Proportional Representation - A Study in Methods of Election
178 Pages
English

Proportional Representation - A Study in Methods of Election

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**Welcome To The World of Free Plain Vanilla Electronic Texts**
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Title: Proportional Representation A Study in Methods of Election
Author: John H. Humphreys
Release Date: January, 2006 [EBook #9630] [Yes, we are more than one year ahead of schedule] [This file was first
posted on October 11, 2003]
Edition: 10
Language: English
*** START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION ***
Produced by Jonathan Ingram, Debra Storr and PG Distributed Proofreaders PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION
A STUDY IN METHODS OF ELECTION
BY
JOHN H. HUMPHREYS
HON. SECRETARY, PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION SOCIETY
WITH AN ...

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Published 08 December 2010
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Project Gutenberg's Proportional Representation, by John H. Humphreys Copyright laws are changing all over the world. Be sure to check the copyright laws for your country before downloading or redistributing this or any other Project Gutenberg eBook. This header should be the first thing seen when viewing this Project Gutenberg file. Please do not remove it. Do not change or edit the header without written permission. Please read the "legal small print," and other information about the eBook and Project Gutenberg at the bottom of this file. Included is important information about your specific rights and restrictions in how the file may be used. You can also find out about how to make a donation to Project Gutenberg, and how to get involved. **Welcome To The World of Free Plain Vanilla Electronic Texts** **eBooks Readable By Both Humans and By Computers, Since 1971** *****These eBooks Were Prepared By Thousands of Volunteers!***** Title: Proportional Representation A Study in Methods of Election Author: John H. Humphreys Release Date: January, 2006 [EBook #9630] [Yes, we are more than one year ahead of schedule] [This file was first posted on October 11, 2003] Edition: 10 Language: English *** START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION *** Produced by Jonathan Ingram, Debra Storr and PG Distributed Proofreaders PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION A STUDY IN METHODS OF ELECTION BY JOHN H. HUMPHREYS HON. SECRETARY, PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION SOCIETY WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY THE RT. HON. LORD COURTNEY OF PENWITH First Published in 1911 TO THE MEMORY OF CATHERINE HELEN SPENCE OF ADELAIDE AN UNWEARIED WORKER IN THE CAUSE OF REAL REPRESENTATION INTRODUCTION BY LORD COURTNEY OF PENWITH I believe this book will generally be welcomed as opportune. Proportional Representation has made very rapid, almost startling advances in recent years. In one shape or another it has been adopted in many countries in Northern Europe, and there is a prospect of a most important extension of this adoption in the reform of the parliamentary institutions of France. Among ourselves, every political writer and speaker have got some inkling of the central principle of proportional representation, and not a few feel, sometimes with reluctance, that it has come to stay, that it will indeed be worked into our own system when the inevitable moment arrives for taking up again the reform of the House of Commons. They know and confess so much among themselves, but they want to be familiarized with the best machinery for working proportional representation, and they would not be sorry to have the arguments for and against its principles once more clearly examined so that they may be properly equipped for the reception of the coming change. This little book of Mr. Humphreys is just what they desire. The author has no doubt about his conclusions, but he goes fairly and with quite sufficient fulness through the main branches of the controversy over proportional representation, and he explains the working of an election under the system we must now regard as the one most likely to be adopted among us. His qualifications for his work are indeed rare, and his authority in a corresponding measure high. A convinced adherent of proportional representation, he stimulated the revival of the Society established to promote it. He was the chief organizer of the enlarged illustrative elections we have had at home. He has attended elections in Belgium and again in Sweden, and when the time came for electing Senators in the colonies of South Africa, and Municipal Councils in Johannesburg and Pretoria, the local governments solicited his assistance in conducting them, and put on record their obligations for his help. The reader can have no better guide in argument, no more experienced hand in the explanation of machinery, and if I add that Mr. Humphreys has done his work with complete mastery of his subject and with conspicuous clearness of exposition, I need say no more in recommendation of his book. It may be objected that the Royal Commission which issued its Report last spring, did not recommend the incorporation of proportional representation into our electoral system. This is most true. One member indeed (Lord Lochee) did not shrink from this conclusion, but his colleagues were unable to report that a case had been made out for the adoption "here and now" of proportional representation. Their hesitancy and the reasons they advanced as justifying it must lead many to a conclusion opposite to their own. They themselves are indeed emphatic in pressing the limitation "here and now" as qualifying their verdict. They wish it to be most distinctly understood that they have no irresistible objection to proportional representation. They indeed openly confess that conditions may arise among ourselves at some future time which would appear to be not necessarily distant, when the balance of expediency may turn in favour of its adoption. They suggest "that some need may become felt which can only be satisfied by proportional representation in some form or another," and I do not think I misrepresent their attitude in believing that a very small change of circumstances might suffice to precipitate a reversal of their present conclusion. All who are familiar with the conduct of political controversies must recognize the situation thus revealed. Again and again have proposals of reform been made which the wise could not recommend for acceptance "here and now." They are seen to be good for other folk; they fit into the circumstances of other societies; they may have worked well in climates different from our own; nay, among ourselves they might be tried in some auxiliary fashion separated from the great use for which they have been recommended, but we will wait for the proper moment of their undisguised general acceptance. It is in this way that political ideas have been propagated, and it would be a mistake if we were hastily to condemn what are sure and trusty lines of progress. When the Royal Commissioners, after all their hesitations about the intrusion of proportional representation even in the thinnest of wedges into the House of Commons, go on to say that "there would be much to be said in its favour as a method for the constitution of an elected Second Chamber," and again, though admitting that this was beyond their reference, express a pretty transparent wish that it might be tried in municipal elections, the friends of the principle may well be content with the line which the tide of opinion has reached. The concluding words of this branch of the Report are scarcely necessary for their satisfaction: "We need only add, that should it be decided at any time to introduce proportional representation here for political elections the change would be facilitated if experience had been gained in municipal elections alike by electors and officials." A few words may be permitted in reference to the line of defence advanced by the Commissioners against the inroad of proportional representation. Mr. Humphreys has dealt with this with sufficient fullness in Chapters X and XI which deal with objections to proportional representation; and I refer the reader to what he