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Pressure Group Functions Essay

944 words - 4 pages

Participation is a key function of pressure groups as it gives citizens an avenue of participation between elections in a structured and moderated manner to get an issue or issues across to MPs. Given the behaviour of pressure groups such as the EDL it is unlikely that politicians will have sympathy for their concerns. For example on 8 September 2013, 160 EDL members were arrested following a protest in Tower Hamlets after a clash between counter-demonstrators. However, the majority of pressure groups stay true to the function of participation and in many cases bring about change in the government. By participating more peacefully whilst still being effective, MPs are more likely to consider ...view middle of the document...

However the government ignored this which shows that pressure groups can be unsuccessful in their function of agenda setting.

Education is an important function of pressure groups as they can educate the government and general public on certain issues and therefore raise awareness and support for their cause. Charities such as the NSPCC play a crucial part in educating the public on issues. Big advertising campaigns such as the full stop adverts on national television raises awareness to the public of child abuse and so MPs are more likely to raise the issue of child abuse in parliament. In the summer of 2013, Cameron announced a number of policies to make internet usage safer for children following a number of adverts by the NSPCC showing trueness to the function of education. However some groups are not true to this function by teaching extremist views such as groups like Islam4UK which were banned in 2010 for preaching Sharia Law and Islamic extremism. In no way can these kind of groups aid the government when weighing up the merits and demerits of proposed policies and the teaching of extremism increases social tensions in society. Therefore these groups are not true to their function of educating and they are not effective in fulfilling the function of education.

Another function of pressure groups is regulation. This is where they can hold the government to account to ensure that they do not abuse their power by raising awareness through the media, courts and ministers. The Gurkha Justice Campaign aimed to secure residency rights for retired Gurkha veterans who were at risk of being deported back to Nepal. Led by Joanna Lumley, she managed to raise the public awareness of the issue through the media and a number of court cases. This eventually forced the Home Office to allow...

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