Why are some pressure groups more successful than others?
A pressure group is an organization whose members seek to influence policies of public bodies or employers. They seek to do so, either to protect interests of members (e.g. Trade Unions, NUT) or promote a cause (e.g. Greenpeace or RSPCA). Not all pressure groups are as successful as others, and there are many reasons for this.
One of the most important factors affecting the success of a pressure group is what constitutes success? There are varying degrees of success, dependent on the pressure group involved, ranging from a change in legislation to more localised change. For example, a pressure group campaigning against a local bypass, does not necessarily want legislation banning all bypasses. As a result the measure of the groups success would be the prevention of the bypass being built. However, there are certain areas which will affect the success of pressure groups.
One important area which determines pressure group success is the relationship with the government, or relevant authority (e.g. local council or European Union). Insider pressure groups (such as the BMA, or Police Federation), or pressure groups with regular contact within decision making bodies, are more likely to be able to directly influence policy. Insider pressure groups are often consulted on legislation in their 'area'. They therefore have a chance to influence legislation and 'steer' it in a direction supported by the group. Outsider pressure groups (such as the ALF and CND) are unlikely to be able to take advantage of this influence of legislation since there are generally not involved within legislative procedures. This is often due to 'unreasonable' demands or violent/illegal methods of protest.
The pressure groups relationship with the media can greatly affect the success of a pressure group, particularly outsider pressure groups. Pressure groups with the support of the media, and the wider public, have more chance of...