In what ways do pressure groups strengthen democracy

Pressure groups play an important role 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. An example of a way in which a pressure group strengthens democracy is by providing more freedom to the public, which is what a democracy is essentially about, a self-governing community. Pressure groups give this power to the citizens by organising minorities into larger groups, by bringing together people with similar interests and political views (interest aggregation) and not only that but they defend these opinions in the political arena (interest articulation). Without pressure groups democracy would be weaker because many voices would go unheard. Pressure groups try to help strengthen the voice of the minorities to work with the political parties and influence them.Feedback is an important part of a true democracy, the process must be a “two way” thing. pressure groups help this to happen. essentially this is done by insider groups. An example of this was the labour government of the seventies, when trade unions played a big part in industrial policy making. Outsider groups replace this with campaigns, rallies, protest, etc. Pressure groups often are consulted over decisions, which is another way they strengthen democracy. Insider groups tend to have more effect because they have more expertise essential to the current topic than outsider groups. Governments obviously, if it is to be a real democracy, consult all parties affected so pressure groups will usually help the government by providing them with aggregated opinions, technical expertise and practical advice.They also maintain public pressure on governments in between elections. Governments tend to focus a lot on getting re-elected and might be seen in-between as not doing enough. Pressure groups will rally people and get them to voice their opinion to the governments. This might be through many things. After all the last thing the government would want was public support to start waning.Pressure groups can also effect legislation by consultation with the government. This is quite an important one, but there is no certainty that when you get access as an insider that you will succeed with whatever you set out to do. They can also affect such matters by using their expertise in whatever it is they do to inform the MPs. They don’t just help inform them but these MPs might already share the same political ideas as the pressure group as quite a lot of MPs start off at pressure groups. This might be because they are easier to get in to and they think they can work their way up the ladder. Through this they might inherit some of the ideas.They may do this by making sure people know what’s going on. By getting them more involved, getting them to take an interest in politics. A more knowledgeable public will probably lead to people realising what they believe strongly in. Its good for democracy because they will now know what there doing. Maybe before they voted Labour because their husband did. It also strengthens democracy because more people will want to have a say. After all it is a fundamental democratic right and pressure groups are part and parcel of a pluralistic democratic society.Although there are also ways in which pressure groups weaken democracy. They can act against the interests of larger groups, which are not organised so are therefore going unheard. Another way in which they weaken democracy is the fact in which their leaders are not elected but have the chance to influence the government and democracy, which maybe they shouldn’t have. They do not fight general elections, they do not produce manifestos and nor do they take the responsibility of the government. Another weakness is that the pressure group involved is usually poorly represented and dominated by extreme views.The groups usually lack legitimacy and are poorly attended. There is also no equal standing ground and any pressure group that has more money is bound to make a bigger impact than that with less. So is this fair that maybe a more valid subject is being sidelined through another because it has more funding. Another weakness is that some law breaking pressure groups undermine the rules and laws and respect of the laws. If someone is breaking the law to get across their opinion is this right? Another point is that they can compromise MPs.

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