Monday, 21 March 2011

Pressure Groups

Year 12 politics students have been researching pressure groups in the UK. This is the place to add brief comments about the chosen pressure group, their main areas of interest, operating methods, and effectiveness. Please complete this by Friday 25 March

This Wikipedia article has a list of a few UK pressure groups to choose from, although the list is by no means complete. There is a useful diagram here, Tutor2U has plenty of good info here, and there are some BBC clips here.


  1. Fathers4Justice is one of the most well known pressure groups in Britain, but it is not known for its success in achieving more rights for seperated and divorced fathers but for the wild antics of its members. Its main aim is to further the cause of equal parental rights. Techniques they use to raise awareness tend to be demonstrative, for example: in 2003 David Chick scaled a crane near Tower Bridge, dressed as Spiderman carrying banners adorned with slogans promoting Fathers4Justice. Another incident was taken very seriously by the media, when a member of the group scaled the walls of Buckingham Palace dressed as Batman. Fathers 4 Justice's main impact remains upon media coverage and legal treatment of fathers' rights issues in the UK. The political aims of the group are as yet unachieved, but one of its central aims - the removal of secrecy surrounding family courts - is the subject of active political debate. In 2006, the Court of Appeal set a precedent allowing adults to discuss secret cases after they had finished. This resulted in a number of high-profile scandals, chiefly concerning adoption. In February 2009, Justice Minister Jack Straw announced plans to reverse this ruling. A significant, unintended result of the campaign has been the exposure of flaws in security at high-profile British institutions, resulting in security enquiries or reviews at Buckingham Palace and the House of Commons.

  2. Countryside Alliance was formed in 1997 and aims to bring issues related to the countryside into the public view.
    This is a claim from their website: 'The Countryside Alliance works for everyone who loves the countryside and the rural way of life. Our aim is to protect and promote life in the countryside and to help it thrive.'
    With issues such as foxhunting, Countryside Alliance got very heavily involved, they consider it a part of tradition and think that it should not be judged by others who do not partake in it and promised to support the appeal against the foxhunting ban.
    The Countryside Alliance is a membership organisation, with incorporated company status, with over 105,000 full ordinary members. The Alliance is politically non-aligned.

  3. The Welsh Language Society (or 'Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg' in Welsh) are a pressure group campaigning to secure the future of the Welsh language. They use non violent but direct protests and campaigns such as sit ins, and have in the past taken down English only road signs and dumped them outside the Welsh Office in Cardiff. Minor criminal damage such as painting slogans on privately owned buildings, and many of their campaigners have ended up serving some form of prison sentence. These campaigns have resulted in many gains for the Welsh language since the society's formation in 1962, including two Welsh language acts, bilingual road signs, and the establishing of S4C, the Welsh language television channel. The ultimate aim of the group is to make Welsh the official language of Wales instead of English, as currently only 20.8% of the population of Wales speak Welsh. If you are as interested in the survival of the Welsh language as i am, and would like to find out more, here is a link But most of the site is in Welsh...

  4. My chosen pressure group is "Fathers 4 Justice".

    It main interests are promote equal contact for divorced couples with children and equal parenting. To summarise, the pressure group seeks to improve the law regarding fathers' legal rights to see their children.
    Since the founding of the organisation, it have now branched to countries such as Canada, USA and so on.
    Their operating methods have been seen as quite comical (literally), as they have been known to dress in character outfits and protest on top of buildings.
    Even so, taking this drastic approach in their protesting has turned out to have a significant effect for the pressure group. This means that their dependence on media coverage has grown, but nevertheless one of their aims still have not been fulfilled: removing the secrecy surrounding family court.
    However, they did make progress in 2006 - the Court of Appeal set a precedent allowing adults to discuss secret cases after they had finished. This resulted in a number of high-profile scandals, especially concerning adoption. Jack Straw, the Justice minister, ultimately announced plans to reverse this ruling due to this, meaning Fathers 4 Justice's progress reversed with it.

  5. FOREST (Freedom Organisation for the Right to Enjoy Smoking Tobacco) is a pressure group that campaigns for the rights of smokers to enjoy smoking tobacco and campaigns to stop the restrictions on smokers. They claim to be the "voice and friend of the smoker." I was previously organised and funded by the tobacco industry in order to protect their profits and to ensure a third party between them and government to gain more success. They are currently working to stop the smoking ban in the Republic of Ireland through their Irish branch. Despite their loss of preventing the UK smoking ban indoors and in public places, FOREST are still fighting to overturn the ban. They use the slogans "Smokers are voters, too", "Enough is enough" and "Nanny State? No thanks". Despite having severall celebrity supporters, such as Anthony Worrall Thompson, FOREST don't really have a great amount of popularity with the public and a rarely appear in the media.

  6. Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) is a not-for profit environmental pressure group focused on the protection of the UK’s oceans, waves and beaches for all to access, use and enjoy safely and sustainably, via campaigning, volunteering, conservation, education and scientific research.

    We were founded in 1990 by a group of surfers, who were literally ‘sick of getting sick’ through repeated ear, nose, throat and gastric infections after going in the sea. Forming a local group they set about taking grassroots action to stop the sewage pollution at their local surf breaks in Cornwall.

    They were swiftly joined by like-minded water-users from around the UK and created what has now become a highly successful national campaign that gives recreational water users a voice on building a clean and safe water environment.

    SAS has been a major catalyst in the virtual elimination of continuous sewage discharges that were so prevalent when we started back in 1990. This has seen water quality improve greatly in many areas, and helped us all have a cleaner, safer experience in the sea all around the UK.

  7. Amnesty International is an international non-governmental organisation. Its stated mission is "to conduct research and generate action to prevent and end grave abuses of human rights and to demand justice for those whose rights have been violated."
    Founded in London in 1961, Amnesty draws attention to human rights abuses and campaigns for compliance with international laws and standards. It works to mobilise public opinion to put pressure on governments that let abuse take place. The organisation was awarded the 1977 Nobel Peace Prize for its "campaign against torture",and the United Nations Prize in the Field of Human Rights in 1978.
    In the field of international human rights organisations (of which there were 300 in 1996), Amnesty has the longest history and broadest name recognition, and "is believed by many to set standards for the movement as a whole.

  8. Liberty, also known as the National Council for Civil Liberties, is a pressure group that campaigns to protect civil liberties and promote human rights. It was founded in 1934 by Ronald Kidd and Sylvia Crowther-Smith after being inspired to create the pressure group due to the National Hunger March in 1932. It is a cross-party, non-party organisation.
    Their first campaign was against the criminalisation of pacifist or anti-war litereature. Since the 1940s, Liberty have been campaigning on issues such a race, women's rights and data protection with reasonable success. A major campaign won by Liberty took place during 2007 and 2008 when the government dropped the proposal of extending the detention of suspected terrorists to 42 days, due to it being rejected in the House of Lords. Liberty had led the opposition in this campaign, meaning it was a huge success for the pressure group.
    Liberty is currently campaining against unfair extradition proceedings.