Empirical studies on pressure groups, lobbying and the MPs in the Parliament suggest that more than 21 out of 31 lobbyists and 17 out of 25 journalists that were queried believed that lobbyists working in the corporate sector need to improve more. Although they are communicating with the MPs, they are not as good in communicating with the MPs as they think so. In fact, 20 percent of MPs that were queried seemed to indicate that charities and pressure groups were much more efficient when it came to terms with influencing policies than the lobbyists. This shows that pressure groups are in fact much more powerful when it comes to reshaping democracy. How far the powers of pressure groups are checked and are there reasons to believe that pressure groups might distort British democracy. This essay attempts to analyze the role played by pressure group with emphasis on how the pressure groups might end up distorting more than enhancing the British democracy.
An argument made here is that in favoring the pro-capitalists, the Government might not enhance policies which might be averse to their interests. Accountability to the public hence reduces (Burkett, 2013). As of proving this point, it has been noticed that pressure groups other than trade unions are often the venture coalition of middle class and the affluent sector. The interest of segregated social groups is hence given more importance here and the poor and the disadvantaged might be under represented. Some ethnic minority groups might not have active participation in the pressure group’s work.
There might also be under funded pressure groups that would operate as a name sake but would hardly be able to influence any political decision making (Rowbottom, 2010). The existence of many pressure groups leads to the popular belief that they have a major influence on the governance, but this could be a distorted truth fed to the public. In fact, they might have very little influence.
In the time period from 1940s to the 1970s, the national political policy making was seen to be very much influenced by few pressure groups such as the business and trade unions alone. This was a framework of corporatism or tripartism. These pressure groups had more self-centered interests and did not seem to appreciate much larger issues for the country as should have come with their power. They had enormous veto rights as well and this meant that the pluralist claim of the democracy was very much reduced. In the 1970’s, some welfare oriented pressure groups created a situation of high expectations when they were working with Shelter issues and also issues of Child Poverty Action. Because of the high expectations that were created when the Government was not able to meet the expectations, it leads to problems for the government (Grant, 2003). A belief in the democracy was once again created. Although a political system with no pressure group cannot be an alternative, it is necessary for the critical points on pressure group to be understood. Only then it will be possible to identify the ways pressure groups end up distorting British Democracy.