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Total Representation: A New Electoral System for Modern Times [Paperback]

Aharon Nathan
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

28 Sep 2009
Total Representation (TR) fuses the two major electoral systems of first-past-the-post and proportional representation to produce a new system based on the premise that every single vote cast, for the winner or the loser, has to end up with some representation in parliament, whether directly or indirectly.

Product details

  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Upfront Publishing; No Edition Stated edition (28 Sep 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844266966
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844266968
  • Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 23.4 x 1.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,286,214 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

The idea behind TR is so attractively simple that it leaves us wondering why no-one thought of it before.....This book therefore demands the attention of politicians, policy-makers and all those concerned with democratic reform. --Dr. Ken Ritchie, Chief Executive, UK Electoral Reform Society

John Stuart Mill.....expressed his opinion that Thomas Hare's STV system was 'one of the greatest improvements in the theory and practice of voting methods'. I think no less of Aharon Nathan's invention of TR --Prof. Gideon Doron, President, Israeli Political Science Association

Aharon Nathan's TR ensures true political representation, without which no democracy is worthy of its name; and political stability, without which no state can function successfully. --Christopher Cviic, OBE

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Time to make everyone's vote count? 15 Nov 2005
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This is only a short book but it's a good read and it contains the germ of a great idea - reforming the British political system so that everyone's vote counts. It ought to appeal to all of us who are completely fed up with a two-party system which repeatedly lands us with single-party elected dictatorships.
For that reason alone, it's hard to see it appealing much to the beneficiaries of the present system - the professional politicians who take it in turn to govern the country. However, for everyone else, it makes a lot of sense. If its big idea was implemented, it would do a lot to stamp out the appalling British apathy about public affairs - the dangerous idea that "my vote doesn't count so I won't bother voting" - which in turn has led to Governments with enormous parliamentary majorities elected by a minority of the electorate.
It proposes a blend of our existing "first past the post" voting system with just a dash of proportional representation. The result, the author says, would be to ensure that everyone's vote counted for something (even if they had voted for a losing candidate in the election) and reinvigorate Parliament. He proposes that just 20 per cent of the seats in the House of Commons should be filled by pooling the votes of all the unsuccessful candidates in every constituency and allocating them to party nominees in proportion to the national vote the parties secured. At the same time, the valued link between MPs and their constituencies (well, 80 per cent of them) would be preserved - something that can't happen with pure forms of proportional representation such as that used in Germany.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ingenious electoral solution 1 Dec 2009
Format:Paperback
I will say right at the outset that I am the person who edited this book. However, I want to write this review not as the editor, but as someone who, starting from a position of ignorance about electoral reform, has been exposed to the arguments within it and has been completely won over by them.
In Britain at least, the whole subject of electoral reform can seem like a very fringe interest. When -- in the wake of the 2009 MPs' expenses scandal -- it began to be taken more seriously, I was dismayed to hear the usually excellent journalist Andrew Neil -- on his TV show "The Daily Politics" -- effectively deride discussion of it as something tedious which would inevitably lead viewers to reach for the "off" button.
And yet surely it must be a matter of concern to anyone interested in democracy that, in a society where old-fashioned, lifelong loyalty to one big party or another is on the wane, it is almost impossible for an emergent small party to gain any representation in parliament? Of course, it suits the big parties to keep it like this. But that does not mean that the rest of us should accept the status quo.
The great virtue of Aharon Nathan's idea -- Total Representation -- is that it has emerged from his close observation of two extremely different systems: those of the United Kingdom and Israel. Mr Nathan is no fan of Israel's pure form of proportional representation. Indeed, he is basically an admirer of the British model. And yet he believes that it, too, needs to be modified in order to take account of changes in society and to permit minority voices to be heard within the big tent of parliament.
His idea is ingenious and simple: to give the "losers" in any normal first-past-the-post, constituency election a small, guaranteed allocation of seats.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Overlooked Solution to Electoral Reform? 1 Aug 2010
By BS.Dos.
Format:Paperback
Formatting and irritating typo mistakes aside, I really enjoyed Aharon Nathan's Total Representation (TR). With Alternative Voting systems very much in the (UK) news of late, it's disheartening not to have heard either politicians or the media giving coverage or paying lip-service to the idea and merits of the Total Representation electoral system. In outlining TR, Nathan takes the time to trace the historical developments of the traditional First-Past-The-Post (FPTP) electoral systems and, in doing so, draws attention the inherent flaws and general unfairness of FPTP systems, identified here as being most notably characterised by the amount of wasted votes generated in determining constituency winners. TR successfully addresses this imbalance between the total votes casts and parlimentary seats won.

Having outlined existing electoral systems, Nathan then goes on to explain how TR works with reference to both the UK Parlimentary system and the Israeli Knesset - Nathan having (as I recall) direct experience in both - and, having done so, he then cleverly explains how the problems associated with wasted votes etc can be sidestepped through the use of TR. He includes lots of statistical information through which he demonstrates how previous electoral results have played out and, crucially, also runs samples of how those same results would have played out under a TR electoral system. The results are compelling and serve to further substantiate his claims that TR is not only a more complete and efficient electoral voting system, but one which is inherently much fairer.
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
5.0 out of 5 stars The Solution to Electoral Reform? 16 Feb 2011
By BS.Dos. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Formatting and irritating typo mistakes aside, I really enjoyed Aharon Nathan's Total Representation (TR). With Alternative Voting systems very much in the (UK) news of late (2010), it's disheartening not to have heard either politicians or the media giving coverage or paying lip-service to the idea and merits of the Total Representation electoral system. In outlining TR, Nathan takes the time to trace the historical developments of the traditional First-Past-The-Post (FPTP) electoral systems and, in doing so, draws attention the inherent flaws and general unfairness of FPTP systems, identified here as being most notably characterized by the amount of wasted votes generated in determining constituency winners. TR successfully addresses this imbalance between the total votes casts and parliamentary seats won.

Having outlined existing electoral systems, Nathan then goes on to explain how TR works with reference to both the UK Parliamentary system and the Israeli Knesset - Nathan having (as I recall) direct experience in both - and, having done so, he then cleverly explains how the problems associated with wasted votes etc can be sidestepped through the use of TR. He includes lots of statistical information through which he demonstrates how previous electoral results have played out and, crucially, also runs samples of how those same results would have played out under a TR electoral system. The results are compelling and serve to further substantiate his claims that TR is not only a more complete and efficient electoral voting system, but one which is inherently much fairer.

Personally speaking, as someone whose political beliefs are grounded within the principles of Ecologism, but who as a pragmatists recognizes that it remains unlikely that any Green Political impact will be made under the existing FPTP systems, I for one am very much a supporter of electoral reform. However, should any Green political impact be made over the coming years, I feel that it remains highly unlikely that such progress will come as a result of TR. More likely that the Alternative Voting system (see: Gaming the Vote: Why Elections Aren't Fair (and What We Can Do about It)will get the nod over TR. However, that doesn't mean that TR doesn't have a place in future electoral systems. It would just seem that no one country is prepared to become the guinea pig and become the first country to implement TR.
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