Political Parties And Pressure Groups Essay

2074 words - 8 pages

"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 is regularly engaged in negotiations with interest groups and a symbiotic relationship has evolved, both parties rely and profit from each other. AS a result, the two groups actively participating in the policy making process often assist the quest for rational and effective public policy. It is the aim of this essay to explore the roles of political parties and pressure groups to assess whether or not this active involvement in the policy process aids or impedes the production of effective policy.Policy networks, "are the mass of interconnecting bodies which have an interest in the policy area: the policy community."(P538. Politics U.K 1998). They are a link between the role of interests and government regarding specific policy discussions. Policy networks are also concerned with the broader issues regarding the distribution of power within society. Policy networks have an influence on policy outcomes and reflect the power of particular interests in a broad policy area. Policy...

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