6.4.1 Overview of Pressures on Politicians

(This is a current page, from the Patterns of Power Edition 3 book contents.  An archived copy of this page is held at http://www.patternsofpower.org/edition03/641.htm)

Politicians in any political system have to take account of what people think, so they are susceptible to pressure – directly from the people themselves and from organisations which can affect people’s opinions – and these pressures help to make them responsive to the wishes of those they govern.  Politicians in democratic systems are also susceptible to financial pressures because they need money, to pay for party organisations and to spend on advertising to influence public opinion.  The power relationships resulting from these pressures are illustrated below:

The following sections examine these pressures and the responses that they elicit: the politicians’ need for popular support (6.4.2), the influence of the media (6.4.3) and of interest groups (6.4.4), and the impact of financial donations (6.4.5).  These pressures are an important part of the negotiating framework in the Political Dimension – providing ways of communicating with politicians, but also potentially unbalancing the negotiations (6.4.6).

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