6.4.6  Balancing the Pressures on Politicians

(This is a current extract from the Patterns of Power Repository.  An archived copy of this page is held at http://www.patternsofpower.org/edition02/646.htm)

Unsolicited pressure forms part of negotiation, but it is by definition one-sided.  Politics is about striking a balance that benefits all the people and there are problems in applying weighting to all the above forms of pressure:

·      The need for support makes democratic politicians over-sensitive to some electoral groups, such as people living in ‘marginal constituencies’ or ‘swing States’ (6.3.2.4).

·      Media tend to express points of view without reference to how widely these views are held or to the validity of opposing arguments.

·      Interest groups often represent extreme opinions and tend to be radical, in contrast to people who are content with the status quo and who don’t speak out (and who may be in the majority).

·      Businesses can distort the balance in a democracy, by using money instead of reasoned arguments, to add pressures which are in addition to the votes of their employees; they thereby over-represent their interests.

Other forms of representation and consultation can help to ensure that a negotiation is balanced and takes account of the ‘silent majority’, as discussed in the next few sections.  It is also appropriate to take steps to ensure transparency, as reviewed later in this chapter (6.8.5.1). 

© PatternsofPower.org, 2014