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Pressure Politics: The changing world of Pressure Groups

‘Pressure Politics: The changing world of Pressure Groups’, Parliamentary Affairs, 57(2), 2004, 408-419


The continuing usefulness of the distinction between insider groups and outsider groups is reviewed. Changes in British politics mean that it is open to a new range of criticisms, but it still retains some validity given the importance of narratives of inclusion and exclusion in politics. The Labour government's code of practice on consultation should make it easier for groups to put their views to government, but traditional insiders still have some advantages, particularly in relation to socially excluded groups. Direct action groups continue to challenge established insider groups in agriculture and traditional insiders are changing their strategies. The Huntingdon Life Sciences protest has widened the repertoire of forms of direct action, but responses to it may undermine civil liberties. The continuing influence of big business reminds us that traditional forms of insider politics persist, alongside newer forms of protest politics.