To What Extent Do Pressure Groups Undermine Democracy?

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To what extent do pressure groups undermine democracy?

Pressure groups can play an important part in the way policies and proposals are brought into action in the UK government. As well as providing a vehicle for the peoples’ views they also have the potential to undermine the democracy of a government. Firstly, to clarify the definition of a pressure group, it is a formal or informal association whose purpose is to put forward the views and interests of a specific part of society, typically operating on a small range of issues. They aim to influence the decisions made by government. Secondly, democracy (from dēmos kratos - Greek for rule by the people) can take many different forms and is harder to define. Full democracy is understood as the fair representation in government of all citizens. In a democratic government the people vote in order to represent their views on an issue. Pressure groups have been seen to undermine this system of government in many ways but the also can enhance democracy in many ways.

Some aspects of pressure groups are considered to undermine the nature of democracy. Disproportionate influence is an issue that many argue subverts democracy. This is where some pressure groups have more political influence than their issue may warrant. Some sectional groups appear to have a larger influence in government than others with a larger demographic. This is considered to be undemocratic, as it is not fair in the way it represents the people disproportionately. For instance the farming community has a lot of political power in government despite their small size. This is because they are able to immediately effect the national prices of food and so the government will pay more attention to their concerns. In addition, the democracy of a nation can be threatened by the different financial backings of each pressure group. An uneven playing…...

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