Pressure groups. Pressure groups are a big part of democracy in Scotland, and especially a big part of the modern studies course so if you are interested, this will work!
- Pressure groups do not want power for themselves but instead they want to influence those in power.
- For the most part, they also encourage responsible participation in the democratic process .
- Pressure groups are organisations of people who all believe strongly in the same cause or issue
- They aim to influence governments or other decision makers. By working together, pressure groups are likely to be more successful than individual people working alone: strength in numbers!
Methods of the pressure groups!
One method used by pressure groups is letter writing. This involves getting supporters and the public to write to the government or companies to try to get their support. For example the Surfers Against Sewage “Message in a bottle” campaign to influence the government to introduce a buy back scheme on single use plastic bottles.
Another method used by pressure groups is protesting (demonstrating). This often involves people marching, gathering in large crowds and making their feelings known to the government or a company. For example Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) protested outside of Faslane to influence the Scottish government to remove nuclear weapons from Scotland.
Another method used by pressure groups is lobbying. This usually involves meeting directly with decision makers like MSPs to try and persuade them to support the groups cause. For example the TiE campaign won an award for lobbying MSPs at the Scottish parliament to push LGBTQIA+ inclusion in Scottish schools.
How pressure groups are influential.
One reason why pressure groups are influential is because they run letter writing campaigns. This involves getting supporters and the public to write to the government or companies to try to get their support. It can be effective as it shows someone like and MSP how much people support the issue and they might not want to lose votes. For example, the Surfers Against Sewage pressure group organised a letter writing campaign about a bottle deposit scheme which the Scottish Government announced it would support.
Another reason why pressure group are influential is because the organise protestests. This often involves people marching, gathering in large crowds and making their feelings known. Sometimes groups break the law when they do this but it can be effective as the media attention it attracts can also put pressure on the government to act. For example, after the Climate Extinction group organised protests to shut down cities and for students to walk out of class, the Scottish Government declared a climate emergency and changed some of its policies.
Another reason why pressure group are influential is because they can lobby. This usually involves meeting directly with decision makers like MSPs to try and persuade them to support the groups cause. It can be effective as it can happen in person and the be shown in the media, so MSPs who want to look good to voters have to think carefully before they ignore people lobbying them. For example, the TIE campaign won campaign of the year for their successful efforts to lobby MSPs into supporting Scotland to have the first LGBTQ+ inclusive education system.
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