Two interpretations of ways in which group politics in Britain have presented challenges to democracy are reviewed: neo-corporatism or pluralistic stagnation and the rise of single issue interest groups. The disappearance of the first paradigm created a political space for the second to emerge. A three-phase model of group activity is developed: a phase centred around production interests, followed by the development of broadly based 'other regarding' groups, succeeded by fragmented, inner directed groups focusing on particular interests. Explanations of the decay of corporatism are reviewed. Single issue group activity has increased as party membership has declined and is facilitated by changes in traditional media and the development of the internet. Such groups can overload the policy-making process and frustrate depoliticisation. Debates about the constitution and governance have largely ignored these issues and there is need for a debate
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