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Pressure Groups Do Not Enhance Democracy. Discuss

839 words - 4 pages

Pressure groups play an important part in the current political system in that it is these organisations who attempt to influence public opinion and shape policy in relation to a particular issue. Pressure groups are associations that may be formal or informal whose purpose is to further the interests of a specific section of society or to promote a certain cause. Democracy is the idea that the people’s views are represented. There has been the argument of whether pressure groups enhance or do not enhance democracy in a country.
Pressure groups can be seen as being undemocratic since pressure groups are unelected and unrepresentative. This can be seen in the way in which the leaders or ...view middle of the document...

Pressure groups can also be seen as undemocratic in the way that pressure groups disguise the true nature of power. Regardless of which groups are the most powerful, pressure group influence is exerted in a way that is not subject to scrutiny and public accountability. Pressure groups usually exert influence ‘behind close doors’ which means that the true nature of power is hence disguised. This particularly applies in the case of insider groups, whose representatives are unseen by the public and away from media scrutiny.
On the other hand, pressure groups can also enhance democracy. In the pluralist model of democracy, pressure groups play an essential role. Political parties cannot provide adequate representation for the full range of diverse interests and opinions in a modern democracy because their key function is to aggregate interests into a coherent political entity capable of governing the country. Pressure groups enable particular interests and causes to be heard and to exert influence in public decision and decision-making. Yet it is precisely the representation of specialist interests and of single issues which may give cause for concern, both in terms of the methods used to achieve objectives and of the undue power and influence which particular lobbies can exert. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents provided the Government with information when deciding the law on wearing seatbelts in the back of cars.
Another way pressure groups can enhance democracy is that they promote politicall debate, discussion and argument. They create a better-informed and more educated...

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