Exhausted from publishing books, I would, for recreation, say a few words about my late father. Maybe I would manage three or four thousand words as a testament to him. A person so different from myself defies imagination. I could not do the things he could do. Foremost, among those abilities, was his survival in the midst of one of the worst theaters of world war two. This was not without injury that gradually worsened. For long, he defied the handicap to the sports, that were his chief passion. It required much patience.
It's fifty years to the year since I parroted the conventional wisdom about British elections by First Past The Post. I could see nothing wrong with it. I didn't think it was necessary to study proportional representation. Being a student, I had to make some show of reading-up on it. The central reference library proved not devoid of copies, from other students, who had ample time to get there first. I thought I was lucky to lay hands on such a distinguished work, as Elections and Electors, by JFS Ross. I still think so. After a few years thinking the subject had nothing to do with me, I realised that so called PR was becoming an instrument of party domination, rather than the voters (proportional) representation. I have tried to play my part in serving the public interest, rather than party interests, ever since. The culmination of that effort was my invention of FAB STV, and explanation of its development in a book.
Books by Richard Lung
A play about the work of Mother Teresa. I had to put in a prelude, about a case of extreme wealth in India. It showed so well the miseries of untrammeled hedonism and acquistiveness. This of course is in the extremest contrast to the Mother Teresa Mission of Charity for the poorest of the poor. Four acts follow. The first act is the future saints formative period. The key-note is the foreboding of the immensity of the task of diving into a sea of poverty.
The study of election methods, like any other science, seeks progress in our knowledge of the subject. Started in the eighteenth century French Enlightenment, there was a steady influx of contributions during the nineteenth century. In the early twentieth century, the state of the art system, the single transferable vote, first championed by John Stuart Mill as an MP in the UK House of Commons, was almost passed in that chamber, after its recommendation by the 1916 Speakers Conference on Electoral Reform.
After a life-time of definitely not gainful employment in the study hobby of making the English language easier to learn, you do pick up various tit-bits. These I wanted to leave out (until I could complete a long edition) for a short no-frills edition of the essentials of my hard-earned appreciation of the heroic measures demanded of this simplified English project. There is no way that I could convince the typical reader of the need for such a drastic, yet in some respects conservative, reform.
From about the turn of the millenium, I decided to educate myself with some of the more conscientious tracts on popular physics, mainly. Consequently, some of these reviews were over-the-top content-wise. A long manifest of works considered is included in the blurb. Being also into democracy, which is something of the ethical sister to scientific progress, I twinned these complementary subjects in this one book.
Literary Liberties with reality allow us to do the impossible of being other people from all over the world. Just as this world may be only one of many, that we cannot reach, a human version of the many worlds theory may be made a fact thru fiction. This is a book of books or illustrated reviews spanning fiction, faction and non-fiction. It goes some way to substantiate the belief of Benedetto Croce that history is the history of liberty.
A gentle and generous soul, with a quiet and sunny disposition, well liked by many, and more radical than most, a deeply serious human being, with an over-worked conscience, who I once told was a monster of honesty. This was Dorothy, the solace of the friendless, the maker, who made a maker out of me, in her own letters, unshadowed by thoughts of publication.
A universe, by definition independent, implies its own freedom. The debate, whether the universe is determined or governed by laws of chance, takes the opposite ends to a range from zero to infinite choice. Science is measurement, whose logic is an increasing power of choice to give the most accurate information. Knowledge and freedom depend on each other. They are the dynamic of progress.
A short history shows the sheer difficulty of genuine electoral reform. The defeat of democracy is also a defeat for science. Freedom and knowledge depend on each other. Therein is the remedy. I base voting method on a widely accepted logic of measurement, to be found in the sciences. This is supported by reflections on the philosophy of science. The more familiar approach, of judging voting methods by (questionable) selections of basic rules or criteria, is critically examined.
The first Canadian Citizens Assembly found out the best electoral reform, only to have the goal-posts moved against its adoption. Britain had half a dozen undemocratic voting methods, because only that one democratic method could work at all levels of government. The world anarchy of election systems are passed off as fashion statements. But progress in democracy wont go away. "Peace-making Power-sharing" features new approaches to electoral reform, like the Canadian Citizens Assemblies and referendums.
My own little contribution to the sixties student protests, was to protest that HG Wells was a sociologist. They were'nt having it. I found out recently, neither was the British government, which didnt give him a sociology post. (Mercifully, considering the literary masterpieces he was to come up with.) Later, I gradually discovered his then forgotten contributions to electoral reform.
Unless you can appreciate the mystery of the mundane life, then fantasy becomes a bore, especially power fantasies, which are infantile. But to help those weighed down by routine, the wonderful is to be found, just by looking above our heads on a clear dark night. One of the regrets of old age and worn-out eye-sight, is that I cannot see clearly this fantastic reality. Tho, when I was a small child, the long country walks tired me too much to appreciate the heavens, sans light pollution.
The only advantage of being old is the memories, including of those immortals, the good dog, and his owner, who carefully explained that he didn't like you to laf (or even laugh). That incident is faithfully recorded in my first book of collected verse. The third book takes its title from a comical spin-off of the good dog. Fantasy also has its part to play in making reality bearable.
One bit of luck I had was to meet Dorothy Cowlin, who is the Dorothy of the book, Dates And Dorothy. I had studied English literature, mainly poetry, at sixth form college, as it would now be called, but her writing and reciting her own verse brought a new kind of poetry, mood poetry, alive to me.
He was my grandad, a Yorkshire farmer, who worked all hours that the good light sends, except sundays. And his three-time holidays - those being his exciting trips to France, where his expert digging abilities were put to the utmost use, while he was being shot at, and wounded, between return trips.