem is made worse by the growing number of pressure groups being led by a small number of senior professionals. In some cases, the pressure groups even undermine their internal democracy as the minority (the leaders) voices are heard rather than the majority (the members). Pressure groups could be said to promote democracy by educating the electorate. They do this by making them more educated and more informed through political discussions and debates. Pressure groups widen the information available to the public. Without the media and pressure groups, the public would have to rely on information given from a narrow range of sources with limited viewpoints; mostly from the major political parties e.g. conservatives. Pressure groups can educate the electorate in many ways, through talks/websites /adverts and magazines e.g. www.rspca.org.uk. Pressure groups also usually have experience and knowledgeable professionals who provide information which can improve political debate and public policy. The tyranny of the minority could be seen to undermine democracy. Pressure groups by function represent the minority e.g. the suffragettes. They help to prevent tyranny of the majority which
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