The case of UsForThem
A quick recap. How do pressure groups seek to influence government?
It is best to describe methods in relation to the different types of group:
So this brings us to UsForThem.
As the Guardian reports:
‘It was set up eight months ago by three mothers in Cambridgeshire and has since established itself as an increasingly prominent voice campaigning for schools to fully reopen. Now UsForThem, which has also opposed some Covid safety measures in schools, has won the backing of 17 Tory MPs, and is growing.
As well as being advised by an influential Tory lobbyist, the group met twice with civil servants from the Department for Education (DfE) before key government decisions on coronavirus schools policy were made last year, the Guardian has learned.
It contrasts with fruitless attempts for Whitehall meetings by another grassroots parents’ groups lobbying from a different perspective. Parents United Against Unsafe Schools, whose Facebook group has 23,000 members as opposed to UsForThem’s 9,600 on its England Facebook group, said they have continually reached out to the DfE.
Meanwhile Gavin Williamson, the education secretary, responded six months ago to an UsForThem petition on Change.org calling for masks not be made compulsory in schools, which has gained 16,588 signatures. He has yet to respond to a Parents United for Safe Schools petition with 288,294 signatories, which asks that parents are not fined if they decide against sending their children to school.
UsForThem is being advised by Ed Barker, a former Tory parliamentary candidate and Westminster PR man who played a key role in Boris Johnson’s leadership campaign. He is also advising the Covid Recovery Group (CRG) of lockdown-sceptic Tory MPs, members of which have backed the UsForThem bid to fully reopen schools.
A press release put out by Barker on Monday said that six more Tory MPs, including Steve Baker MP, deputy chair of the CRG, were backing the campaign, meaning it is now supported by 17 Conservatives.’
So we can safely say that this is an insider group, according to Wyn Grant’s typology, and is a really good example to use in A Level answer when looking at methods. Whether it serves as a good example of the success of pressure groups, well we’ll just have to wait and see.
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