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Pressure groups undermine democracy?
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| Words: 795 | Submitted: 25-May-2011
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DescriptionDo pressure groups undermine democracy or not...
Q. Critically examine the view that pressure groups are a threat to democracy.
Ans: The issue of pressure groups in a democracy is one which causes great controversy. Many people take the pluralist view which believes pressure groups are good for democracy however some people will criticise this and argue that they are a threat. In this essay, I intend to critically examine the view that pressure groups are a threat to democracy.
The pluralist view believes that pressure groups are good for a democracy because any modern democracy should encourage a high level of political participation. They also believe that pressure groups give people the chance to express their views and opinions outside elections which are only held every 4-5 years. However, this view is heavily criticised because it suggests all pressure groups are equal when it comes to influencing the government. This is not true as insider groups e.g. BMA tend to have more influence than others, making pressure groups undemocratic.
One way in which pressure groups are good for a democracy is that they provide the government with vital information and expertise when they are making or ammending policies e.g. The BMA provides the government with vital information regarding the NHS. However, many people would argue against this saying that this would suggest pressure groups have a major say in policy making decisions but most of the major policy making decisions are made behind closed doors. e.g. At the 2003 “Stop The War Coalition” millions of people throughout the country protested and expressed their concerns about the war in Iraq, however the war still went ahead, proving that pressure groups don’t always influence the government and are a threat to a democracy.
The existence of pressure groups gives people the chance to voice their opinion and express their views outwith the general elections. e.g. In 2003 the “Stop The War Coalition” gave millions of people the chance to protest against the war in Iraq. If pressure groups didn’t exist, the public would not have been able to express their views until the next general election in 2005, 2 years later, which would therefore mean that pressure groups are good for a democracy. On the other hand, many people would argue that pressure groups who influence the government only represent the privileged in society rather than the disadvantaged. e.g The BMA represents doctors and surgeons who are already well paid and respected in society. This is not good for a democracy.
Another argument which shows pressure groups do not threaten democracy is that they give minority groups the chance to have their opinions expressed in a more structured way which is more likely to get them noticed by the ...
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