6.4.6 Balancing the 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 https://www.patternsofpower.org/edition03/646.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:

  • Public demonstrations of concern (6.4.2.1) are made by people who are passionate about an issue, and only people who are interested make comments on Internet social media (6.4.2.6).
  • Politicians can be as much misled by media distortion (6.4.3.3) as anyone else and they may hear only what they want to hear on channels which are biased.
  • Interest groups (6.4.4) often represent extreme opinions. They tend to be radical, in contrast to people who are content with the status quo, who don’t speak out (and who may be in the majority).
  • Businesses can distort the balance in a democracy, by using money to put pressure on politicians (6.4.5.2).

Putting pressure on politicians makes them aware of issues of concern but does not help them to decide what level of response would be suitable.  Further consultation (6.5.3) is needed to help to ensure that a negotiation is balanced and takes account of the ‘silent majority’.

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