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  • AQA Component Pressure groups

  • Edexcel Component 1.3: Pressure groups and other influences

Background: what you need to know 

Both AQA and Edexcel Politics specifications require you to know about the methods used by different pressure groups and how they exert influence on government. One of the problems for pressure groups is that direct action attracts media attention but it may also be counter-productive if it proves too disruptive to the general public.

The article discusses the recent activities of the climate change awareness group, Insulate Britain, which has blocked the M25 motorway several times, leading the government to take out a legal injunction against it. The case study also raises another issue that is important for A Level Politics: the potential clash between different rights. What is the correct balance between the rights of protesters and the right of the travelling public to move around without undue interruption?

Click to read the article below and then answer the questions:

Injunction granted against UK climate protesters

Question in the style of Edexcel Politics Paper 1

  • Evaluate the view that the most important factor affecting the success or failure of pressure groups is their relationship with public opinion. [30 marks]

    TIP: The article provides an up-to-date example of an ‘outsider’ group whose main method is direct action. Remember that there is a range of pressure groups in the UK — you also need to consider some contrasting ‘insider’ groups, which use different means of achieving their objectives. In addition to the role of public opinion, other important factors in the success or failure of pressure groups are funding, membership and organisation, and the extent to which a group’s aims coincide with the government’s agenda.

Question in the style of AQA Politics Paper 1

  • ‘Pressure groups succeed only if they secure the approval of public opinion.’ Analyse and evaluate this statement.

    In your answer you should draw on material from across the whole range of your course of study in Politics. [25 marks]

Graham Goodlad, St John’s College

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