Pressure Group Action and Success – Academies

Pressure group ‘success’ questions are common in Unit 1 and yet there are reasonably few examples of direct pressure group success, and indeed many examples of high profile failures.

This week the government u-turned on the plan to force all schools to become academies, a move which was well received by the teaching unions; unions who traditionally become ‘outsiders’ under a Conservative government. This was after Nicky Morgan was heckled at the NASUWT conference in March and the plans have faced stiff opposition from unions ever since.

UNIT 1 – This example could be used to show a more traditional action of a traditional pressure group – no high profile stunts, just plugging away in the media against these reforms i.e. some PGs do remain powerful, despite the changing nature of technology, media, etc.  They also demonstrate that those groups whom we might consider as ‘outsiders’ can still have success. Equally, in a democracy question, it is worth noting that for all the media deride u-turns, they could be cited as an example of democracy in action – a government listening to the people and changing their policies accordingly. Therefore pressure groups could feature as a paragraph in a democracy question in this sense.

UNIT 2 – This example could also be used to show the weaker nature of a government with a small majority (especially as at the time of writing the HoL have also inflicted 59 defeats on the government so far! – This is the 18th u-turn since May 2015 which is also useful for PM & Cabinet. Arguably the main reason it was announced on last Thursday (and was therefore hidden in the local elections news!) was directly linked to Tory backbenchers (mainly in rural constituencies) openly threatening to rebel if the forced academisation wasn’t dropped as government policy. This again shows a weak majority plaguing a government as well as giving power to backbenchers.