To What Extent Do Pressure Groups Undermine Democracy? (25 Marks)

945 Words4 Pages
A pressure group is a group that tries to influence public policy in the interest of a particular cause. There are many pressure groups around the world, from well-known organisations such as Amnesty International, to lesser-known pressure groups such as the Zip Fastener Manufacturers’ Administration. However, no matter the size, they all have something in common; that they want their voices to be heard. Pressure groups undermine democracy because, although they improve participation, they are said to do this in an unequal way. Critics say that pressure groups benefit the well organised but they disadvantage the weakly organised, subsequently working against the public interest. This is because the pressure groups run on donations for their funding. As a result, a pressure group with as little as two or three wealthy advocates may end up becoming influential and having its cause heard by the government. However, its members may not represent as much of the population as is suggested by the pressure group’s standing, thus creating inequality. This is amplified by the fact that the larger pressure groups can leave many smaller ones in their shadow. For example, the British Stammering Association is a small pressure group with a good cause but one that many people will not have heard of due to its lack of funds and support. Many say that pressure groups holding the government to account and challenging authority is a sign of a healthy democracy. After all, a democracy is a system of government where decisions are arrived at by majoritarian principles. If a certain group of people do not feel that they are being represented then a democracy has to be able to recognise them for anything to change. Political parties cannot provide adequate representation for the full range of diverse interests and opinions in a modern democracy and pressure groups enable particular
Open Document