Police Federation and Len McCluskey

Two different stories here but both related to the Unit 1 topic of Pressure Groups:


Firstly, today the Police Federation called on the government to lower drink-drive limits as their conference opens in Bournemouth. This is a useful example of how insider groups try to act upon the government and is particularly important due to the status of the Police Federation. Wyn Grant’s 1989 classification divided PG’s into insider and outsider, each with three sub-divisions. In this model, the Police Federation is an example of a core, or prisoner, insider group – i.e. one that will be an insider regardless of the government because, being required to enforce the law as laid down by the government, there is no way it can operate as an outsider group. The Police Federation used to be funded by government but, following the removal of that funding by Theresa May in August 2014, it has freed up the group to use what could be argued to be ‘more traditional’ methods of PG activity, such as today’s calls to the government (for info on funding – https://lgspolitics.wordpress.com/2014/05/21/police-federation-funding-insider-pgs/). Therefore this is a good example of how insider PG’s can operate.


In a separate PG story, we can look at the classification of ‘peripheral outsider’ groups – i.e. those who could be insiders if the right government was in power. With the Labour leadership debate running in many headlines currently, the role of the Unions in the Labour Party has once again come to the fore. Firstly, it is worth remembering that the leadership election rules were changed under Miliband and in the coming election each member will get one vote, rather than the old system which gave more power to Unions. Over the weekend, Len McCluskey, leader of the huge union Unite, suggested he might reconsider his Union’s affiliation with Labour. While he has now backed away from this statement, this story cites a good number of Unions who have interest in the leadership debate. “About 3.5 million union members are affiliated to the Labour Party, with a total of £11m donated from unions to the party last year.” This level of affiliation shows the power these unions could have if the right government was in power, and the power they are trying to exert of the leadership contest.