Investigating the Factors that Lead to Pressure Groups Succeeding or Failing

Investigating the Factors that Lead to Pressure Groups Succeeding or Failing

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Investigating the Factors that Lead to Pressure Groups Succeeding or Failing

There are factors which lead to pressure groups succeeding or failing.
I will be discussing the factors which are required for a pressure
group to be successful in achieving their aims.

Firstly, one may think the size of a group is a factor and more people
mean more votes. A government is more likely to respond to pressure
groups by large groups because there are more potential votes to be
won or lost. However, size is not always considered a factor because
even pressure groups which are small in size can make an impact, since
it depend on the way the members of the pressure group think, as in
being imaginative, tactical thinkers etc. It’s not quantity but the
quality of the members of the pressure groups.

Furthermore, the government is more likely to be influenced by large
numbers of its own potential supporters who make up a pressure group’s
membership. For instance, if the pressure group was a traditional
supporter of the Labour government, then the Conservative government
is unlikely to be sympathetic to that pressure group. So some
pressure groups will expect better treatment from one party than
another and success or failure will therefore depending on the
government in power at the time.

Finance is a crucial factor leading to a pressure group being
successful, since running effective campaigns can be very expensive,
so wealthy supporters provides an obvious advantage. Also small
pressure groups with large finances can use funds to finance political
parties and so receive sympathetic treatment and gain rewards. For
example, the governments refusal to ban all advertising on cigarettes,
and the lack of action taken by them to break the brewers’ virtual
monopoly over public houses. A more financed group can employ more
people, therefore employees have the time and expertise to ensure that
campaigns are organised in a professional manner, however linking this
back to size, it does not guarantee success.

A lot has to do with the pressure group itself and organisation is an

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important factor which can lead to success and the pressure group
meeting their aims and targets. The members of the pressure group play
a vial part in the organisation of a group as it is them who make sure
campaigns run effectively. They recruit member, raise funds, research
facilities, make decisions and establish methods for creating
publicity etc. A strong organisation is required to achieve their aims
and targets, before they put their case into action. For example the
fuel lobby, which opposed high petrol duties, showed high levels of
organisation since they used resources such as the internet to
organise a large number of protesters from all over the country in a
short period of time. Therefore, timing is another factor since the
government can be put into a position where they have to agree.

Pressure groups need to let the public know what they are campaigning
or fighting for so here the media can influence the public and
decision makers. Media attention makes it less easy for the prime
minister or government to ignore. Many issues such as smoking and
animal cruelty have been able to attract support through TV, radio and
leaflets etc. Some pressure groups are even supported by celebrities
on certain issues or campaigns, which is a significant advantage since
they are well-known personalities.

Pressure groups also have an effect on the society which is why
holding a strategic position is another important factor. The
community and government are reliant upon particular groups such as
fire workers, farmers and ambulance workers. The government are
reliant on fire workers to put out fires, farmers to produce food for
the people and ambulance workers to help the ill. So if for example,
the ambulance workers were to go on strike this could be disastrous
and could lead to severe consequences and therefore, to put things
right the political party would have to fulfil there wishes. If
however the government do not take no action and let them continue,
they could be risking the lives of those people who are ill and need
to be looked after.

A sympathetic public is also very helpful to a pressure group. The
aims of the group are legitimised by public support. An effectively
run campaign together with a sympathetic public is a potent
combination. This combination has resulted in important policy changes
and developments, over past years such as equal pay for women,
experimentation on animals, reducing the age of consent for
homosexuals to eighteen and relaxation of the alcohol licensing laws.
The Snowdrop Appeal founded after the Dunblane Primary School massacre
was successful in a way. Although the group appealing wanted handguns
to be banned completely, public sympathy due to the large numbers of
people involved, forced the government to tighten rules on gun

At times, pressure groups face oppositions not only with the
government, but at times they are ranged against other pressure
groups. In these cases, the government simply acts as arbiter between
competing claims. Examples include the anti-smoking lobby vs. the
tobacco industry, transport 2000 vs. the motorcar industry and the
animals rights campaigners vs. the fur trade. The successful pressure
groups are those who are imaginative and tactical in their campaign,
so the effectiveness of action will most probably determine success.

Overall all of these factors contribute to the success of pressure
groups and it is when they have fulfilled their aims and gain public
support and attention that they have truly succeeded.
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