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Why Are Some Pressure Groups More Successful Than Others Essay

A pressure group is an organisation which means to influence decisions made by government for a specific cause. Some pressure groups are successful in their endeavours, however many aren’t. The success of a pressure group depends on many factors. A large factor is the method through which pressure groups attempt to get their point heard. A method all pressure groups use is achieving public support, to get public support means that a certain proportion of society will back the pressure group in making their point, being heard and changing the legislation or drawing the public’s attention are marches, for example through busy cities such as London e.g. student protests in 2011 protesting the rise in university tuition fees. Whether the pressure group is an insider or outsider group can greatly impact the success of their endeavours. An insider pressure group has a greater chance as they are consulted by the government.

For example the British Medical Association was founded in 1832 which in the 1970s was recognised as a trade union and campaigned for better doctors pay and working conditions. The BMA are now regularly consulted by the Department of Health as a result of their expertise, however not only insider groups can be successful. Greenpeace is an example of a successful outsider pressure group. Greenpeace was founded in 1971 to campaign for the global ban of nuclear weapon testing. There have been a great number of successes since then. Greenpeace managed to achieve a temporary stop to commercial whaling, a ban on sending toxic waste to less developed countries, a 50 year break on mineral exploitation in Antarctica, a stop to large scale driftnet fishing on the high seas and a ban radioactive and industrial waste at sea.

Funds are a major resource when publishing your pressure group. Money is important in gaining media attention and in pushing the government to listen to the group as they have financial power. With funding the group can employ professional lobbyists and PR consultants and donate to parties. Money is needed to advertise, to produce leaflets, posters, billboards and picket signs for marches and demonstrations. Without money, advertising relies solely on the funds of the individuals in the group to achieve publicity. The size of the pressure group impacts the success of the group however how much it is affected is unique to each group. Having a larger pressure group definitely has an advantage. The benefits of being a larger pressure group include having more members which means more donations; also more funding means the group can hire professionals to handle the campaigning.


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