To what extent do Pressure Groups promote pluralist democracy?
A Pressure Group is an organised group that does not put up candidates for election, but seeks to influence government policy or legislation. The aim of all PGs is to influence the people who actually have the power to make decisions. There are many different types of PGs such as, Sectional which usually represent limited, specific interests. They usually aim to improve conditions for their members. Another type of PG is an Outsider group, these groups tend to be outside of policy making and government tends to regard these groups as less important. Pluralist democracy is a particular type of democracy, which operates with numerous organised groups who all have some political leverage in the decision making forum. ...view middle of the document...
Pressure groups thereby improve the accountability of decision makers to voters. Although few people would deny that pressure groups play an important role in British politics.
Pressure groups improve participation, but in an unequal way, benefiting the well organised but disadvantaging the weakly organised. In this sense, they work against the public interest. Pressure groups themselves may not be representative of their members. Their officers are not usually elected. Few groups have procedures for consulting their members. As a result, the views expressed by group officials may not be shared by the group’s members.
Although the views of pressure groups may sometimes be considered, they are likely to be ignored if they do not confirm with the ideology or agenda of the decision makers. Pressure group activity gives people hope that they can make a difference. This hope is a distraction. The ruling class would rather that people put their energies into pressure group activities, which do not question the fundamentals of the system than into political activity, which seriously challenges the right of the elite to govern.
In Britain’s secretive political system, groups and parties combined are unable to mount effective opposition to government policies because they generally lack of sufficient information. Large display mounted by any group may lead to unpleasant clashes with the police. Pressure groups are an essential element of any democracy, yet they can endanger democracy if sectional groups undermine the public interest or if the methods they use are corrupt or threatening.
In Conclusion, Pressure Groups do promote pluralist democracy because it makes government more efficient as the Pressure Groups put pressure on the government to make the decision that is best for the public.