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Extinction Rebellion abandons disruptive climate protests in UK
Background: what you need to know
Extinction Rebellion, the climate change pressure group, began 2023 with an announcement that it was suspending actions which cause disruption, such as blocking roads and targeting public buildings. This is a rare admission that a pressure group’s preferred methods are not achieving its objectives. Extinction Rebellion says that it will focus instead on bringing people together in large-scale demonstrations.
The article also notes the introduction of public order legislation by the government, with tougher penalties for disruptive behaviour. Follow the link to the statement by Extinction Rebellion (‘We Quit’), which cites government attitudes, alongside opposition from the financial system and the media, as reasons for the group’s lack of progress over the past four years.
Question in the style of AQA Politics Paper 1
‘The most important factor explaining the success or failure of pressure groups is the attitude of the government towards their agenda.’ Analyse and evaluate this statement.
In your answer you should draw on material from across the whole range of your course of study in Politics. [25 marks]
Question in the style of Edexcel Politics Paper 1
Evaluate the view that the most important factor affecting the success or failure of pressure groups is the attitude of government towards their agenda. [30 marks]
TIP: You should contrast the methods of ‘outsider groups’ such as Extinction Rebellion with ‘insider’ organisations which have direct access to government. An example is the National Farmers’ Union’s efforts to influence post-Brexit agricultural policy last year (Farmers slam UK government’s ‘contradictory’ agricultural policies)
The attitude of government is not the only factor that affects the success or failure of pressure groups. The size of their membership and funding and their public image are also relevant.
Graham Goodlad, Portsmouth High School