a)Outline two differences between pressure groups and political parties.
The main distinction is that parties seek governmental power but pressure groups are not seeking governmental power. They could only keep trying to put pressure on government and influence them. Pressure groups always campaign on a narrow range of issues, such as lower the tax, protect lawyers, protect the environment and so on whereas parties have to develop policies across the whole range of public business. b)How and why do some pressure group use direct action?
Direct action occurs when pressure groups seek to obtain the maximum amount of publicity for the cause as possible. They can achieve instant media attention easily by doing some exaggerated things, such as Father4Justice, members of them dressed up like superheroes and climb onto Buckingham Palace. That seems stupid, but caught everybody’s attention easily.
Also direct action allows new groups to make a name for themselves. Their behaviour caught media’s attention, so that more and more people will know about them, concern about their issues, even start supporting them. Direct action is really a good choice for them to make a name.
Direct action is also used by some poor pressure groups. They are disenchanted with traditional campaigning methods. They are not able to afford employing any lobbyists and do any advertisements. They can use direct action to catch public’s attention and promote themselves, and get chance to be heard by public, even the government. This method often works. Government are forced to respond to powerful demonstrations of feeling, especially when the media take up the same cause. c)To what extent are the largest pressure groups the most successful ones?
There are many factors which could influence a pressure group to be successful or not, and also could be used to judge a pressure group. But there is no absolutely successful, all of them are keeping working for making it better, and getting more impact and so on.
One of those factors is the achievability of their aims. Pressure groups campaign for a narrow range of issues. They do anything like promoting themselves, trying to get more support, get more money, are all for the aim that they are trying to achieve. The closer to the aim, the more successful it is. For example, the
Snowdrop Campaign was set up after the Dunblane massacre of 1996 and aimed to ban private ownership of handguns. This was straightforward to achieve, via an
Act of Parliament passed in 1997.
It also depends on the relationship between the pressure groups and the government. The insider groups can get closer contact with senior civil servants.
Insider groups can also take part in the development of policy, so that they have chance to mould it to their own benefit. They may also be able to prevent