Oneworld has picked up a hard-hitting “rescue guide for democracy” from A C Grayling.
Bill Swainson, editor at large for non-fiction, has acquired world rights for The Good State: On the Principles of Democracy from Catherine Clarke at Felicity Bryan Associates. It will be published in February, backed by a publicity blitz from Grayling.
Grayling, author of Democracy and Its Crisis (Oneworld), will examine the fundamental principles of democracy and show how far western ones fall short before setting out an agenda for saving them.
The synopsis states: “Among his recommendations are: addressing the imbalance of power between government and parliament, greater inclusion and participation in political decision-making, introducing proportional representation and lowering the voting age to 16, which is the age at which you can legally marry, gamble, join the army and start paying taxes. As democracies around the world show signs of decay, the issue of what makes a good state, one that is democratic in the fullest sense of the word, could not be more important.”
Grayling explained: “By the simplest of measures, neither Britain nor the United States can claim to be truly democratic. The most basic tenet of democracy is that no voice be louder than any other. Yet in our ‘first past the post’ electoral systems a voter supporting a losing candidate is unrepresented, her voice unequal to one supporting a winning candidate, who frequently does not gain a majority of all the votes cast. This is just one of a number of problems, all of them showing that democratic reform is a necessity in our contemporary world.”
Swainson added: “The clarity of A C Grayling’s thought and the incisiveness with which he addresses the basic issues of democracy in our time make this important book an invigorating and enjoyable read.”