Do pressure groups enhance democracy in the UK?

  • Created by: evienyln
  • Created on: 07-06-22 20:01
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  • Do pressure groups enhance democracy? [UK]
    • YES
      • Disperse power
        • In an ideal democracy, power lies among "everyone", or practically as many people as possible
      • Educate public
        • Thanks to groups like Greenpeace and Extinction Rebellion we are far more aware of the issues of global warming
      • Opportunities to participate
        • 1 in 10 UK adults are now involved in an environmental group according to the Guardian
        • Voting is only once every 5 years
      • Protecting minorities
        • Example: Stonewall are an LGBT rights group
      • Hold the government to account
        • Can be through a court case, e.g. opponents of HS2 took the government to the Supreme Court over their plans
        • Marcus Rashford used his influence to put pressure on the government over their free school meal policies
    • NO
      • Elitism
        • Many argue that although pressure groups have a large membership, they are only ran by a select few who are highly-educated and/or London-based
        • Think Tanks tend to be private organisations which work in the 'Westminster bubble'
      • Distort information for their benefit
        • Example: Brexit Bus claimed £350m would go to the NHS each week...
      • Not run democratically
        • Leaders aren't usually elected
        • Many groups are selective as to who can actually join them: sectional groups such as the CBI only represent business
      • Money is essential
        • Many lobbying scandals, pressure groups with money tend to buy influence
      • Illegal actions
        • Example: Occupy Movement - "occupied" London to protest against austerity measures
        • Can argue that the methods pressure groups use are not democratic as they do not work within the law


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