Political Parties and Pressure groups

Essay by Phil11University, Bachelor's January 2005

download word file, 8 pages 4.2

Downloaded 131 times

"Is the quest for rational and effective public policies in democratic systems assisted or impeded by the insistence of political parties and pressure groups upon actively participating in the policy making process?"

Britain and America in particular, have a long established interest group system, which has allowed interest groups a key role in the policy making process. Policies are formed after and only after governments have consulted the affected interests and the groups that represent them. Government departments possess consultation lists, which include all the interest organizations that are considered to be important to the successful implementation of policy. Some interest groups enjoy significant popularity; these groups can claim a high level of legitimacy due to their representativeness of large numbers of the electorate giving political weight to their cause. This allows for rational and effective public policies in the areas of policy that the groups are involved in due to the large sections of society whose interests are represented.

Interest groups claim a high level of legitimacy due to Britain's first past the post-electoral system. Britain is a unitary state with a local government suffering due to centralization of power to government. Power is now heavily concentrated in London and the executive a legislature is very closely tied together. Government in Britain can annually introduce legislation and it is very rare for a government bill to be defeated. Ministers have become dependent upon civil servants for advice and these civil servants find themselves dependent upon groups for specialist advice. "All of these factors tend to produce a directional bias in the lobbying system, as groups concentrate their main energy and resources on the central executive."(P89. Pressure groups. JJ Richardson.1993. Oxford university press). An intimate relationship exists between interest groups and departmental officials, resulting in an exchange system. The government...